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As the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, business owners are forced to urgently seek solutions in emergency situations. Develop and implement action plans to protect their employees, build relationships with counterparties, ensure continuous supply to customers, and generally mitigate the adverse business impact of the pandemic.

Today, a huge number of businesses and companies are potentially at serious risk. Therefore, the most important task today is to identify and eliminate the perceived weaknesses in the work of companies, and to minimize the impact of the pandemic.

Many companies in the UK have already taken steps to implement remote working methods and the necessary IT infrastructure so that companies can operate smoothly during the pandemic. Such measures can also be a key factor in slowing the spread of the virus itself.

Isolation measures to keep the team safe also pose some challenges for companies considering how to keep businesses running during the pandemic. One of these problems is the drafting and conclusion of contracts in the conditions of COVID-19: do such agreements allow for remote work or for the implementation of specific projects the full functioning of the enterprise is required. For this reason, it is important to thoroughly review the agreements to prevent further contractual default. IQ Decision UK experts provide individual advice on the analysis of international agreements during COVID-19.

IT and legal issues

Even in cases where the remote mode of work is well established in the company, the technical equipment cannot always ensure the full activity of all employees of the enterprise. Many regulated companies are required to keep records in a secure information space to maintain confidentiality requirements.

However, fulfillment and compliance with these obligations may be violated in connection with the installation of software to run personal IT equipment or sending documents to a personal email account to perform remote work. This is just one of the unfavorable examples that a company may face in a pandemic.

There may also be potential problems associated with the legal signing of agreements when the parties authorized to sign are in different places or in self-isolation.

Many business deliveries can be made through the electronic ordering system. Despite the current age of high technologies, not all transactions can be executed through electronic means of communication. Thus, in many cases, formal contractual documents are required, which must be signed by the parties to the agreement. Moreover, many contracts cannot be recognized as valid without the signature of the parties and certification by a third party. For example, disposing of land.

Technical solutions

When asked how to reduce business losses during the coronavirus pandemic, it is worth noting that the business community has already begun to implement technologies that can solve a number of technical problems. This can provide more efficient verification of remote business transactions.

Software has already been developed that allows authorized signers to issue the necessary documents electronically on a computer, tablet or even smartphone. All systems vary in size, but they are designed to avoid the need for printing, signing and scanning and are designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of documents. Typically, each signature is verified and traced back to a specific transaction and to a specific authorized person. As a rule, the time and date of signing and even the location of the signers with a reference to their IP addresses are used as supporting evidence.

At the end of last year, the issue of electronic signatures began to be considered seriously. It was confirmed by a special commission that the use of electronic signatures to sign official legal documents and agreements in accordance with English law is possible.

Unresolved issues

Documents and agreements are an important tool in the legal field, and their correct execution is a key issue. The main still unresolved problem is that the self-isolation of the signatory of the agreement can completely exclude the possibility that his signature will be personally witnessed by a witness.

NOTE:

Please note that it is now extremely important to analyze the international agreement for validity during the coronavirus period in order to prevent further litigation on this issue. You can get legal assistance in the competent execution of international agreements from the specialists of our company.

Final word

It remains to be seen whether the quarantine restrictions will lead to drastic changes and whether there will be judicial or political pressure to keep the business running. In this article, we have examined the issues raised from a purely subjective point of view. To use electronic signatures in international treaties and in international contractual relations with counterparties during the COVID-19 period, individual legal advice will be required for each specific case. IQ Decision UK specialists are ready to provide you with the necessary up-to-date information. Reach out to us by filling out the feedback form below.