Can I apply a Force Majeure clause?
If a contract contains a force majeure clause this may become operative due to the coronavirus pandemic and related emergency legislation. Such clauses exist to ensure that if some unforeseen event prevents a party from being able to perform their obligations under a contract, either on time or at all, they will be excused from their obligations and not be held liable for non-performance.
The clause must actually be written into the contract to have effect – a force majeure clause cannot be implied into a contract. Whether it can be relied on by a party will depend on the wording of the clause itself as it may only be applicable in certain limited circumstances.
You should seek legal advice at an early stage if you think that force majeure is relevant, because a number of potentially complex issues must be addressed, many of which will turn upon the exact wording of the force majeure clause in the contract in question:
- Has a force majeure event actually arisen?
- What notification process do you have to follow to rely on the provision?
- What mitigation steps do you have to take?
- What is the effect of the force majeure event – is the contract suspended, or can it be terminated (which might not be what you want)?
Where an apprentice is made redundant the training provider should support the apprentice in seeking alternative employment within a 12 week period. ESFA will support this process. Where an apprentice is placed on unpaid leave or the nature of their employment no longer supports their apprenticeship, it should be considered whether a break in learning would be appropriate.
An employer who wishes to make an apprentice redundant should seek advice on the process to be followed for this.
The current guidance issued by Mr Justice Hayden confirms that remote hearings may be conducted using the following facilities and that this will be the default position until further direction:
- By way of an email exchange between the court and the parties;
- By way of telephone using conference calling facilities;
- By way of the court’s video-link system, if available;
- The use of the Skype for Business App installed on judicial laptops;
- Any other appropriate means of remote communication, for example BT MeetMe, Zoom or FaceTime.
Where one or more of the parties is represented, responsibility for making the arrangements for the remote hearing will fall on either the applicant or the first represented party. If no party is legally represented, the court office will contact the parties to explain that the hearing will be held by telephone conference and will send them instructions on how this is to be achieved.
All remote hearings must be recorded. The responsibility for arranging the recording will be addressed on a case by case basis.
Endorsing bodies are still processing applications for these visa types and endorsements are still being issued. You usually have to apply for your visa within 3 months of receipt of your endorsement. In most cases you will still be able to submit your application online within this timeframe however it will not be completed as visa application centres across the world are closed. If you cannot apply because you haven’t been able to travel and your endorsement has expired, you may still be eligible for a visa. You should make your application as planned and UKVI will consider all applications on a case by case basis.
The Chancellor announced that employers will be given £2,000 to employ apprentices and £1,500 for apprentices over the age of 25 for each apprentice they hire from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. These payments will be in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provide for new 16-18 year old apprentices.
He also announced that employers would be given £1,000 for taking on trainees in response to the traineeship scheme being extended.