COVID-19: UK Gov Tables Enhanced Foreign Takeover Restrictions

By Thomas Rainey


On 22 June 2020, the UK government proposed legislation to amend the Enterprise Act 2002 which would have the effect of expanding the circumstances in which the government would have the authority to review and/or block takeovers of UK companies by foreign entities.

Under the Enterprise Act 2002, the UK government is already empowered to intervene in takeover situations which they deem to be contrary to the public interest – such as relating to the fields of national and public security, media diversity and standards, and/or financial services’ stability.

The amendments now laid before parliament, will add to the above a fourth category of businesses key to the combating of public health emergencies, such as Coronavirus.

Protecting Vulnerable ‘Critical Healthcare Capabilities’

The UK government’s thinking is that, as a result of the economic disruption caused by the current pandemic,  in the short-to-medium term some UK businesses may be particularly vulnerable to hostile approaches or distressed acquisitions. Continue reading “COVID-19: UK Gov Tables Enhanced Foreign Takeover Restrictions”

COVID-19: Corporate Governance & Reporting Issues – make it specific, make it realistic

We look at the key issues company boards should be aware of with regards to corporate governance and reporting in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis

By Thomas Rainey


The UK government and by extension the financial regulators have taken steps to show that they are cognisant of the fact that there will be a clear impact on  UK companies’ ability to display the ‘normal’ forms of corporate governance and reporting in light of the COVID-19 disruption. While there is no suggestion that this period will be viewed as some kind of amnesty for poorly-governed businesses or for inappropriate reporting, the notion that there may be some flexibility in what is expected is beginning to filter through to company boards.

In order to seek to assist boards to focus on what the general expectations are of them at this time, the Financial Reporting Council have published a number of guidance reports.


Of particular note in relation to governance, the FRC have advised that boards carefully consider the following:

Continue reading “COVID-19: Corporate Governance & Reporting Issues – make it specific, make it realistic”

Companies House – Key COVID-19 Procedural Changes

By Thomas Rainey


Although the onus remains on company officers to comply with their filing duties notwithstanding the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis, Companies House have made a number of procedural changes to help keep their services running as smoothly as possible.

Below is a summary of the key service alterations adopted by Companies House:

Companies House – Offices

The London, Edinburgh and Belfast Companies House offices are currently closed to the public, with the London office also not receiving post. The Cardiff office remain open 24 hours a day for the receipt of documents.

All same-day services have been suspended until further notice.

Additionally, Companies House telephone contact centre is closed. All enquiries should be sent by email to

Continue reading “Companies House – Key COVID-19 Procedural Changes”

COVID-19: cry “Force Majeure!”…and let slip the contract lawyers

By Thomas Rainey


As the novel coronavirus COVID-19 forces the shuttering of businesses and significant disruption to supply chains, companies are advised to take steps to ensure that they clearly understand the potential effects of any Force Majeure clauses that may be found in their key contracts

Force Majeure – English Law, French Word, Latin Principles

In recent weeks, fueled by the media, the term Force Majeure has become increasingly commonplace in the coverage of the COVID-19 crisis. What was, until recently, a relatively obscure concept only really of interest to contract lawyers has graduated to become a far more widely-referenced piece of legalese.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with legal constructs that are suddenly thrust into the spotlight, being ‘widely-referenced’ and being ‘clearly understood’ are two very different things.

The concept of Force Majeure derives from French Law and whilst it is generally taken to mean acts, events or circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the relevant party, the actual term Force Majeure has no direct or recognized meaning under English Law. As such, for it to be relied upon or enforceable as a concept in English Law-governed agreements it must be carefully defined. The Courts have consistently held that use of the term Force Majeure in a contract without a suitable definition (ie. “the usual Force Majeure clauses shall apply”) is unlikely to be found to be effectively construed.

Continue reading “COVID-19: cry “Force Majeure!”…and let slip the contract lawyers”

UK Government Softens Medicinal Cannabis Import Restrictions

Changes to UK import restrictions for medical-use cannabis should result in the reduction of delays and disruptions to the treatment of patients on the NHS.

By Thomas Rainey


Despite cannabis being widely acknowledged to be a key treatment for a number of serious medical conditions, such as forms of epilepsy and MS, for the past couple of years patients have often faced long waits for their prescriptions to be filled. Now changes brought in by the UK Government should reduce this waiting time from months to days.

Licensed UK wholesalers will now be able to:

  1. Import larger consignments of cannabis-based products for medicinal use; and
  2. Store larger supplies of the same for future use by patients.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

“I have taken swift action to allow specialist doctors to issue prescriptions for cannabis-based medicinal products, when they consider their patients would benefit from this treatment. This will allow patients and their families with challenging conditions to access them more easily”

More Research & Growth

The UK Government is continuing to engage with medical associations and patient representatives to broaden the UK’s understanding of medicinal cannabis can benefit patients. A deeper understanding is expected to lead to wider prescription by NHS doctors.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“We need more research into the quality and safety of these medicines, and to do all we can to cut down the costs and remove barriers so that, when appropriate, patients can access it, including on the NHS”

For More Information

For more information on the current news and updated on the UK cannabis legal scheme, please contact Thomas Rainey or another member of the Duane Morris London Office.