Brexit will usher in an unprecedented amount of legal and regulatory change that will impact your organisation, specifically your contracts. As an in-house lawyer, an effective system for managing and reporting on your contracts is your best weapon for dealing with legislative changes and mitigating risk. Contracts represent a valuable asset to any business. And, like any asset, in-house lawyers must work to protect contracts from risk, including the significant effects new legislation may have on the jurisdiction and competent court in the event of litigation, the parties’ rights and obligations, or commercial viability (as is could be the case for exchange rate fluctuations).
To be effective, in-house lawyers will need to be able to find and review contracts, and provide data-driven insights on the issues that could arise under your existing contracts.
Is your business ready to take action when changes occur? Or will the inefficient management of your contracts stand in your way?
Dealing with Brexit: Accurate oversight on contracts
Despite the fact that nothing will happen quickly in the UK’s preparations for a split from the European Union, corporate legal teams still have their work cut out over the coming months. To prepare for Brexit effectively, in-house lawyers will need to check existing contracts for EU jurisdiction-exclusive clauses, and negotiate new contracts with necessary addenda to deal with the impact of Brexit on the business. Most importantly, GCs will need to assess the impact of the non-applicability of the Recast Brussels Regulation Regulation (EU) 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.
Since the regulation considers when the English court has jurisdiction over claims falling within the domain of the Recast Brussels Regulation, GCs will need to review contract jurisdiction clauses to limit the risk of facing multi-jurisdictional claims in several countries post-Brexit. In-house legal will also need to evaluate who will bear the Brexit risk and update internal contract governance.
Furthermore, legal is in a unique position to work with key stakeholders on strategic business matters, like evaluating supply chain improvements, savings or new pricing structures against UK based competitors. To accomplish all of this, in-house lawyers will need to be able to quickly access contracts, search for key clauses, assign tasks to implement controls and establish governance to comply with new policies and regulations. Using a centralised system to store, manage, track, share and report on your contracts can give in-house lawyers the power to make decisions when changes happen.
All your contract information at a glance
In addition to reviewing your contracts, legal and regulatory changes you may also require you to provide up-to-date information on your corporate structure or compliance risks, including data privacy under the new GDPR. When changes come, will you be able to provide data-driven insights to support your CEO, CFO and Board in taking strategic decisions? Will you be able to answer to their questions? In-house lawyers need to ensure that all of their legal information is organised so they can quickly generate insights to inform decisions. With a structured system for storing, tracking, sharing and reporting on legal information, in-house lawyers are able to develop strategic action plans and involve key stakeholders in establishing new governance.