War Room Actions And Pro-Bono Arrangements By Indian Law Firms During India Shut Down
27 March 2020 12:41 PM GMT
Disruptions from global warming, emerging technologies and economic slowdown have been greatly exacerbated by the unprecedented Corona crisis. This perfect storm has set off cataclysmic events worldwide. Our prayers and positive energies to all who are affected.
The justice delivery ecosystem is taking many never-before steps to "keep the wheels of justice" turning. The Supreme Court and all High Courts have deferred the hearing of routine cases and even passed orders extending limitation as well as all interim stays. Judges are hearing only the most important cases through Video Conferencing/video streaming software. Filings and listing of cases is restricted only to the most urgent matters.
In this background, some of India's leading law firms have taken the lead to advise clients to deal with the potential legal fall-out from the global COVID-19 pandemic. The number of measures to deal with the sudden and rapid developments include one firm stress-testing its "work from home" (WFH) arrangements assisted by cloud-based software and remote electronic filing of documents while another ensuring its associates reach their home towns quickly and safely.
A dedicated virtual war room of Chennai Head Quartered Surana and Surana International Attorneys, headed by partners and practice heads (from Chennai and Delhi) has been working overtime in the past week enabling risk mitigation and business-continuity of their clients by helping manage contractual and regulatory obligations, regulatory investigations, force majeure issues, data privacy, industrial distress and enabling movement of essential commodities.
"Being able, available and affordable in these challenging times is vital. With our experience of effectively deploying the latest in technology since 1988, we are able to seamlessly deliver services virtually. We are determined to ensure client operations have the least disruption and risk," quoted Dr. Vinod Surana, Managing Partner & CEO, Surana & Surana International Attorneys and he can be reached anytime.
"Inevitably, all contracts will be put to litmus test... Very few contracts in India include pandemic as a force majeure event as such events are never anticipated. This will affect many. Some impacted by the lock-down may also be affected as acts of government may not be under the terms of force majeure. It all depends on terms between the parties," said Ashish Pyasi Associate Partner Dhir and Dhir Associates.
Other firms such as PSA Associates, JSA Associates and Khaitan & Co have also announced closure their offices during this shutdown and enabling most of their associates to work from home.