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Force majeure - litigation in the wake of COVID-19

Stewarts LLP


COVID-19 has impacted almost every area of our daily lives. This webinar will highlight the impact this will have on contracts, and whether force majeure and frustration principles can be applied. Chinese importers have already declared force majeure regarding LNG imports – will the world follow suit? 

Our experts will cover: 

  • What is force majeure and frustration?
  • Considerations when applying force majeure to the current UK situation
  • What events would a force majeure clause cover?
  • The requirements to consider when a force majeure clause is used
  • The burden of proof when invoking force majeure

Sean Upson, Mo Bhaskaran and Lucy Ward will draw upon their experience in this area, including relating to force majeure clauses following the California energy crisis, the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks.



Sean Upson, partner

Sean specialises in complex commercial High Court and arbitral disputes. He has a particular focus on banking and finance disputes, and financial fraud cases.

Sean acts for sophisticated corporate claimants (including hedge funds, financial institutions and pension funds) in complex financial disputes and fraud work. He presently acts for 77 financial institutions claiming against Tesco Plc in respect of its £263m accounting mis-statements.

Sean has recently completed a €500m complex derivatives claim and a £150m civil fraud both with substantial claimant recoveries for our clients. Sean presently leads the Stewarts team acting in the high-profile claims against Tesco Plc.

Sean’s work has widely been recognised by The Legal 500 and Chambers, which say he is “good, smart and always looking for angles to improve his client’s case”, “inspires confidence”, and is “incredibly hard-working”.


Lucy Ward, partner

Lucy is a commercial disputes expert specialising in banking and financial services litigation and fraud. She has particular expertise advising institutional investors in complex securities litigation and high value disputes.

Lucy’s clients include institutional investors and financial institutions, corporates, high net worth individuals and sovereign wealth funds.

Her experience covers complicated multiparty cases (including group litigation) in relation to mis-selling of complex financial products, s90 FSMA, professional negligence, breach of contract and fraud. With experience acting for and against banks, Lucy is able to anticipate opponents’ strategy. Her work often involves multi-jurisdictional issues.

Lucy was the lead partner in one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases for 2020 and is described as a “heavy hitter”. She is highly rated in the Legal 500 and ranked as a “Next Generation Partner”.


Mo Bhaskaran, partner

Mo specialises in large scale fraud and corruption investigations and recovery action (including working with enforcement authorities in the UK and overseas), as well as high-value commercial disputes relating to a range of commercial matters including fraud, IT and PFI projects, product recall and corporate claims arising from acquisitions. He acts on emergency injunctions (search and freezing injunctions).

Cases in which Mo has advised include defending a major public sector body from claims exceeding £100m in relation to the cancellation of a large PFI project. He also acted on a number of internal investigations into fraud and corruption including historic corruption/fraud by a senior director within a FTSE 250 listed group, defending an HMRC investigation arising as a result and pursuing claims against the director responsible, as well as a significant $1bn multi-jurisdictional investigation into systemic corruption by a foreign public official.


Lucy Ward
Sean Upson
Mo Bhaskaran


9 April 2020
14:00 - 14:55 UTC
55 min