ONE of the region’s leading law firms has warned businesses to check their contracts to avoid legal problems as the UK leaves the EU.

Blackburn-based Napthens believe that the best approach is for firms to be as open as possible with business partners, customers, and suppliers about the effects they are likely to experience over the coming year.

This comes with the UK’s transitional period set to end, with Brexit coming into force at the start of the new year.

Napthens partner Jon Esner said: “For companies who export to the EU there is a very real chance you will be impacted by rising costs from tariffs, regulations and potential delays, especially if a deal isn’t agreed with the EU.

“It is vital that you check your contracts to see whether you have set times of delivery that you may not be able to comply with.

"If so, you could be at risk of litigation.

“Exporters with contracts in place for delivery may be able to rely on a force majeure clause to manage any delayed deliveries but for it to be valid you may have to give notice to your customer as soon as possible.

“That means speaking to customers now and making them aware of the issues before you become liable for failing to fulfil the contract.

The result of new procedures could mean delays to shipments from suppliers in addition to increased costs from customs duties, meaning exporters to the EU could fail to fulfil contractual obligations, leaving them exposed to potential litigation.

In response, Napthens is offering Brexit related expertise in commercial contracts, data protection, corporate law, rural affairs and business immigration, including employing EU workers beyond January 1 2021.

The firm is also providing a range of services to support businesses through Brexit to help manage operations.

Mr Esner said: “We do expect to see rising litigation and disputes from unfulfilled contracts as a result of Brexit delays, so it is important that you take steps now before it is too late.”

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