The COVID-19 Pandemic is the biggest challenge for the world since World War Two, warned UN Secretary General, António Guterres, on 1 April 2020. Millions of lives may be lost. The threat to our livelihoods is extreme as well. Job losses worldwide may exceed 25 million.
Legal systems are under extreme stress too. Contracts are disrupted, judicial services suspended, and insolvency procedures tested. Quarantine regulations threaten constitutional liberties. However, laws can also be a powerful tool to contain the effects of the pandemic on our lives and reduce its economic fallout. To achieve this goal, rules designed for normal times might need to be adapted to ‘crisis-mode’, at least temporarily. Business Laws in particular fulfil an important function in this context. Our livelihoods depend on how well businesses are able to navigate through the current crisis.
Beginning in early February 2020, the Oxford Business Law Blog has published posts on how Business Laws could contribute to containing the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and on how they need (or need not) to be adapted to achieve the desired effect. Our recent working paper collects the posts published throughout March in chronological order. (1) Thematically, the focus is on finance, financial regulation and insolvency laws. This is not surprising as the most pressing problem businesses face right now is to manage their cash flow. We hope that the contributions in this paper inspire more work by scholars and help policymakers worldwide to adopt the right measures to reduce the damage caused by the Pandemic.
(1) The Oxford Business Law Blog has, in addition, published the following posts, summarizing working papers available on SSRN and therefore not included here: Syren Johnstone, Blockhain, AI and the Wuhan Coronavirus (5 Febr. 2020), Graham Steele, Avoiding the ‘Climate Lehman Moment’ (12 Mar. 2020), and Mimi Zou, Virtual Justice in the Time of COVID-19 (16 Mar. 2020)