Legal Issues Relating to COVID-19

Gall continues to address legal issues relating to COVID-19 that are impacting clients in Hong Kong. Our lawyers can support on a range of issues relating to contracts, business disputes, fraud, employment law and unforeseen family law matters.

Matthew Durham and Kritika Sethia Write Article on Employee Wellness for BritCham’s Magazine

Matthew Durham and Kritika Sethia have written an article on employee wellness in the workplace for BritCham’s magazine where they explore the WHO’s definition of health and how Hong Kong lacks a comprehensive or holistic legal framework to address mental health issues in the workplace. They also provide practical steps and initiatives for employers to promote mental wellness.

Hong Kong Government Updates Discharge Criteria for Confirmed COVID-19 Patients: What Does This Mean for Employers?

The Hong Kong Government announced that effective from 27 October 2021, the discharge criteria for confirmed Covid-19 patients will be tightened. They have taken the position that patients who have recovered from the virus may still be carriers for approximately 14 days. Accordingly, to prevent the spread of the virus, after being discharged from hospital, patients will be subject to a further 14 day period of isolation and health monitoring in a government isolation facility (North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre).

COVID-19: Does the pandemic classify as a Barder event?

Upon divorce, the Hong Kong Court has the power to make orders for financial provision between spouses. In making such orders, the Court has a duty to consider various matters which are set out in Section 7(1) of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance, Cap. 192 (“MPPO”) including the parties’ financial resources and all the other relevant circumstances of the case.

COVID-19 Scams – What to do if you are defrauded

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have seen an overwhelming demand worldwide for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which includes respirators, surgical masks, gloves and face shields. Regrettably, unscrupulous traders never miss an opportunity to capitalise on public fears and concerns.  Amid these difficult times, there has been a surge of fraud schemes associated with PPE transactions all around the globe. In Hong Kong, over 1,600 reports of online mask scams were received by the Hong Kong Police between January and March this year, consisting of more than 3,000 individual victims and local companies involving a total of HK$48.2 million. It has also been reported that fraudulent mask schemes totalling US$799 million were uncovered in United States in the last few months, and similar patterns have been observed across the Europe.

The Benefits of Collaborative Law During COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Hong Kong Courts were closed for several months and thousands of court hearings were adjourned during this General Adjourned Period (“GAP”). Although the Family Court has now reopened there are social distancing measures in place which mean that hearings are continuing to be adjourned. We expect this to be the ‘new normal’ for some time to come.

Remote Hearings in Hong Kong’s High Court During COVID-19

Gall recently acted for the Plaintiff in Hong Kong’s first telephonic hearing in Cyberworks Audio Video Technology Limited v Mei Ah (HK) Company Limited & Ors which was a milestone in the Judiciary’s approach towards furthering the objectives of cost-effectiveness of practice and procedure, and expeditious dispute resolution. In this matter, Gall’s senior partner Nick Gall and senior associate Felda Yeung acted for the plaintiff. Please refer to our article on this unprecedented approach to case management during GAP here.

COVID-19 and the Doctrine of Frustration in Hong Kong

In our recent article we discussed the legal ramifications of the force majeure clauses to “excuse” parties from performing onerous or impossible contracts in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Whilst it is not uncommon for commercial contracts to incorporate force majeure clauses, there remain circumstances under which a party may also consider to seek to relieve themselves from performing under the common law doctrine of frustration.