Businesses may feel that they should suspend normal processes such as formal contractual notices and ADR clauses in order to try to work things out in a spirit of mutual goodwill and cooperation. However please note that contractual mechanisms are not necessarily suspended in these days of a pandemic. In the UK there are strict legal rules. There is no general remedy or body of law allowing the court or tribunal to equitably adjust rights and obligations under contract in response to a pandemic however unexpected. The general doctrine of frustration can apply in limited circumstances where performance of the contract has become impossible, but aside from this it is a matter of contractual interpretation whether or not parties have provided for highly unexpected circumstances- for example, by way of a force majeure clause.
The way ahead lies to work with the other party to provide for the new situation by agreement rather than storing up problems for the future. If negotiations prove tough, I suggest you convene a mediation with a third-party expert mediator such as myself to support parties in negotiating a resolution. There is absolutely no reason why mediations cannot take place remotely, with disputants and myself as mediator using video meeting software such as Zoom. Just give me a call Richard Buxton LLB Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator 0203 935 9490 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org