As the full legal and economic implications of Brexit and the pandemic begin to emerge, it is clear we’ll be living with the impacts for many years. But the vaccine roll-out has provided a welcome boost in market confidence, and we are now seeing many of our business owner clients exploring innovative new ways to move forward in a post-Brexit, post-Covid-19 era.  

Rural business innovations during lockdown

Lockdown restrictions have accelerated digital innovation projects and the move to remote working and online transactions for some. We work with many rural, farming and landowner business leaders, particularly from our offices in Leeds (West Yorkshire) and Richmond (North Yorkshire). For rural businesses, the main challenge is often their route to market. Disruptions and uncertainty from recurring lockdowns have seen many adapt their practices, moving online or benefitting from increased demand by consumers to buy locally and direct from producers. 

A recent report from the University of Huddersfield highlighted how local food producers and suppliers in the region rose to the challenge of supplying food during the pandemic, “unhindered by complex international supply chains and the vulnerabilities of just-in-time delivery systems”, thus benefitting the local economy. 

Legal cases and complexity increasing

We are currently helping such clients work through the additional impacts of separation and divorce on their businesses – and have seen increases in both the number and complexity of enquiries resulting from the current situation. 

To move more quickly and utilise new online technologies, many are now rejecting the traditional court process in favour of alternative forms of dispute resolution, which offer more flexibility for bespoke family solutions.  

Alternatives to court

We have organised virtual joint settlement meetings with secure virtual “rooms” for the different legal teams. Other cases have progressed negotiations through private financial dispute resolution hearings, led by our in-house barrister. Arbitration, where an independent arbitrator (essentially a “private judge”) is appointed to make decisions, is another route that allows parties to control the venue, timing and who hears the case – either virtually, face-to-face or in written form. 

Read more on this in my blog on the financial impacts of Coronavirus on divorce.

We’ve grown the team in Yorkshire

To support and help families navigate through these added complexities, we have recently grown our Silk Family Law team.

Joining myself and fellow partner Harriet Reid in our Yorkshire offices are experienced associate Siobhan Jeffels, who has recently returned from maternity leave; and newly appointed associate Matthew Miles, who brings a decade of family law experience working with families across Yorkshire. 

This article was written by Silk Family Law partner Teresa Davidson, and was first published in the Yorkshire Post in January 2021.

For advice from Yorkshire family lawyers with significant experience in complex business, farming and landowning cases, call Teresa on 07712 937747 or contact us online

Main image credit: Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash