DLA Piper Hungary’s busiest practice lately has been its Litigation and Regulatory team, headed by Partner Andras Nemescsoi. COVID-19-generated legal uncertainty and a set of opportunities arising from a relaxation on state-aid rules fuel the workload.
In terms of disputes, “there are a lot of mandates and questions surrounding COVID-19,” Nemescsoi reports. “The crucial question is how to address situations when you are the obliged party of a contract and you are unable to fulfill that contract – maybe you want to take the route of claiming frustration or force majeure.” Nemescsoi notes that the workload on this front came in waves: first in the form of questions, then requests for memos, then slowly evolving into formal arbitration and litigation cases.
Regarding the regulatory arm of the practice, Nemescsoi explains that there has been a whirlwind of “special legal orders” implemented by various countries in light of the outbreak and Hungary’s “special legal framework” gave rise to a lot of questions. “Probably all law firms were crazed with work here,” he says, since “although it can be taken as a threat or overexposure, this exceptional legislation – both domestic and EU-wide – was perceived by a good few as a breeding ground for new opportunities – including those arising from what they perceive to be more room to maneuver when it comes to state-aid.” According to the DLA Piper partner, the EC is “more flexible in this period of time, leading to mandates from clients who are looking to identify ways of taking advantage of this newly-found flexibility.”
“On the short-term, if the legal regime changes with other measures being implemented, more questions will come up for sure,” says Nemescsoi. “The first memos are now out and clients have had a chance to digest them. I expect more and more legal disputes to pop-up and these are projects that last quite a while.”