How to deal with crises and civil emergencies: the 'legals' (Part 1)

How to deal with crises and civil emergencies: the 'legals' (Part 1)

Dan Gardner in his book, Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear, notes that the media typically ensures that, 'the dramatic, the frightening, the emotional and the worst-case are brought to the fore'.

In other words: panic! Panic now! Upend your desk and run for your life.

That's what many new stories make us want to do.

So how do businesses ignore unwarranted fear in order to deal with the risks posed to them in a rational and methodical way?

It is clear that companies should be aware that human beings aren’t always good at understanding and evaluating risk. For example, type ‘Ebola’ into Google News and millions of results are returned. Do the same for ‘space weather’ and you get a paltry 16,000 results. Yet, according to the government the likelihood of a severe space weather event, which could fry satellites and snuff out electricity networks on the ground, is greater than the risk posed by infectious diseases such as Ebola.

Below, we set out below excerpts from Lexis®PSL Commercial’s Practice Note on what businesses (and those legal practitioners that advise them) can do to understand and deal with the risks posed by unexpected crises and civil emergencies.

Today, we set out the part of the note dealing with:

  • key risks for businesses
  • regulatory compliance, and
  • HR considerations

Next time, we’ll look at:

  • contractual considerations, and
  • business continuity planning

Civil emergencies or crises--implementing risk mitigation strategies for good corporate governance

Key risks for business

High profile instances of influenza pandemics, haemorrhagic fever epidemics (eg Ebola), ash clouds; other natural disasters, civil unrest, and other civil emergencies or crises have highlighted the need for businesses to implement appropriate risk mitigation strategies as a matter of good corporate governance.

This Practice Note considers the key legal risks for businesses posed by such events. It outlines what mitigation strategies businesses should be putting in place to safeguard themselves should the worst happen.

Risk from what?

The National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies (2013 edition) outlines various risks to

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