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Few days prior to the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona GSMA, the organizing legal entity, cancelled the event. As it was declared, GSMA has justified its decision on the “force majeure” situation, for public health and safety reasons.
Willis Towers Watson Group is the insurance broker of the MWC, an intermediary that manages the coverage of 120 million euro through several specialized international insurance companies among which the risk is shared. Up until now, it is unknown if the MWC’s insurance policies cover pandemics but, in any case, it should be noted that neither the OMS, the Spanish Government, the Catalan Government nor the Barcelona City Council have recognized a pandemic situation, denying any international health alert to his day.
The Willis Group has now a complicated negotiation with GSMA to try to reach an agreement on possible compensations regarding the cancellation of the event, as the companies affected by the cancellation have the option to claim the corresponding compensation with regard to the failure of GSMA to comply with the agreements related to the MWC, apart from the claim for loss incurred, given the case, in relation to direct damage and/or loss profit.
In this sense, there are several issues that must be analyzed, in order to consider the viability of a possible action at Court or arbitration lawsuit by the injured parties:
  • Terms and conditions of the agreements signed directly with GSMA such as, given the case, the penalty clauses for contractual breaches. On the other hand consideration and analysis of the insurance agreements in particular regarding the cancellation policy (coverage).
  • Whether or not exists force majeure regarding the cancellation of the event for what we are conducting an in-depth analysis of the ’force majeure’ legal concept, in accordance with the jurisprudential and legal doctrine in Spanish Law. Likewise, it should be considered that the ‘force majeure’ concept may have a different scope in agreements governed by international law or those submitted to a foreign law different than the Spanish law.

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