Obligations

Douglas, Michael and John Eldridge, ‘Coronavirus and the Law of Obligations’ [2020] 3 UNSW Law Journal Forum 1-11
Jurisdiction: Australia
Abstract: COVID-19 has touched every aspect of Australian society, including the law of obligations. This comment considers how the pandemic could affect contracts – a topic which is already a very popular subject of law firms’ client updates. After discussing frustration and force majeure, it addresses a few relevant torts, including trespass to the person, the tort recognised in Wilkinson v Downton, and negligence. The comment is intended to provoke further dialogue on how COVID-19 is affecting Australian law, including in the forthcoming thematic issue of the University of New South Wales Law Journal on ‘Rights Protection amidst COVID-19’.

Contract Law

This section includes literature on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)

Abuwasel, Mahmoud, ‘The Coronavirus Pandemic in Contract Law: Companies Disrupted by the Spread of Coronavirus May Seek to Have the Pandemic Recognised as a Hardship Event.’ (2020) 5(4) MEED Business Review 24–25

Adegoke, Taiye, ‘COVID-19: Possible Defences to a Non-Performing Party in a Commercial Contract’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3588069, 26 March 2020)
Abstract: It is no longer news that the world is confronted with a common enemy today – the novel Coronavirus 2019 popularly known as COVID-19. The virus was first discovered in China and has today spread across over 190 countries around the globe. COVID-19 has disrupted the world economy and businesses across the globe are heavily hit by the operation of the pandemic. There is no gainsaying the fact that this novel coronavirus has surfaced in Nigeria with over 40 cases discovered so far as at the time of this article and still counting. The Nigerian Government, like other countries of the world have taken some measures to contain the spread of this virus in the most populous nation in Africa, which measures obviously is taking a hard toll on businesses, transactions and the economy at large. While the world continuously strives hard to put an end to this misery ravaging the whole world, it is almost certain that the post COVID-19 world would likely herald a bundle of commercial disputes possibly arising from breach of obligations as a result of the sudden outbreak of this disease. Thus, commercial lawyers would be called upon to review various commercial agreements and defaulting litigants would rely on commercial lawyers, to present a solid defence for them, to the breach of their obligations resulting from the COVID-19 disorder.

Alpa, Guido, ‘Coronavirus and the Law in Europe: Remarks on the Effects of the Pandemic on Long-Term Contracts’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The Coronavirus epidemic shapes a situation that can be considered an event of force majeure, characterised by unpredictability, exceptionality and uncertainty in its duration and then impossibility of performing and termination of contract. It is necessary to take into account also the provisions adopted by national legislators concerning limitation of economic activities, working, traveling, moving etc. These limitations result in orders and prohibitions, modifying the performance of contracts, sometimes causing impossibility. In Italian law these events are considered ‘factum principis’, whose legal effects are similar to force majeure. Factum principis and force majeure affect long-term contracts, and may cause temporary supervening impossibility or supervening excessively onerous nature of the performances. In the first case, the performance may be postponed, in the second the contract shall be terminated. Italian Civil Code’s provisions suggest how the risk may be allocated between the parties in different situations submitted to the judge.

Amelia, Tina, ‘Qualification of Force Majeure in the Covid-19 Pandemic as a Reason for Cancellation of Contract’ (Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Law, Social Science, Economics, and Education, ICLSSEE 2021, March 6th 2021, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2021)
Jurisdiction: Indonesia
Abstract: Engagement is a legal relationship that occurs between the parties who have agreed on the matters set forth in the contract that creates an obligation to fulfill the contents of the contract. However, there is a situation where one party is unable to perform its accomplishment due to event occur against its will, known as force majeure. In dealing with Covid-19, Presidential Decree No. 12 of 2020 concerning the Determination of Non-Natural Disaster for the Spread of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) as a National Disaster rise public speculation about whether the Covid-19 pandemic can qualify as force majeure due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting activities in the business sector which resulted in the inability to fulfill accomplishment, thus making the Covid-19 pandemic an excuse to cancel the contract. Research method in this research is juridical-normative legal research. The results of this study that the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be used as a reason for contract cancellation because it must analyzed the force majeure clause states in contract first, and the real conditions to fulfill obligations in the contract. With the Covid-19 pandemic possible to conduct negotiations to postpone, change or cancel the contents of the contract.

Beale, Hugh and Christian Twigg-Flesner, ‘COVID-19 and English Contract Law’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The narrow doctrine of frustration in English Contract law (under which the parties’ outstanding obligations are discharged automatically) applies only when performance of a contract is impossible because of a change in circumstances. Although much-discussed, ‘frustration of purpose’ applies only when the change has defeated the purpose for both parties and has very seldom been applied. Pre-COVID-19 law contains a few exceptions, but mostly for consumer contracts. The measures taken to relieve parties affected by COVID-19 do not involve any significant changes to contract law. Changes relevant to contracts involve delaying enforcement procedures or changes to the Financial Conduct Authority’s regulatory requirements to provide for ‘payment holidays’ for consumer credit or other financial services. Limited changes to contract law may emerge, but no significant permanent changes.

Beale, Hugh and Christian Twigg-Flesner, ‘COVID-19 and Frustration in English Law’ in Sergio Garcia Long (ed), Derecho de Los Desastres: Covid-19 (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2020)
Abstract: In this chapter, we explore the ways in which the impact of COVID-19 on the performance of contracts would be dealt with under the doctrine of frustration in English law. Starting with the strict obligation to perform a contract, we outline the elements of the doctrine of frustration, including the operation of the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943 and the possibility of contracting out of the Act. We then examine permanent, temporary and partial impossibility more closely. We also consider the relevance of force majeure and MAC clauses. We then identify elements of the doctrine of frustration which might be open to further development in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, although we do not anticipate significant changes to the law.

Berger, Klaus Peter and Daniel Behn, ‘Force Majeure and Hardship in the Age of Corona: A Historical and Comparative Study’ (2019) 6(4) McGill Journal of Dispute Resolution 76–130
Abstract: Force Majeure and Hardship provide legal tools to deal with the effect of unexpected future events and unforeseen changes in circumstances, particularly in long-term contracts. Given its global and unprecedented dimensions, its lethal potential and its drastic effects on international contracts the COVID-19 pandemic will generate years, if not decades, of post-pandemic litigation and arbitration focusing on the application of these two concepts. The paper examines the two concepts, from their historic origins over the different paths they took in civil and common law to modern transnational contract law as applied by international arbitral tribunals. Based on this historic and comparative analysis, the paper shows that in such extraordinary times, the doctrines of Force Majeure and Hardship assume the role of regular, rather than exceptional legal remedies, allowing for the risks emanating from the unprecedented crisis to be evenly distributed between the players in the global economy.

Bhatta, Snigdha, ‘Revisiting Force Majeure in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Global Perspective’ (2020) 27(July) NEPCA Bulletin 10–17
Abstract: The present paper attempts to explore the legal trajectory of the force majeure doctrine, and discuss the extent of immunity offered by a force majeure clause in light of the pandemic. It will draw distinctions between the doctrine of force majeure and the doctrine of economic hardship, legal maxims that are often used interchangeably. The paper will also shed light on whether the said immunity can be claimed when there is no force majeure clause in the contract and will do so against the background of Nepalese law, Indian law, US law and UK law.

Blair, Sir William et al, ‘“Breathing Space”: Concept Note 2 on the Effect of the 2020 Pandemic on Commercial Contracts’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3612937, 1 May 2020)
Abstract: This paper shows which steps should be taken to minimise the risk of a deluge of disputes following the Covid-19 crisis and to increase the prospect of constructive outcomes.

Booley, Asharaf, ‘COVID-19 versus Contractual Obligations: Case in Point South Africa?’ (2020) 20(6) Without Prejudice 42–43
Abstract: COVID-19 has impacted businesses and communities, leaving in its wake infections, death, shortages of essential services, unpreparedness and mental and physical uncertainty. One question is, what is the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on pre-existing contractual obligations?

Borghetti, Jean-Sébastien et al, ‘Procurement of Covid-19 Vaccines: Why Were Legal Liabilities Transferred to the Public Sector?’ [2021] (2) InDret Privado: Revista para el Análisis del Derecho 364–366
Abstract: The recent release of the Covid-19 vaccine supply contract between the European Commission and Astra Zeneca has caused a political and media storm about vaccine production logistics and supply issues. A lesser noticed but controversial issue revealed by the contract is that of where ultimate liabilities should lie, which has potentially far-reaching consequences for the public purse. Many commercial contracts include so-called indemnity clauses hereby one party contractually agrees to cover liabilities incurred by the other. The European Commission accepted in Article 14 of the agreement an extremely broad indemnity of the manufacturer covering almost any and every defect imaginable whether that be the vaccine’s inherent characteristics, manufacturing / distribution, and storage issues, labelling errors or even problems due to administration of the vaccine. This is a potentially significant burden to place on the state, and ultimately taxpayers.

Borghetti, Jean-Sébastien and Hans Schulte-Nölke, ‘Non-Performance and Change of Circumstances under French Law’ in Ewoud et al Hondius and Ewoud et al Hondius (eds), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: A major issue raised by the COVID-19 crisis is whether it constitutes a lawful ground for non-performance or the modification of contracts. French law traditionally took a very strict view on the binding force of contracts and only acknowledged force majeure as a cause of discharge of contract. However, the reform of contract law passed in 2016 has brought some changes and there are now several provisions in the code civil which may justify a discharge or an adaptation of contract in the case of a major change of circumstances. The COVID-19 crisis is now putting these provisions to test.

‘Building Contract Law: Hindrance to the Provision of Services by COVID-19’ [2020] (9 April) Lawyer (Online Edition) 1
Abstract: The article focuses on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on construction law. It mentions consequences of this for construction projects depend on the work contracts. It also mentions that for difficulties that arise for a contractor as a result of COVID-19 force majeure he can therefore generally not claim any additional costs, and the contractor is also not entitled to adjust the contract on this basis.

Carr, Chris and Cyrus A Ramezani, ‘COVID-19, Force Majeure, and the Legal and Financial Implications of Utilizing Reefer Shipping Containers’ (2020) 87(1) Journal of Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy (forthcoming)
Abstract: This article begins by discussing the rise of the refrigerated (‘reefer’) container industry and business model. It is important for readers to understand the growing importance of reefers to U.S. export, and how they contribute to supply chain complexity and port congestion. Next, we address how the Corona Virus (COVID-19) impacted reefer container transport. We then discuss how ocean carriers are utilizing the Force Majeure doctrine to their advantage in their transport of reefer containers, and the related legal implications of them doing so. We also analyze whether insurance covers cargo owner loss in this situation and what happens when the cargo owner decides to just walk away and abandon reefer containers when the ocean carrier exercises its right to discharge the cargo at an alternative port of convenience. The article concludes with recommendations regarding how cargo owners can move forward to analyze and mitigate risk.

Carrasco, Angel, ‘Parameters for Applying the Rules on Force Majeure to COVID-19 in Spain’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The aim of the article is to analyse how the spread of COVID-19 affects contractual relationships under Spanish law. A case-by-case approach is adopted – the key difficulties and paradoxes associated with the application of the current legal framework are determined by analysing the most typical difficulties encountered by the contractors due to the pandemics. The legal context is comprehensively presented: the core practical issues related to the functioning of the institution of force majeure are examined. The common problematic scenarios caused by the COVID-19 are addressed, i.a.: the practical impact of the all risk clauses on the risk distribution, the disappearance of causa of the contract, the tension between labour law mechanisms and force majeure. Finally, the possibility of classifying COVID-19 contingency as a force majeure contingency is examined (both the undisputed and the debatable force majeure contingencies are discussed).

Cheng, Tai-Heng and Daniel R Perez, ‘COVID-19: Force Majeure and Common-Law Contract Defenses Under New York Law’ 13(2) New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer 44–46
Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak and government measures to combat the virus are causing widespread disruptions throughout the economy. Parties unable to perform contractual obligations due to COVID-19-related disruptions should consider whether contractual force majeure provisions or New York common-law defenses of impossibility and frustration of purpose may provide a means of limiting liability for non-performance. Parties struggling to perform contractual obligations due to pandemic related circumstances should carefully analyze any relevant force majeure clauses, the potential applicability of any common-law defenses to performance, and the available dispute resolution mechanisms. A careful analysis of the available defenses and dispute resolution provisions may better enable parties to renegotiate their obligations and defend themselves against claims for non-performance.

Choi, Ji-Hung, Jiho Yoon and Ju Myung Song, ‘A Contract for New Vaccine R&D under COVID-19’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3781132, 7 February 2021)
Abstract: This paper analyzes an incentive contract for new vaccine research and development (R&D) under a pandemic situation such as COVID-19. We study how a public sector (such as a government) designs an R&D contract and offers it to pharmaceutical enterprises. A simply agency-theoretic model is employed to explore the contract whose terms are an upfront grant as a fixed fee and a sales tax credit as an incentive tool. Examining how the values of related parameters affect contract term determinations, we found conditions that increase or decrease the tax credit and fixed fee. Unlike the general arguments from existing studies of incentive contracts, the role of a fixed fee outweighs the role of a tax credit for new vaccine development under pandemics. We also found that risk averseness and an in ated approval likelihood play significant roles in terms of the tax credit and fixed fee, respectively.

Chowdhury, Ragib, ‘Force Majeure v Specific Performance of Contract: Order Cancel Culture Impacting RMG Industry in Bangladesh’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3779978, 5 February 2021)
Abstract: COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc and is still wreaking havoc. Brands and retailers have in this chaos invoked force majeure clauses in their contracts to cancel their pending orders. Bangladesh alone has a total of 6bn USD worth of orders unpaid with no payment made for already finished products or bought raw materials. Some companies are considering declaring involuntary bankruptcy as brands have used the order cancellation as a bargaining chip to force a 12% price reduction on already negotiated orders. This essay focuses on whether and to what extent the COVID-19 pandemic can amount to a force majeure event and how and to what extent specific performance of contract is available as a suitable remedy for the RMG in Bangladesh.

Cole, Michael J, ‘Don’t “Estop” Me Now: Estoppel, Government Contract Law and Sovereign Immunity If Congress Retroactively Repeals Public Service Loan Forgiveness’ (2021) 25 Lewis & Clark Law Review (forthcoming)
Abstract: This Article considers whether federal student loan borrowers can bring successful legal challenges if Congress retroactively repeals the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (‘PSLF’) program. It addresses whether borrowers at litigation could rely on analogies to the promissory estoppel doctrine or assert equitable estoppel claims to challenge the repeal. In doing so, the Article explores the intersection of estoppel and government contract law with sovereign immunity theories in a way that has never been done before. This topic has been given very little attention in prior literature, so I aim to present its legal issues in a clear way while paying tribute to its nuance.The Article addresses the hurdles of sovereign immunity and the Sovereign Acts Doctrine, which the borrowers would encounter at litigation. It concludes that, despite likely overcoming these hurdles, in many cases, the plaintiff-borrowers’ government contract law claims would likely still fail to win on their merits. The Article similarly contends that most if not all equitable estoppel claims would likely fail before a court. The Article then offers an alternative proposal to Congress, which would avoid the issues that would arise at litigation, while solving the problems associated with the program and protecting the most vulnerable members of society negatively impacted by a repeal.

Cordero-Moss, Giuditta, ‘COVID-19 and Force Majeure Under the Vienna Convention on Sales and in Civil Law’ 13(2) New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer 50–52
Introduction: If COVID-19-related lockdown measures affected performance of a commercial contract, the party who could not perform its obligations will seek to avoid being held liable for breach of contract. Many commercial contracts contain a force majeure clause—a clause excusing a party’s non-performance if certain requirements are met. Contract clauses may vary from each other, but force majeure clauses often are quite standardised and inserted into contracts without adjustment to the particular circumstances. Therefore, with the proviso that each clause has to be individually read, it is possible to make some general considerations on force majeure clauses in the COVID-19 emergency. Failing a force majeure clause, the applicable law will determine whether the affected party is excused or whether it is in breach of contract. Contracts are subject to the law chosen by the parties. Failing choice by the parties, the applicable law is determined by the court’s conflict rules. In case of arbitration, the applicable arbitration rules and arbitration law will determine how the arbitral tribunal is to select the governing law. Statutory rules may contain various nuances from country to country. However, within the same legal family, there is a common basis. Below follow some general considerations on the applicability, in the COVID-19 emergency, of force majeure clauses, as well as of corresponding principles contained in the civil law (exemplified here by the laws of France, Germany, Italy and Norway), and in the 1980 Vienna Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)—which applies (unless the parties agreed otherwise) to sales contracts between parties belonging to 93 states, including the US and the four countries discussed here.

da Costa Afonso, Ana Isabel, ‘The Juridical Impact of COVID-19 in Portuguese Tenancy Contract Law’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: In response to the public health emergency derived from the COVID-19 disease, Portugal opted for a relatively strict lockdown. Most business activities were suspended and citizens were put under an obligation of confinement. This has created serious disruptions in people’s life and professional activities. In this paper we will address the specific measures the Portuguese legislator put into force to solve the problems aroused in tenancy contracts, namely, the adjournment of the obligation to pay rent and the suspension of eviction’s effects. Since the legislative measures do not have a general scope that could comprehend all of the tenancy contracts and provide only for a limited and very specific set of solutions, we believe that it is necessary to turn to other legal provisions of a more general approach in order to give an adequate response to the problems encountered in tenancy contracts as a consequence of the pandemic.

Costa Moura, Ines, Valeria Wong and Joao Nuno Riquito, ‘Macao: Impact of the Coronavirus in Ongoing Public Contracts’ [2020] (Summer) International Financial Law Review 121–123
Abstract: Discusses negotiations under the law of Macao to modify public procurement contracts which can no longer be performed as originally agreed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dacoronia, Eugenia, ‘Coronavirus and Its Impact on Contracts in Greece’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: To face COVID-19, this current, exceptional, and unforeseeable pandemic, the extraordinary procedure of enacting Acts of Legislative Content was followed in Greece, a procedure provided by the Greek Constitution in exceptional circumstances. Accordingly, as of the 25th of February 2020 till the 1st of May 2020, nine Acts of Legislative Content have been issued. They have been ratified by law and have been followed by a considerable number of ministerial decisions, necessary for their implementation. Said acts contain provisions imposing measures for the prevention and limitation of the spread of COVID-19, including the lockdown of enterprises for a certain period as well as provisions for the regulation of such lockdowns to specific contracts. The purpose of the present contribution is to shortly present these provisions as well as the provisions of the Greek Civil Code which apply when events of force majeure, such as the pandemic of the COVID-19, occur.

Dagan, Hanoch and Ohad Somech, ‘When Contract’s Basic Assumptions Fail: From Rose 2d to COVID-19’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3605411, 19 May 2020)
Abstract: This Article explores the normative foundations of the rules governing mutual mistake, impossibility, impracticability, and frustration and studies their doctrinal implications. These familiar doctrines, which make contracts voidable or excusable whenever they are grounded on a shared basic assumption that failed, puzzle commentators and courts. We claim that the key to properly understanding their role and interpret their doctrinal elements lies in appreciating the core principles of a genuinely liberal – that is: autonomy-enhancing – contract law. The rules that delineate the scope of these doctrines are guided by liberal contract’s commitment to ensure that promisors’ future selves are not unacceptably encumbered. The rules that regulate these doctrines, in turn, follow liberal contract’s principles of proactive facilitation and relational justice. Together, these rules exemplify both the power of the liberal foundation of modern contract law and the subtlety of its doctrinal workings.

Delfino, Rossella, ‘European Union Legislation and Actions’ (2020) 16(2) European Review of Contract Law 317–322
Abstract: Reviews contract-related EU law developments from January to March 2020, concerning: general contract law; consumer law; access to justice; data protection; financial services; public procurement; intellectual and industrial property; the European Parliament’s contract law initiative; and guidelines issued by the European Commission for the interpretation of EU law on passengers’ rights in relation to travel disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dhingra, Jayems, ‘Force Majeure Event Clauses: A Risk Sharing Strategy in Charterparty for Offshore E & P Rigs and Shipbuilding Contracts’ (2012) 18 International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators 392–405
Abstract: This article was first published in the ICMA Proceedings 2012, and is being revisited in context of ongoing pandemic to demonstrate that the principle of Force Majeure remains unchanged for Offshore & Marine Industry. The question in the minds of every enterprise engaged in long term Oil & Gas industry contracts, ‘Is COVID-19 Pandemic a Force Majeure Event?’ Who decides it and whether it is provided in the contract? Contracts are considered as the sole governing mechanism or agreed legal authority for governing relationships between the parties, under the principle of pacta sunt servanda or sanctity of contracts. Thus, contracts once executed cannot be changed due to post-contract events, except by an agreement between the parties. Therefore, if a pandemic like COVID-19 is not an identified event of an FME clause, then the current crisis raises serious questions and shakes the jurisprudence of international contract laws. Force Majeure Events (‘FME’) a French term, represents Unknown, Unprecedented, Unexpected and Unavoidable events, having a negative impact on obligations and responsibilities under the contracts between the parties. In Chinese Contracts Law, it is noted that ‘force majeure means any objective circumstances which are unforeseeable, unavoidable and insurmountable.’ In Common Law jurisdiction there is no specific definition of force majeure but is interpreted from the clauses provided in a contract and arguments based on the doctrine of frustration. The frustration may or may not be the direct outcome of a force majeure event. In conclusion, the article demonstrates that FME Clause is a risk sharing strategy between the parties to a contract and not an act of God.

Ekhator, Ekhorutomwen Gabriel, Andrew Ogiribo and Samuel Iyobosa Ebughe, ‘The Impact of Pandemics Such as the COVID-19 and Other Unforeseeable Events on Leases: Force Majeure or Frustration?’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3616831, 2 June 2020)
Abstract: In a world of unforeseen occurrences and unpremeditated events, anything can happen. However, following the security consciousness of mankind, parties to a leasehold contract are usually mentally and obligatorily inclined to secure their contract thereby putting measures in place to oblige each other to perform his part in the contract. One of these efficacious measures that have been adopted by parties to a leasehold contract is the making and signing of lease agreements. Many a times, the landlord and his tenant carefully and with the help of an astute lawyer, draft a lease agreement to outline their obligations under the contract. While doing this they are careful enough to input when and how the contract should be put to an end such as including a force majeure clause to the lease agreement. Sadly sometimes, unforeseen occurrences make the contract impossible to carry out by either of the parties. In a bid to put an end to the contract, most times the tenant, resort to the store room of weapons which is the lease agreement, seeking clauses that he may use against the landlord to put an end to their contract. Unfortunately, he does not find any useful because the events he leans upon was never included in the lease agreement nor was it part of the force majeure clause. The recent outbreak of the 2019 Novel Corona virus (‘COVID-19’) in China and its widespread over the world has caused many business activities to come screeching to a halt, as many countries issue orders and advisories for residents to stay at home and for any nonessential business activities to be performed remotely. During this period of COVID-19, many businesses and tenants such as students do not have access to their premises, and this has called for a legal answer to the effect of the stay at home order on the lease. This article seeks to answer the questions; do pandemics such as the COVID-19 give rise to a frustrating event or force majeure? What position should the parties take when other unforeseen or unpremeditated events such as war, government restrictions, strikes, natural disasters, and acts of God make the contract impossible of being performed? The article also examines the position of landlord and tenant in the country during this ‘lockdown’ order.

Erikson, Merle and Irene Kull, ‘Implications of Alteration of Balance of Contractual Obligations Due to COVID-19 on Employment and Civil Law Contract under Estonian Law’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: Following the spread of COVID-19 to Estonia in the beginning of March 2020, the Government declared an emergency situation from 12th March 2020. For officially and voluntarily closed businesses, staff reductions, reduction of remuneration or working load, the amendment or termination of the employment and other contracts for work or services became one of the legal measures in preventing larger damages. The aim of the paper is to answer the question under what conditions the affected party may demand amendment of an employment contract and civil law contract – on the example of a contract of mandate – in order to restore the original balance of the obligations, and terminate the contract, in order to assess the level of protection of parties interests. The comparison of an employment contract and a contract of mandate is based on legal provisions of Estonian law regulating the legal consequences of change or circumstances, which leads to the alteration of balance of contractual obligations in an emergency situation, like it was caused by COVID-19.

Fairgrieve, Duncan and Nicole Langlois, ‘Frustration and Hardship in Commercial Contracts: A Comparative Law Perspective’ (2020) 24(2) Jersey and Guernsey Law Review 142–166
Abstract: The common law doctrine of frustration and the civil law doctrine of force majeure are both doctrines of respectable antiquity that can trace their origins back to Roman law. The recent Coronavirus pandemic (and its unprecedented impact on business) has focused attention on the way in which these doctrines have been developed by courts in different jurisdictions and prompted debate as to whether such developments now strike the right balance between legal certainty on the one hand, and fairness to the contracting parties on the other. Given Jersey’s unique status as a ‘mixed’ civil and common law jurisdiction, a comparison of English law and French law in this area offers some interesting insights into the likely scope of a modern Jersey customary law doctrine of force majeure.

Furrer, Andreas, Angelika Layr and Jerimias Wartmann, ‘COVID-19: Impossibility and Force Majeure under Swiss and Austrian Contract Laws’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic and the enactment of legislation to slow the spread of the virus are affecting large parts of the economy, including contractual relationships. This paper examines the legal situation and possible remedies, according to Swiss and Austrian general contract law. Both jurisdictions allow for contractual force majeure clauses to allocate risks in connection with unforeseeable or changing circumstances. As there is no statutory definition of force majeure, the individual contracts need to be examined, and COVID-19-specific clauses for newly concluded contracts should be introduced. In the absence of a contractual agreement, the concepts of delay of performance or impossibility might be applicable for adaptation or termination of the contract. If the contractual equilibrium is severely disrupted by the changing circumstances, the doctrine of clausula rebus sic stantibus could apply.

Ganuza, Juan José, Fernando Gómez Pomar and Jerimias Wartmann, ‘Government Emergency Intervention in Private Contracts in Times of COVID-19: A User’s Guide’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The paper provides a preliminary analysis of the legal instruments that governments use to provide emergency regulation of contracts in the wake of the turmoil resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We identify the acute liquidity concern afflicting virtually all agents along the contractual chain as the most pressing problem. We then introduce some of the main criteria to understand and design response measures in the area of private contracts in times of emergency: (i) the systemic and urgent character of response measures; (ii) keeping things simple, minimizing ex ante controls and transaction costs; (iii) the urgency of preventing a chain reaction of defaults along contractual networks and the economy at large; (iv) the relational value of existing contracts and the ways to preserve it; (v) how tailor-made agreements in M&A and finance have means to cope with the impact of emergencies.

German, Peter, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Force Majeure’ [2020] Lawyer (Online Edition) 1
Abstract: The article offers information on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the commercial activities around the world. It discusses the coronavirus outbreak and force majeure, along with information on the restrictions on travel and gatherings imposed by the government officials all over the globe. It mentions the steps taken by business to limit business travel and participation in meetings and social events.

Giaretta, Ben, ‘COVID-19 Force Majeure Notices Under English Law: What Comes Next?’ 13(2) New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer 47–49
Abstract: As well as terrible health impacts, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused extraordinary economic convulsion. A major part of that has been the disruption of the performance of contractual obligations, and this has led many contract parties to trigger, where they can, clauses that provide force majeure relief. The pandemic has created unusual dynamics in the operation of force majeure clauses. Where many previous disputes over such clauses concerned the threshold question of whether the relevant circumstances fell within the force majeure clause, there appears to have been near universal acceptance that the operation of such a clause is justified if the pandemic has affected a contract. On the other hand, the extended duration of the pandemic and the uncertainty over how the world will move to a postCOVID state has meant that other parts of force majeure clauses are being tested as never before. Yet the drafting of such clauses insofar as they relate to the period after the force majeure notice typically leaves much to be desired.

Godwin, Andrew, ‘The Contractual Impact of COVID-19 on Corporate and Financial Transactions’ (2020) 48(2) Australian Business Law Review 116–125
Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the social isolation measures, the closure of borders and the restrictions on business activity (including the provision of goods and services in the ordinary course of business) have seriously disrupted private contractual arrangements between commercial parties on both a domestic and cross-border basis. This article provides a high-level overview of the contractual impact of COVID-19 on corporate and financial transactions in three areas: material adverse change clauses; force majeure clauses; and the doctrine of frustration. The analysis highlights both the complexities of these concepts and also the extent to which their operation is subject to the specific circumstances, even in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grochowski, Mateusz, ‘Towards a Renaissance of Price Control in Contract Law?: Preliminary Observations on COVID-19 and Price Regulation on Consumer Market’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The text addresses the dilemma of retail price regulation on the consumer market in the economic realities triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The text discusses the reinvigoration of discussion over price control that ensued in numerous countries as a result of the rapid increase of prices of certain goods (such as medical products and every-day-use utensils). It attempts to preliminarily frame the underlying policy premises of price regulation triggered by the pandemic. It also seeks a more in-depth understanding of the rationale of price review in the extraordinary market conditions, as well as the general rules for allocation of tasks in this regard between public and private law. In so doing, the text focuses primarily on the EU consumer law and attempts to understand what concept of price control it rests on and to what extent it may provide a response to the price concerns in the outcome of COVID-19.

Hamzah, Hamzah, ‘Civil Law Agreement and Its Implication on Regulation for Prevention of Corruption within Covid-19 Pandemic’ [2020] Journal of Social Studies Education Research (pre-published article)
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to determine the social impact of the learning process of agreements and regulations in the Civil Law regarding the procurement of goods and services during the Covid-19 pandemic, its implications for preventing corruption in Indonesia. The research method used is normative using a theory-in-use approach. The results of the study found three crucial points. First, the law of goods and services agreements gives freedom to people who do not have restrictions in the code for that. The contract for the procurement of products and services during the Covid-19 pandemic was categorized as a relatively temporary force majeure so that it could renegotiate to rearrange the implementation schedule. Second, good faith is the key to success in resolving frustrating agreement problems to save the agreement to provide benefits and benefits to both parties. Third, in the end , civil law provides an essential lesson that in transactions based on good faith where there are values of decency , honesty , and fair wisdom is the prevention of con-uption in the procurement of goods. Good faith is the key to success in resolving frustrating agreement problems to save the agreement to provide benefits and benefits to both parties. And service in difficult times like today.

Hillman, Robert A, ‘Health Crises and the Limited Role of Contract Law’ (Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No 21–17, 24 June 2021)
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21 has focused our attention on contract law’s response when unanticipated circumstances make performance impractical or frustrated or performance would cause harm to the public. The pandemic has disrupted contracts between landlord and tenant, employer and employee, universities and students, to name a few, but has contract law provided a clear path to determine who must bear the risk of loss of such events? The purpose of this essay is to suggest that current contract law’s many and varied, sometimes even contradictory, rules and principles relevant to shaping a response to a health crisis can offer only limited guidance to courts and lawyers in the challenging cases. Further, contract law’s uncertainty in these cases reinforces the more general perspective that judicial decisions in contract cases (and more generally) often depend, not on doctrine, but on a pragmatic analyses of the facts, policies and equities. Although this taste of realism is not a revelation, in fact, there may be no better example of the limits of contract law, as administered by courts, than its response to contract disputes during a public health crisis.Part I of this essay inventories the plethora of contract law issues raised when a health crisis makes performance problematic and when no federal or state regulation is in place to resolve the dispute. Part II assesses what such circumstances reveal about the nature of contract law: First, contract law’s set of responses reinforce legal theorists who have long argued that, at least in hard cases, contract law is subjective and uncertain. Second, contract law’s main contribution in such cases is to identify the questions that should be asked and to provide a roadmap to follow. Part III, the Conclusion, offers a word about post-pandemic contract law.

Hoekstra, Johanna, ‘Regulating International Contracts in a Pandemic: Application of the Lex Mercatoria and Transnational Commercial Law’ in Carla Ferstman and Andrew Fagan (eds), Covid-19, Law and Human Rights: Essex Dialogues (School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, 2020) 117–125
Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic is a significant disruption for the performance of contractual obligations. Contracts often contain a force majeure clause that lays out the circumstances under which a contract can be terminated or suspended. However, not all contracts contain such a clause, or the clause might not cover the current situation. In the absence of a force majeure or similar type clause the applicable law fills that gap. This paper concentrates on international commercial law contracts and transnational commercial law; it specifically focuses on the Convention for the International Sale of Goods,1 the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts,2 and the principles of the lex mercatoria. This paper analyses how these instruments could be applied if the contractual parties do not meet their obligations because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hoffman, David A and Cathy Hwang, ‘The Social Cost of Contract’ (2021) 121(3) Columbia Law Review 979–1016
Abstract: When private parties perform contracts, the public bears some of the costs. But what happens when society confronts unexpected contractual risks? During the COVID-19 pandemic, completing particular contracts--such as following through with weddings, conferences, and other large gatherings--will greatly increase the risk of rapidly spreading disease. A close reading of past cases illustrates that when social hazards sharply increase after formation, courts have sometimes rejected, reformed, and reinterpreted contracts so that parties who breach to reduce external harms are not left holding the bag. We describe these cases as a sort of contractual anticanon: where social, and not private, ends are the focus of contract judges. This Essay builds on that observation in making two contributions. Theoretically, it characterizes contracts as bargains that always implicitly involve the public. Law has three tools at hand to govern contract’s social cost: delineating subject matter about which parties can bargain, interacting with parties as a regulator, and, finally, interpreting and reforming in court. Post hoc consideration of social costs is the least well known, and most unsettled, mode of governing contract externalities. We ground that technique in its history as a specialized application of the law of contract public policy. Practically, this Essay advises parties negotiating whether and how to perform to consider the public’s health, since history teaches that, at least some of the time, courts will too.

Hondius, Ewoud, ‘Corona, Millennium and the Financial Crisis’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: Corona may be a new issue, but epidemics are not. Legal issues related to epidemics are of all times. Two disasters which struck in recent times were the millennium bug and the financial crisis. This paper deals with the question how Dutch law has coped with the corona crisis. More in particular it addresses how the 1992 Civil Code’s new provision on unforeseen circumstances has been (non) applied in practice. The paper then turns to two international developments: the work of the International Chamber of Commerce – see also the paper by Denis Philippe in this volume – and the work of the Common core of European private law (Trento) project.

Irvine, Matthew, ‘Force Majeure Clauses and the Coronavirus’ 31(5) Entertainment Law Review 155–157
Abstract: Reviews the debate over whether contractual disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic are covered by force majeure clauses. Examines the general position, the tradition of interpreting such clauses narrowly, and the factors likely to be considered by the courts, including the natural meaning of the relevant words. Sets out practical guidance on drafting force majeure clauses, and whether a widely-drawn catch-all provision is advisable.

Iyer, Abhishek, ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Contracts: Force Majeure as a Tool to Save from Frustration?’ [2020] Corporate Law Journal (forthcoming)
Jurisdiction: India
Abstract: COVID-19 has taken the commercial world by storm as its rising spread has led to global border closure, halt in trade and commerce which has further led to a massive disruption of the existing supply chain. Owing to these events, commercial contracts have been affected significantly whereby the performance of obligations is hit by impossibility. Through this paper, the author delves into the Indian legal scenario specifically to analyse the remedies for a contract that is suffering from nonperformance due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The author scrutinizes on the concept of Contingent contracts and, ‘Force Majeure’ as a tool to save contracts from frustrating under The Indian Contract Act, 1872. Lastly, this paper also discusses in brief Government contracts in the current scenario apart from the intricacies involved in invoking Force Majeure as a valid excuse of non-performance, for COVID-19 being considered as a Global Pandemic beyond human control.

Januarita, Ratna and Yeti Sumiyati, ‘Legal Risk Management: Can the COVID-19 Pandemic Be Included as a Force Majeure Clause in a Contract?’ [2020] International Journal of Law and Management (advance article, published 13 November 2020)
Abstract: Purpose This study aims to investigate the legal consequences of the use of force majeure (FM) clause in a contract related to the prospect of business sustainability. In addition, this paper also examines the legal risk perspective toward the interpretation of FM clauses in contracts that incorporate the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic situation. Design/methodology/approach The research design in this paper uses the normative juridical method, which means that it is carried out with library research on secondary data in the field of law, in the form of primary and secondary legal materials and tertiary legal materials. Primary legal materials are in the form of regulations relating to the variable topics of this paper, namely, FM, COVID-19, contracts and legal risk management (LRM). Findings The study found that studies of FM are still limited in terms of the aspects of contract sustainability, and none has reviewed them using the LRM paradigm. Research limitations/implications Given the fact that this pandemic is still ongoing and uncertain, the extent to which the broadening of the interpretation of FM in the contract by the parties and how much the designs offered above can help the parties, will greatly depend on the commitment of the parties. However, if the orientation is to maintain a long-term business relationship, it still fulfills the essence of a win–win solution that will greatly assist the parties in determining the continuity of the contract. Practical implications The results of this study are expected to provide benefit to the parties in an agreement affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and by regulators who wish to provide a legal basis in contract law. Social implications Long-term business relationships will create sound, peaceful and conducive environment for modern business. This kind of situation will sustain the business as expected. Originality/value This study concludes that the interpretation of FM can be extended to accommodate the interests of the parties to the contract by considering several principles in contract law and other relevant clauses. In addition, this study also produced four essential designs for LRM oriented to long-term business relationships in a win–win solution.

Jasani, Azmina, ‘Force Majeure Clause Nullifies Consignment Agreement’ (2021) 160(4) Trusts & Estates 64–68
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the art world in many ways, including making it difficult, if not impossible, for art businesses to meet their contractual obligations. To protect their bargaining position, many auction houses include a force majeure provision in their agreements which, depending on its phrasing, may allow one or both parties to terminate the agreement upon the occurrence of a force majeure event as defined within the agreement. Does COVID-19 constitute a ‘natural disaster’?

Jayasekera, BKM and YP Wijerathna, ‘Legal Implications of COVID-19: Force Majeure and Contractual Obligations in International Sale of Goods
Abstract: The year 2020 has been challenging for businesses worldwide with COVID-19 leading to the disruption of the global economy. The unprecedented circumstances led by this pandemic, inter alia, raise concerns pertinent to the liability for failure to fulfil contractual obligations in international commercial contracts due to COVID-19. United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG or Vienna Convention) performs a significant role in the spectrum of international sales. Article 79 of the CISG reflects the legal concept of force majeure, which provides a defence for non-performance of contractual obligations in certain enumerated circumstances beyond the parties’ control. In this respect, the current research, through the doctrinal research methodology, reviews the application of force majeure to grant relief for non-performance of contractual obligations due to COVID-19 where a contract is governed by the CISG. The study concludes that COVID-19 is likely to be considered an impediment beyond the control of the parties under Article 79 of the CISG even though the likelihood of successful invocation of the article will vary depending on the circumstances of each case.

Jentsch, Valentin, ‘The Law of Contracts in the Age of the Coronavirus Pandemic: Is the Statutory Risk Allocation Pursuant to the Swiss Code of Obligations Still Adequate?’ (EUI Department of Law Research Paper No 2020/09, 2020)
Abstract: Pacta sunt servanda – agreements must be kept. This general principle of civil law requires that both or all parties to commercial contracts are expected to meet their contractual obligations, at least as long as performance is still possible and circumstances do not change fundamentally, thereby ensuring the efficacy and the efficiency of our system of private ordering. In March 2020, however, the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak, which was eventually declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, all of a sudden changed everyday life all over Europe from one day to another. Airlines were cancelling flights, companies were closed down, and consumers were rapidly changing their buying behavior. In addition, many European countries, including Switzerland, enacted emergency decrees, according to which national borders were closed, cities were sealed off, major events with more than a certain number of people were banned, and teaching in schools and universities was suspended, at least for some time. There is no need to say that this situation caused considerable difficulties for all participants in the economy, business enterprises and consumers alike. Against this backdrop, I elaborate on both the remedies for a breach of contract provided by the legislator as well as the adaption and the termination of contracts by a competent judge in order to address the question, whether the statutory risk allocation pursuant to the Swiss Code of Obligations is still adequate or not. A functional and doctrinal approach is used to unfold and analyze this timeless question from a contemporary perspective.

Jentsch, Valentin, ‘On the Need for Codification in European Contract Law: Adaption or Termination of Contractual Obligations in Times of Pandemic’ (EUI Law Working Paper No 2021/08, European University Institute, 2021)
Abstract: The sanctity of contracts, a guiding principle of contract law in civil law systems, requires that both or all contracting parties be expected to meet their contractual obligations, thereby ensuring efficacy and efficiency of private ordering. Under extraordinary circumstances, however, legal systems provide for mechanisms, which may excuse contractual performance or lead to adaption or termination of contractual obligations. Since the coronavirus pandemic, these mechanisms have clearly gained traction. Drawing on five important civil law jurisdictions (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy), this article elaborates on adaption or termination of contractual obligations. The article aims to address the fundamental question, whether institutions on adaption or termination still serve their purpose in times of pandemic or whether and to what extent a codification of such institutions is needed in European Contract Law. A functional and comparative approach is used to unfold and analyse this timeless question from a contemporary perspective.

Jentsch, Valentin, ‘On the Need for Unification in European Contract Law: Excuses of Contractual Performance and Remedies for Breach of Contract in Times of Pandemic’ (EUI Law Working Paper No 2021/07, European University Institute, 2021)
Abstract: The sanctity of contracts, a guiding principle of contract law in civil law systems, requires that both or all contracting parties be expected to meet their contractual obligations, thereby ensuring efficacy and efficiency of private ordering. Under extraordinary circumstances, however, legal systems provide for mechanisms, which may excuse contractual performance or lead to adaption or termination of contractual obligations. Since the coronavirus pandemic, these mechanisms have clearly gained traction. Drawing on five important civil law jurisdictions (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy), this article elaborates on excuses of contractual performance and remedies for breach of contract. The article aims to address the fundamental question, whether these excuses and remedies still serve their purpose in times of pandemic or whether and to what extent a uniform breach of contract action is needed in European Contract Law. A functional and comparative approach is used to unfold and analyse this timeless question from a contemporary perspective.

Jerez, Carmen, María Kubica and Albert Ruda, ‘Force Majeure and Hardship in the Corona Crisis: Some Contract Law Reflections on ELI Principle No 13’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The Principles for the Covid-19 Crisis, drafted by the European Law Institute in May 2020, provide a set of criteria that deserve an analysis within the framework of contract law. In particular, its Principle no. 13 lays down a rule on force majeure and hardship in light of which national contract laws may be re-examined. Consequently, an event considered to amount to force majeure will usually entail in the contract that the debtor at stake will be relieved of the duty to compensate for non-performance. Therefore, force majeure does not necessarily lead to the termination of the contract. The present paper, thus, analyses the new Principle no. 13 from the perspective of (mostly) Spanish contract law, the CISG and several soft law instruments.

Jevremovic, Nevena, ‘CISG & Proactive Contracting: Suspending Performance under Art. 71 CISG in Time of a Global Pandemic’ in Zlatan Meškić et al (eds), Balkan Yearbook of European and International Law 2020 (Springer, 2021)
Abstract: The profound economic and social impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic put to the test the resilience of commercial relationships, pushing legal academia and practice to consider questions beyond the mere impact of certain institutes of civil or common law tradition: the role of the contract law in supporting the survival of affected trading relationships. The discussion under CISG has focused mostly on the interpretation and application of its provisions – notably Art. 79 – but did not go significantly further than that. This paper aims to contribute to the existing discussion in two ways. First, is to bring to the table a discussion around a remedy embedded in Art. 71 (1) & (3) CISG: the right of suspending performance. Second, to put such remedy in the context of proactive contracting, demonstrating the potential for its use in structuring and managing the pandemic (or any other event) going forward. The discussion will, therefore, focus on the current interpretation and application of Art. 71 (1) & (3) CISG, and will then move to clarify the ideas behind proactive contracting, and ways in which participants in international sales contracts can use Art. 71 (1) & (3) CISG to address performance and adaptability risks within their relationship.

Kiraz, Ş Esra and Esra Yıldız Üstün, ‘COVID-19 and Force Majeure Clauses: An Examination of Arbitral Tribunal’s Awards’ [2020] Uniform Law Review Article unaa027 (advance article, published 29 December 2020)
Abstract: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a toll on people all across the world in various aspects. The severe consequences of this pandemic can be seen in international trade and commercial contracts. The underlying principle of contract law is that the parties are bound by the promises given under an agreement; however, events such as COVID-19 affect the parties’ performance of contractual duties. The harsh measures, such as prohibition on importation and exportation of goods or travel bans, have seriously affected the parties’ performances. In such situations, force majeure clauses, which serve as an exemption from non-performance, come into play. This article aims to reveal how COVID-19 will be assessed in terms of force majeure and the possible attitudes of arbitral tribunals towards these cases. This assessment is undertaken in light of force majeure clauses laid under the Convention on Contracts for the International Sales of Goods, the Unidroit Principles of International Commercial Contracts, and the International Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Force Majeure Clause.

Lessans, Robyn S, ‘Force Majeure and the Coronavirus: Exposing the “Foreseeable” Clash Between Force Majeure’s Common Law and Contractual Significance’ 80(3) Maryland Law Review 799–830
Abstract: This Comment highlights a largely unexplored area of force majeure jurisprudence: the unclear and conflicting relationship between force majeure as a contractual tool and force majeure as a term of common-law significance. At common-law, force majeure was traditionally defined as an unforeseeable event that prevents compliance with contractual obligations. By contrast, modern contract jurisprudence developed an increased reliance on force majeure clauses, in which parties identify specific events that may excuse nonperformance. These force majeure clauses do not need to be unforeseeable to be enforceable.

Lewis, Russell et al, ‘COVID-19: Force Majeure to the Rescue?’ (2020) 56(5) Tennessee Bar Journal 20–22
Abstract: While businesses are battling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — the most challenging epidemic the world has faced since the Spanish Flu outbreak that occurred after World War I — their contractual obligations do not disappear. Force majeure may, however, excuse those obligations. But as discussed below, force majeure may be a limited potential solution, rather than a panacea.

Lim, Nicole, ‘COVID-19 Implications for Contracts under Singapore and English Law’ (2020) 2020 Singapore Comparative Law Review 119–127
Abstract: Introduction: COVID-19 has been regarded as the ‘black swan’ event of 2020, causing massive upheaval to businesses and impacting economic ecosystems on an unprecedented scale. Since the onset of the pandemic, governments across the globe have responded with measures in the form of border restrictions and orders requiring employees to stay at home, which have severely disrupted business operations and supply chains. Many businesses which encountered difficulties in fulfilling their contractual obligations faced the threat of damages claims or risked having their deposits forfeited or leases terminated. This article will explore two primary avenues of contractual relief-force majeure clauses and the doctrine of frustration-under English and Singapore law. While Singapore’s position in these two areas of law accords with the English position, local jurisprudence further elucidates the legal position for parties. Also, new legislation fast-tracked through the Singapore Parliament now offers affected businesses and individuals interim relief in relation to certain contracts.

Lipson, Jonathan C and Norman M Powell, ‘Contracting COVID: Private Order and Public Good (Standstills)’ (2021) 76(2) Business Lawyer
Pre-published version of paper available on SSRN
Abstract: The novel Coronavirus (2019) (COVID) has created a dilemma: Open the economy and spread disease; quarantine and choke the economy. Thus far, the response has looked to government for health-safety standards and financial subsidies. Although these are necessary steps, they have become politicized, thereby exacerbating severe uncertainties created by the pandemic. While we will surely halt it, we do not know how, when, or what comes next. Many writers are exploring litigation that will flow from COVID. This Article considers the flip side: the important but under-appreciated role that ex ante contracting plays in addressing the COVID dilemma. Liability waivers, for example, will be ubiquitous, but might be misused to shelter poor risk management. This essay argues that these waivers should be enforceable only when coupled with reasonable health-safety precautions, which may appear in contracts such as workplace rules or supply chain agreements. Without such balance—or worse, when imposed by fiat, as President Trump did in the meat processing industry—they can inflame the public health crisis. At the same time, the COVID-induced shutdown has caused most contracts to be in or near breach. This has resulted in responses such as litigation, bankruptcy, and bailouts. While these may be inevitable, second-order contracts such as standstill agreements provide certainty that enables parties to adjust commercial relationships in ways that may preserve more value at lower cost than public interventions.Contract in this context is thus doing more than creating private order; it is also producing public good. This hearkens to Depression-era scholarship which argued that contract had public ramifications. Although modern writers have largely abandoned that view, it reflected a change in mindset that cleared the way for sweeping New Deal reforms. While we do not yet know whether COVID will be as disruptive as the Depression, the uses of contract described here may signal a comparably dramatic realignment of private and public.

Liu, Qiao, ‘COVID-19 in Civil or Commercial Disputes: First Responses from Chinese Courts’ (2020) 8(2) Chinese Journal of Comparative Law (forthcoming)
Abstract: This comment highlights major civil or commercial (mostly contract) law provisions in 23 judicial documents newly released by the Supreme People’s Court or High People’s Courts in China in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19, and assesses the significance of key changes that they make to the pre-pandemic law. It concludes by noting the increased role of the doctrine of the change of circumstances and the ‘contract purpose’ test, the emphasis placed on consensual solutions (by way of mediation and contract re-negotiation), and the flexibility and relatively clearer guidance afforded to lower courts in their adjudication of contract disputes arising in connection with the COVID-19.

Lowenstein, Henry and Laura L Sullivan, ‘Contracts and the Covid-19 Virus Pandemic’ (2021) 30(Fall) Southern Law Journal 57–96
Extract from Introduction: This article provides a contemporaneous summary overview of the COVID-19 crisis as it impacts contracts, as a reminder to legal scholars, information for business law students, and for the benefit of non-attorney business managers and consumers. This article provides readers context, and an overview of the legal mechanisms at work during this critical national emergency and a rapidly evolving legal and contractual environment. It also provides food for thought on the potentially lasting impacts and implications for the law of contracts after the immediate crisis has abated.

Lytvyn, Stepan et al, ‘Legal Regulation of the Agreement on Provision of Tourist Services during the Pandemic Covid-19’ (2021) 12(2) Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism 501-506
Jurisdiction: Ukraine
Abstract: The article is devoted to the content of legal instruments in terms of tourism business, namely the problems of legal regulation of the contract for the provision of tourist services. The analysis of the state of development of this problem shows that the issue of legal regulation of contractual relations in general and the contract in tourist services in general is insufficiently studied. This is due to various factors, including the fact that constant integration processes to the international community force Ukraine to adjust its domestic legislation in accordance with international requirements, but these measures are often inconsistent or incomplete, so there are many contradictions in modern Ukrainian civil law. The author's vision of the content of the package of measures that can positively influence not only the development of the tourism industry in general, but primarily to help identify those legal segments that need improvement in the future.

MacMillan, Catharine, ‘Covid-19 and the Problem of Frustrated Contracts’ (2021) 32(1) King’s Law Journal 60–70
Abstract: Covid-19 has created an unexpected global pandemic which has brought unprecedented and wide ranging restrictions from governments around the world. One result of these events has been profound disruptions to individual contracts. This article considers the nature and history of the doctrine of frustration in English law. The lack of certainty in ascertaining whether or not an event is a frustrating one is examined. A consideration of the particular problems innumerable parties will face in attempting to decide whether or not their contract has been discharged by frustration as a result of Covid-19 and the regulations designed to curtail the virus are made. The article concludes with an overview of the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943.

MacQueen, Hector L, María Kubica and Albert Ruda, ‘“Coronavirus Contract Law” in Scotland’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: This chapter describes the Scottish legislative response to the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the chief impact on contracts is most likely to arise from issues of the supervening illegality of particular kinds of activity normally carried out under contracts. Scottish law largely follows English law in its doctrine of frustration and its approach to force majeure clauses. The paper accordingly suggests that the temporary interruptions to performance which the coronavirus legislation brings about may not be sufficient to discharge affected contracts. The Scottish courts law may need rather to develop their very limited powers of equitable adjustment in response to changed but not necessarily frustrating circumstances. Some ways in which this might be done are suggested.

Majumder, Bodhisattwa and Devashish Giri, ‘Coronavirus & Force Majeure: A Critical Study (Liability of a Party Affected by the Coronavirus Outbreak in a Commercial Transaction)’ (2020) 51(1) Journal of Maritime Law & Commerce 51–63
Abstract: The article discusses the issues on the use of the force majeure clauses in commercial transactions due to the coronavirus pandemic when the virus is not explicitly included in the terms of agreement. Also cited are the clauses’ aim to eliminate the liabilities of both parties in a contract, a background of the pandemic that affected up to 24 countries, and the Principles of International Commercial Contracts detailing why the pandemic is a force majeure event.

Marchisio, Emiliano, ‘Reflections on the “Just Price” in Times of Crisis (with Reference to Coronavirus ... but Not Only)’ (2021) 17(3) European Review of Contract Law 285–314
Abstract: The debate about the ‘just price’ has ancient origin and returns forcefully to the scene when, in the event of crises of various kinds, there is a rapid and significant increase in prices of given goods or services. The main issue is whether price increases of such a nature could, or should, be considered illicit and ground the issue of sanctions against the firms increasing prices, thus focusing on a macro-systemic level of analysis. The central part of the article reviews different theories on what a ‘just price’ should be and focuses on the idea that a price is ‘just’ when it functions as an index of relative scarcity in free markets. It is claimed that such a function deserves protection by Italian and EU law. Therefore price adjustments in response to shocks cannot and should not be considered illegal: it is unacceptable to sanction private firms by attributing them the wrong of not having substituted themselves, at their own expense, for the exercise of a public function (that of making sure that price increases do not put at risk solidarity and other constitutional principles).

Mashishi, Thato, ‘The Convergence of COVID-19 and Force Majeure’ (2020) 20(3) Without Prejudice 10
Abstract: On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (‘WHO’) characterised COVID-19 as a pandemic pursuant to an assessment by the WHO. As the global community grapples with COVID- 19 and its ramifications, parties to commercial agreements have not been spared from panic in respect of the adverse effects on those agreements.

Mathew, Renjith, ‘Force-Majeure under Contract Law in the Context of Covid-19 Pandemic’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3588338, 1 April 2020)
Abstract: Force-majeure and Frustration are contract principles which are very significant in the present context of Covid-19 pandemic. This article is a study on the said contract principles with various judicial pronouncements on the applicability of force-majeure and frustration.

Menyhárd, Attila, ‘Impacts of COVID-19 in Hungarian Contract Law’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The legal and social consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic raise challenges in legal systems. Incompleteness of contracts requires statutory or judicial intervention in order to reach the most efficient risk allocation in contractual relationships. In Hungarian contract law implied terms, impossibility and judicial amendment of contracts on the grounds of clausula rebus sic stantibus provide the doctrinal framework for such an assessment. These doctrines provide the legal framework for balancing the conflicting interests of the binding force of contracts and the demand for adjusting social and legal relationships to changing circumstances. Contracts are to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but it is argued here that commercial and non-commercial transactions require different approaches as well as direct legal and indirect social consequences should be considered differently.

Mohammed, Abdul Basit Jassim, ‘The Effectiveness of Private Law Rules That Regulate Exceptional Circumstances in Settling Disputes Resulting from the Emerging Circumstance Covid-19 Corona Virus) as a Model’ (2020) 10(2) AL-ANBAR University Journal of Law and Political Sciences 219–254
Abstract: The world was not this close to social contact, nor with this size of economic exchange, before the era of (globalization), which unified the effects of the new circumstances that humankind is going through, and if legal thought was able - previously - to establish new circumstances - at that time - based on One legal theory, (such as emergency circumstances) and (force majeure), the reason for this was the limitation of the circumstance (spatially), while the situation - today - is completely different, in terms of the impact of the whole world, in its various sectors, by the new circumstance, by the action of (globalization) that made The whole world is a small village, which entails an evolution in contractual relations, whether in the mechanisms of their conclusion or in the mechanisms of their implementation. The rules of private law have succeeded, to a satisfactory extent - until now - in regulating these relationships in the event of exceptional circumstances, and as it was possible to conclude contracts between those spatially far apart, many of them were easily implemented through the same web, and this is why it is no longer fair to consider the impact of new circumstances on obligations. Contractualism based on one legal theory, as long as it is possible to keep a group of them enforceable despite the new circumstances, and the possibility of applying the provisions of the theory of (force majeure) to a second sect, and the provisions of the theory (emergency conditions) on a third sect, in addition to the possibility of granting a judicial term (easy view) For a fourth class of them, and so forth, at the same time, and towards the same emerging circumstance, due to the flexibility and comprehensiveness that characterize the rules of private law that regulate exceptional circumstances. What helped - in fact - to settle disputes resulting from the new circumstances, according to several theories, in order to achieve the greatest degree of justice and balance between the conflicting interests.

Nguyen, Xuan-Thao, ‘Contract as Emergency Law’ (2021) 30(3) Washington International Law Journal 420–469
Abstract: This Article offers a new perspective of contract law as emergency law. Doctrines of impossibility, supervening events, force majeure, and good faith performance are core principles resiliently allowing parties to address contract nonperformance under state of emergency crises. Comparatively, China prefers drastic measures to confront contract nonperformance problems by issuing Certificates of Force Majeure, permitting Chinese companies to escape contract liability and forfeiting the resiliency of contract law as emergency law. The Article argues that the pandemic reaffirms the role of contract law as emergency law and urges governments to solidify the freedom to contract.

Nicolussi, Andrea, ‘The Pandemic and Change of Circumstances in Italy’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The contribution is divided into two parts. The first describes the essential lines of the discipline of contingencies (change of circumstances in a broad sense) in Italian law with some comparisons with English common law. In particular, two subdivisions of the subject are presented. The former is the distinction between contingencies that disrupt the exchange covered by the contract in a qualitative sense and contingencies that disrupt the exchange covered by the contract in a quantitative sense. The latter is the distinction between typical contingencies, that is, legally foreseen and disciplined, and atypical contingencies, that is, not governed by the contract or by the law and which can make the equity criterion intervene. After this premise, the author analyses two hypotheses of lease contracts, those for commercial use and those for the residence of university off-site students, which can be considered examples of typical contingencies and atypical contingencies respectively. The Author concludes with a reference to quantitative contingencies with regard to which he takes into consideration the remedies of termination, equitable adjustment and renegotiation.

Nongogo, Anele, ‘Electronic Signatures in Commercial Contracts’ (2020) 20(4) Without Prejudice 46–47
Abstract: The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has led to most South Africans working from home or other remote areas. A direct result of this is the lack of access to office equipment such as printers and scanners, which means that some commercial contracts will now have to be signed electronically. This article will discuss the use of electronic signatures and advanced electronic signatures in commercial contracts in South Africa, focusing on the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (25 of 2002) (ECTA). The ECTA is the primary legislation that regulates electronic signatures and advanced electronic signatures.

Nousia, K, ‘The Covid-19 Pandemic: Contract and Insurance Law Implications’ (2020) 35(7) Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation 274–283
Abstract: The spread of COVID-19 has had a global impact, with the human toll being significant, and with the economic cost being unquantifiable. With regards to business and contractual relationships, legal liabilities owed to disruption, cancellations, or to the imposed halt of everyday life are perhaps the most notable. This article starts by examining frustration in English, US and continental contract law in relation to cases where the circumstances have changed due to unnatural events such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It then moves on to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on insurance, in particular business interruption, travel and general liability insurance. The likelihood of success of future claims, the scope of coverage, together with the meaning and interpretation of the term ‘force majeure’ and how this will relate to exclusions from insurance coverage is discussed. Valuations methods are also considered and evaluated with a view to protect the policyholder as his business interruption policy is a contract of adhesion not having left him any room to negotiate. In addition, possible interpretations to be followed by courts in future claims and liability for catastrophic risks and methods of compensation are examined and conclusions on the role of insurance in the COVID19 pandemic are drawn.

Ogwu, Ogochukwu Joshua, ‘Imminent Contractual Issues in the COVID-19 Era “The Legal Implications”’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3615734, 30 May 2020)
Abstract: Beyond the alarming spread of COVID-19 across the globe and the social distancing measures being put in place by the government authorities all over the world, the sting of the pandemic has had far reaching effects and has found its way into almost every sector of the economy. Businesses are at risk of being wind up, contractual obligations are likely to be breeched if not properly reviewed, terms of contract between employers and employees have become airy-fairy and the atmosphere has become a false dawn for potential investors, stakeholders and growing industries. This article seeks to address the imminent issues that may arise from the impact of the pandemic as it relates to contractual agreements and proffer possible recommendations.

Onyango, Kevin Otieno, ‘Non-Performance: The Impact of COVID-19 on Contractual Obligations in Kenya’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3707988, 9 October 2020)
Abstract: The measures taken to counter and contain COVID-19 in Kenya in terms of curfews, restrictions of movement, closure of businesses and schools and even ban on international travel. Many parties entered into contracts without foreseeing the drastic effects of COVID-19 on the performance of their contractual obligations. This paper analyses the impact of COVID-19 on the performance and enforcement of contractual obligations in Kenya.

Opinio Juris in Comparatione (2020) Special Issue: Impact of Coronavirus Emergency - Section One: Law of Obligations and Contract Philippe, Denis, ‘Coronavirus: Force Majeure? Hardship? Deferral of Obligations? Some Practical Elements Advice for the Analysis and Drafting of Clauses’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: This article analyses whether the coronavirus crisis can lead to the application of the doctrine of force majeure; the different conditions of application of force majeure are discussed (non-accountability, unforeseeability and impossibility) as its effects which are not defined clearly by the literature and the case law. This article gives some hints for the drafting of force majeure clauses. Of course pandemics must be mentioned in the circumstances constituting force majeure. Then, the possibility to find alternatives in case of non-performance must be considered; finally, a renegotiation of the contract can be organised in the force majeure clause. The article also analyses the doctrine of unforeseen circumstances and the drafting of hardship clauses. Finally this article mentions the corona principles of the European Law Institute which recommends a renegotiation of the contract following the corona crisis.

Radhi, Hassan Dakel Abd, ‘The Legal Nature of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Impact on Contractual Obligations Applied in Human Rights’ (2021) International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare (advance article)
Abstract: Under international human rights law, states can limit the exercise of most human rights if it is necessary to protect the rights of others or collective interests. The hazards of epidemics and diseases have raised many legal, economic and social issues in their link with global health security, which renew the discussion regarding the effects of the COVID-19 on some civil and commercial transactions and financial and tax obligations. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on contractual obligations.

Rashi, Tsuriel and Andrew A Schwartz, ‘Contracts Capsized by COVID-19: A Legal and Jewish Ethical Analysis’ (2021) Journal of Business Ethics Advance article, published 4 March 2021
Abstract: Countless contracts have been undermined by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 as well as government orders to contain it. Flights have been canceled, concerts have been called off, and dorms have been closed, just to name a few. Do these all count as breaches of contract—or are the parties excused due to the extraordinary circumstances? And how should the losses be allocated between the parties? The law provides one set of answers to these questions; ethics offers another. With a focus on American law (developed over the past two centuries) and Jewish ethics (developed over millennia), this paper shows that the two systems are in accord with some respects and differ in others: Both law and Jewish ethics would excuse a party who cannot complete his contract due to a force beyond his control, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet Jewish ethics would require that the excused party still be paid, while American law would not.

Rubí-Puig, Antoni, ‘Coronavirus’ Impact on Broadcasting Rights for the Spanish Professional Football League’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the measures adopted by public authorities to prevent health risks posed by COVID-19 led organizers of sport events worldwide to cancel all ongoing competitions. The Spanish Professional Football League or ‘La Liga’ was suspended for almost three months, and pending matches for the 2019-2020 season have now resumed with a new and tight calendar. Such unexpected changes in the championship have undoubtedly diminished the value of La Liga broadcasting rights and have generated losses to their national and international holders. This contribution discusses the application of Spanish contract law to identify any possible claims that broadcasters could have to seek some relief. On close inspection, it is unlikely that broadcasters could enjoy any remedies to claim damages, to terminate their payment obligations or to adjust their contracts with La Liga’s organizer. However, due to the particularities of the football broadcasting market, voluntary renegotiation of contracts is expected to occur.

Sahni, Aseem, ‘Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19): Invoking Force Majeure and Doctrine of Frustration: An Analysis From an Indian Law Perspective’ (2020) 48(3) International Journal of Legal Information 132–136
Abstract: The on-going global Coronavirus disease (‘COVID-19’) pandemic, has affected a countless number of people around the world, businesses, and the global economies alike and is certainly nothing short of a ticking time bomb. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic after noting that COVID-19 has increased 13-fold in countries other than China. A few state governments in India have also termed COVID-19 as an epidemic. In testing times like these, India, currently amidst an unprecedented nationwide lock-down, which has subsequently been extended until May 3, 2020 and has resulted in a temporary or partial shutdown of most business(es)-in India—whether they be small, medium or big business houses, with the exception of only a list of services notified by the relevant governmental authorities which have been deemed to be and are categorized as ‘essential services’ and allowing functioning of select additional activities (such as allowing manufacturing activities in certain sectors to take place), which have also only been permitted to start from April 20, 2020.

Schanze, Erich, ‘Best Efforts in the Taxonomy of Obligation: The Case of the EU Vaccine Contracts’ (2021) 22(6) German Law Journal 1133–1145
Abstract: The purchase of Covid-19 vaccines by the EU Commission as agent for the Member States has caused substantial political discussion, including a lawsuit against the producer AstraZeneca in Brussels in 2021. The article looks at these purchase contracts as examples for a problematic use of “best efforts“ clauses in commercial contracting, considering some key jurisdictions. The clauses are discussed from a drafting perspective, including their function and their theoretical background in comparative law. It concludes with a primer for the drafting process, looking at some basic contracting schemes for softening or intensifying obligations.

Schmidt-Kessel, Martin and Christina Möllnitz, ‘Particular Corona Contract Law in Germany : Why Does General Contract Law Not Suffice?’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: In order to handle the economic consequences of the COVID-19-pandemic, the German legislator has issued a number of specific rules for certain contracts for a limited period of time. The fact that legislation saw the need for such measures raises the question whether established German contract law is not sufficient to deal with the consequences of a large-scale crisis. This essay therefore outlines in a first step how the rules of general contract law in Germany apply to contracts affected by the COVID-19-crisis. The second step is dedicated to an analysis of the interaction between the particular rules within the emergency regulation and the general contract and will conclude with some first tentative answers to the general question concerning the reasons to amend German law by the Corona Contract Law legislation. :

Schwartz, Andrew A, ‘Contracts and COVID-19’ (2020) 73(July) Stanford Law Review 48–60
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020—as well as government orders to contain it—has prevented countless people, babysitters to basketball players, from fulfilling their contracts. Are all of these parties legally liable for breaching their contracts? Or are they excused due to this extraordinary event? What about payments made in advance, such as tickets bought for a concert that has now been canceled, or a dorm room leased at a college that is now closed? This coronavirus is new, but wars, floods, and even other pandemics have upset innumerable contracts over the years. In response, our courts have established a fairly clear set of legal rules—most importantly the doctrines of ‘Impossibility’ and ‘Restitution’—to answer these questions. Beyond that, contracting parties can, and often do, ‘contract around’ these legal doctrines by including a ‘Force Majeure’ clause, which specifies what should happen in case of an ‘Act of God’ like the coronavirus. Part I of this Essay will describe the legal doctrines of Impossibility and Restitution and how they might apply to a contract undermined by the COVID-19 pandemic. Part II will explain how a Force Majeure clause alters those background doctrines to give—or withhold—relief to a party whose performance has been thwarted by the pandemic. Finally, Subpart II.C will peer into the future and predict that many parties will likely revise their Force Majeure clauses to ensure they cover a pandemic like this. While such a revision may seem obvious from a legal perspective, it may not be optimal from a business perspective, as it may lead counterparties to greatly lower the price they are willing to pay—or even refuse entirely to make a deal. Indeed, some parties may conclude that the default Impossibility doctrine provides better protection than a Force Majeure clause, as it covers any and all unexpected cataclysms, not just those expressly listed in the contract.

Scognamiglio, Claudio, ‘Relevance of the Contractual Solidarity at the Times of Pandemics’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The essay aims to outline, in a general perspective, the different possible strategies to respond from the normative point of view to the consequences, direct or indirect, on the contractual relations of the pandemic COVID-19: a solution entrusted to the jurisprudential law seems appreciable for its elasticity, but the requirements of certainty and predictability appear preeminent to be assured only by the legislative intervention.

Shebaita, Maged, ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on the Performance of Administrative Contracts in Egypt Comparative Study’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3638076, 29 June 2020)
Abstract: Any country undertakes several actions to fulfill the public needs of it’s people or to achieve economical and financial targets. One of the most famous actions is contracts, the state is usually engaged in several contractual relationships to achieve the aforementioned targets. In Civil Law countries, the Administration concludes two types of contracts, Public Law Contracts and Private Law Contracts. The overwhelming opinion in the Egyptian Administrative Law, jurists and judgments are that there are 3 main criterion to distinguish administrative contract from civil and commercial contracts, which had been explained in the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court ‘It is recognized that the Administrative Contract is the contract concluded by a public law person with the intention of managing of public utility and for showing its intention to adopt the Public law method, which includes a clause or conditions that are unfamiliar to private law contracts.’ . Through the performance of Administrative Contracts certain obstacles appeared, some of them are foreseeable and others unforeseeable. After the announcement by WHO on 13th March 2020, that COVID-19 is a pandemic, several states declared the state of emergency due to the outbreak of COVID-19 which caused many economical and financial disasters, to both public and private sectors. In this research I will focus on the outbreak of COVID-19 as unforeseeable events which led to overturn the financial and economical equilibrium of the Administrative Contract in Egypt. This is what we will illustrate together in the following pages.

Sherman, John, ‘The Contractual Balance Between ‘Can I?’ and “Should I?” Mapping the ABA’s Model Supply Chain Contract Clauses to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ (Harvard Kennedy School, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Working Paper No 73, 2020)
Abstract: This paper examines the efforts of the American Bar Association to draft proposed Model Contract Clauses for businesses that prohibit modern slavery and child labor in supply chain contracts. This involves a careful balancing of a buyer’s desire to avoid consuming goods manufactured with human rights abuse and its desire to protect itself legally, in order to ensure that the company is acting in alignment with its responsibility to respect universally recognized human rights under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This subject is quite timely in light of the current efforts of many companies, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to exercise force majeure clauses in their contracts to dump suppliers without regard to the impacts of vulnerable workers in their supply chains.

Shetty, Smaran and Pranav Budihal, ‘Force Majeure, Frustration and Impossibility: A Qualitative Empirical Analysis’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3665213, 1 August 2020)
Abstract: A concluded contract may be rendered incapable of performance for a variety of reasons. The incapability of performance raises a variety of important legal questions: Is the claim of incapability acceptable to the counterparty? If not, does the claim meet the standards of force majeure and/or frustration? Does the contract between the parties address the grounds of incapability? Whether performance may be excused without the levy of damages? Towards that end, this report attempts to draw attention to the core issues in making and resisting a force majeure claim, key decisions of the Supreme Court that have settled the parameters of force majeure, frustration and impossibility and important advancements made by the High Courts. We also offer insights into allied issues in making a force majeure claim that have bearing on the timing, forum and terms on which a force majeure claim may be made. This report thereafter proceeds to offer empirical insights of the Supreme Court as well as 6 high courts – Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Karnataka, Allahabad and Calcutta. In presenting this information, we assemble a qualitative set of cases that have decided and applied the law on force majeure, frustration, and impossibility. We offer insights into the number of successful force majeure claims and common force majeure events.

Shoor, Sahil, ‘COVID-19: What Happens If Your Contract in Canada (Excluding Quebec) Does Not Have a Force Majeure Clause.’ [2020] Lawyer (Online Edition) 1
Abstract: The article offers information on the health challenges faced by the coronavirus outbreak in the Canada. It discusses the declaration of the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. It mentions the role of the force Majeure clauses protect the person in times of extreme events, such as Coronavirus outbreak in the Canada.

Sirena, Pietro and Francesco Paolo Patti, ‘Hardship and Renegotiation of Contracts in the Prospective Recodification of Italian Civil Law’ (Bocconi Legal Studies Research Paper No 3706159, 2020)
Abstract: The aim of the present essay is to analyse the new normative proposal on change of circumstances and to shed light on its scope of application, its potentialities and its shortcomings. The first part will indicate the reasons why a modification of the existing law is needed, also in consideration of the COVID-19 crisis and the difficulties in finding a fair solution capable of balancing the parties’ interests in ongoing contracts (B.). The contribution will then devote attention to the comparative background, as the problem of supervening events gave rise to several legislative interventions, not only in the European context (C.). A detailed scrutiny of the proposed Italian provision on change of circumstances will follow, with respect to the systematic relationship to other remedies and the requirements for its application (D.). Finally, the paper offers some conclusions (E.).

Sousa Antunes, Henrique, ‘Portugal’s COVID-19 Legislation and the Challenges Raised for the Change of Circumstances Regime’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: During the recent period of Portugal’s financial bailout, following the severe effects of the global financial crisis of 2008, the courts demonstrated a clear reluctance to accept claims for contract termination or modification due to change of circumstances. Within this framework, the Portuguese legislator’s responses to the pandemic raises challenges for the change of circumstances regime. The legislative activity to which COVID-19 has given rise tests the traditional understanding regarding the foundations of the institute, certainly with regard to cases related to the pandemic, but also regarding situations of unenforceability with different grounds.

Stevens, Shawn K, ‘COVID-19: Contractual Protection of “Force Majeure” Clauses’ (2020) 234(4) National Provisioner 8–10
Abstract: The article discusses the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on contractual obligations which contains force majeure clauses. Topics discussed include the common-law doctrine of supervening impracticability, the restatement of Contracts and common contractual clause that discharges parties of their performance obligations.

Stevenson, Douglas, ‘Shutdown, Frustration & Property Contracts’ (2020) 233(Spring) Writ 25–26
Abstract: Considers the doctrine of frustration as it applies to property contracts during the COVID-19 crisis. Refers to cases on war-time frustration and their application to leases and contracts for the sale of land. Suggests that the concept of partial excuse for breach of contract may be applicable.

Tay, Eu-Yen, ‘Frustration, Not Fortitude: The Case for Applying the Doctrine of Frustration to Leases Affected by COVID-19’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3621875, Social Science Research Network, 8 June 2020)
Abstract: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on retail businesses raises the pertinent question of whether commercial leases can be deemed to be frustrated, so that tenants may be released from their rental obligations. Focusing on the plight of restauranteurs, but relevant to the retail sector in general, this paper discusses the doctrine of frustration with respect to restaurant leases affected by the COVID-19 crisis. It puts forward the view that the doctrine does, and should, apply to these leases in these COVID-19 circumstances, not least because in spite of Government relief measures, frustration may be the only way out for restauranteurs.

Torsello, Marco and Matteo M Winkler, ‘Coronavirus-Infected International Business Transactions: A Preliminary Diagnosis’ (2020) 11(2) European Journal of Risk Regulation Special Issue-‘Taming COVID-19 by Regulation’ 396-401
Abstract: Extract from Introduction: Since the very start of 2020, international business actors have become increasingly concerned with the ‘viral exceptionalism’ caused by the various governmental pandemic-mitigation restrictions (PMRs) enacted in response to COVID-19….. in all jurisdictions the issue arises as to the impact of COVID-19 on the ability of the parties to duly perform their contractual obligations. This circumstance is not confined to domestic settings, but extends to international business transactions, where the risks arising both from pandemics and from the subsequent PMRs are typically regulated through appropriate force majeure clauses. However, unlike the corresponding national provisions regarding force majeure, which tend to exclude the party’s liability for failure to perform, the above-mentioned clauses regulate the effects of force majeure events in several different fashions by offering the parties ways to preserve their contractual relationships. This article offers a threefold analysis of force majeure clauses in light of PMRs. First, it proposes an overview of force majeure clauses and their effects. Second, it assesses the possible use of such clauses in relation to PMRs. Finally, it examines the possible extraterritorial reach of such PMRs.

Tsang King Fung, Dicky, ‘From Coronation to Coronavirus: Covid-19, Force Majeure and Private International Law’ (2020) 44 Fordham International Law Journal 187
Abstract: This Article aims to facilitate the understanding of the interlocking nature of COVID-19, force majeure, and private international law, and seeks to analyze the private international law issues that are expected to arise in COVID-19 related force majeure cases. As both force majeure and private international law are national laws, this Article illustrates the relevant issues by comparing both sets of laws between England, the place of origin of modern force majeure law and frustration in common law jurisdictions, and China, the jurisdiction that has the most experience in dealing with force majeure related to coronavirus.

Twigg-Flesner, Christian, ‘A Comparative Perspective on Commercial Contracts and the Impact of COVID-19 - Change of Circumstances, Force Majeure, or What?’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3582482, 22 April 2020)
Abstract: This paper sets ouf the role of force majeure clauses and legal rules on post-formation unforeseen circumstances in the specific context of the COVID-19 pandemic, from a comparative and international commercial law perspective.

Twigg-Flesner, Christian, ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Stress Test for Contract Law?’ (2020) 9(3) Journal of European Consumer and Market Law 89–92
Extract: The consequences of this crisis have raised many legal issues, particularly for consumer and commercial contracts. For example, many consumers who prepaid for services to be provided at a later date (such as flights, accommodation, or venues for family celebrations) have struggled to obtain refunds from their service providers, with many offering vouchers instead in an attempt to preserve some of their cash reserves, thereby inadvertently turning consumers into unsecured lenders to business. Moreover, businesses and consumers with long-term loans or rental commitments may not be able to keep up their contractual instalment payments, and face being in default and, at worst, being evicted from homes or retail premises. Many long-term contracts, whether for the regular supply of goods or services or subscription-style contracts, cannot be performed on time, with performance either suspended or at least subject to delays. There are many other ways in which the crisis and its consequences have affected the performance of contracts, but this brief account suffices to set the scene. The central legal issue in respect of contracts can be boiled down to one seemingly simple question: what is the impact of the crisis and its consequences on the rights and obligations of the parties to a contract which can no longer be performed as expected? However, answering that question is far from simple and will depend on the reason why, and the extent to which, a contract can no longer be performed as expected, the relevant rules of the governing law which provide relevant legal solutions in respect of that reason, and any contract terms which might cover the circumstances which have arisen.

Twigg-Flesner, Christian, ‘The Potential of the COVID-19 Crisis to Cause Legal Disruption to Contracts and Contract Law’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: This paper explores whether the COVID-19 crisis has the potential to cause legal disruption to the legal regime for contracts. It first sketches features of the COVID-19 crisis and its effect on the economic and social context of contracts, before setting out a four-step methodology to categorise legal responses to the crisis. It then develops a specific conception of legal disruption, based on Christensen’s theory of disruptive technology, which posits that legal disruption occurs once the pre-crisis legal regime for contracts (whether entirely or partially) is displaced by new provisions first targeted at the effects of the crisis. It concludes that the crisis has the potential to cause legal disruption but that this outcome is not inevitable.

Vaquer, Antoni, ‘Prescription and Lapse of Rights under the Spanish State of Emergency’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: This paper discusses the regulation contained in the Royal Decree establishing the state of emergency in Spain on suspension of the running of the periods of prescription in a private law system that does not have a general rule on suspension. Since the Spanish legislator has suspended the running of the periods for all citizens and claims as long as the emergency state has been in force, it is questionable whether this solution is efficient in terms of protection of people that, because of illness caused by COVID, are unable to pursue a claim once the emergency state has come to an end. Moreover, the Spanish Civil Code still distinguishes usucapio inter presentes and usucapio inter absentes, the latter requiring a longer period, but the Royal Decree does not contain any rule on acquisitive prescription.

Vorotyntseva, Inna, Ivanna Hranina and Maryna Pysarenko, ‘Comparative Legal Research on Contract Law Changes Under Covid-19 Pandemic: England, United States, Asia and UkraineIus Humani | Law Journal (2021) 10(1) Ius Humani | Law Journal 123–150
Abstract: The study aims to characterize the changes in contract law under the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic in Ukraine and the world. For this purpose, we used systemic, comparative-legal, and formal-legal methods. The paper consists of an introduction, methodology section, bibliography review, results, discussion, conclusions, and references. In the result of the study some distinctive features of changes in contract law under Covid-19 pandemic at the level of national law of Ukraine and some foreign countries were characterized and highlighted. The authors came to the conclusion that changes in contract law are typical for the countries of continental law. Instead, common law states remain resistant to changes in contract law, particularly, the force-majeure application. The reason for this lies in the specific doctrine of the common law countries, as England and the United States. These countries’ courts remain unshakable in terms of managing the contracts performance. In contrast, some Asian and European states (including Ukraine) are characterized by dynamic changes in legislation, given the pandemic situation. The paper also discusses similar institutions like hardship and frustration of purpose, which are both applicable in continental and common law countries.

Wiewiórowska-Domagalska, Aneta, ‘When Pandemic Meets Politics: Corona Contract Law in Poland’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: This article presents and critically evaluates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Polish contract law. Since the government refrained from introducing the state of emergency to manage the pandemic in Poland in violation of the Constitution, the constitutional dimension of the COVID-19 measures is of crucial importance also for the contract law examination, as it substantially changes the position of the parties of private law relations. The article therefore gives an overview of the measures introduced as a response to the COVID-19 emergency in the constitutional context, presents the classic Polish private law instruments potentially applicable to contracts in extraordinary circumstances like pandemic as well as the extraordinary legislation introduced by the government in the area of contract law, with a view to addressing the pandemic. It ends by presenting the first cases initiated by private parties against the State Treasury.

Wijerathna, Yasoda, ‘Non-Performance of Contractual Obligations in International Commercial Contracts in the Wake of Coronavirus: A Legal Perspective’ in Conference Paper, 3rd Research Conference on Business Studies (2020) 258–261
Abstract: The rapid growth of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has undoubtedly impacted business relations worldwide, leading to significant consequences caused by the non-performance of international commercial contracts. Given the circumstances, the current study scrutinises how the international commercial law can provide relief to for non-performance of contractual obligations due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis through legal instruments such as the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) and UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (UNIDROIT Principles). This research was conducted following the doctrinal legal research methodology. Examining the CISG and the UNIDROIT Principles revealed that the legal concepts such as force majeure and hardship could be invoked to grant relief. The study finds that the COVID-19 Pandemic will provide the legal basis to invoke these measures depending on different factors such as the duration of impediment, allocation of contractual risks, causal link and the date of signing the contract. In conclusion, the relief provided by these international instruments is likely to be constructed based on the judicial precedent established during comparable circumstances in the past, such as the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Wilkinson, Susannah, ‘Six Levels of Contract Automation: Evolution to Digitalised Smart (and Legal) Contracts’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No 3748266, 14 December 2020)
Abstract: Automation is taking hold in different aspects of business across every industry and every sector. Consistent with this trend, the notion of embedding automatio

Torts

Albanese, Antonio, ‘Mobility at the Time of the Coronavirus and Damage Caused by Vehicles Equipped with Electronic Safety Systems’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The introduction of technologies that make vehicles safer is important to address the foreseeable criticalities of road traffic due to the lower capacity of public transport as a result of social distancing measures. In this unique situation, the objective of limiting the spread of the epidemic cannot overshadow the prevention of accidents and human health must be guaranteed with respect to all possible risks. However, new safety systems are not completely failsafe. With these cases in mind, the article proposes to verify the extent to which current rules on civil liability in Italian law may offer solutions to damages caused by highly automated vehicles in terms of preventing harmful events and allocating their costs according to criteria of justice and economic efficiency. Within this logic, the analysis also looks at the rules on the distribution of compensation costs among the various parties that may be jointly and severally liable (driver, owner, custodian or manufacturer).

Billauer, Barbara Pfeffer, ‘COVID, Courts, and Other Controversies’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3710090, 12 October 2020)
Abstract: Personal Injury cases seeking recovery for contracting coronavirus are proliferating. These fall into four categories: direct exposure, such as on cruise ships, allegedly claiming negligent property management and decision-making, shareholder liability suits for failure to disclose potential loss from lawsuits, workers compensation cases alleging workplace exposure occurring in the course of employment, and bystander exposure from spouses exposed to their husbands’ who contracted the disease on the job. Proving causation, will, however, be difficult. Proving negligence on the ground of flawed sterilization will also be difficult. Claims against cruise ship operators for failing to notify passengers before embarkation of potential exposure, however, I suggest may have some traction, although at present that route is not being.

Bilotta, Clio et al, ‘The Medico-Legal Implications in Medical Malpractice Claims during COVID-19 Pandemic: Increase or Trend Reversal?’ (2020) 88(1 (Supp)) Medico-Legal Journal 35–37
Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic caused a marked increase in admissions to intensive care units. The critically ill patients’ condition from the infection resulted in their deaths. The healthcare facilities have got into trouble because of the pandemic. In fact, they had to create additional beds in a very short time and to protect health workers with personal protective equipment. Healthcare professionals fear that there will be an increase in complaints and medico-legal malpractice claims and hence they have urged politicians to discuss this. The Italian Parliament recently debated the topic of medical liability and passed the Decree-Law no. 18 of 17 March 2020 (DL – so called Cura Italia) by which they want to extend the concept of ‘gross negligence’ to healthcare facilities. Several Extended Care Units have suffered from outbreaks of Covid-19, so the Prosecutor’s Office of several cities initiated investigations against them. This situation has reached Sicily, where the Prosecutor’s Office of Palermo has opened an inquiry against an Extended Care Unit. Simultaneously, the Covid-19 pandemic may change patients’ attitudes towards healthcare professionals, who are risking their lives daily. So the Italian medico-legal community is debating these questions, with one last pending question remaining: is the number of medico-legal claims likely to increase or trend down?

Brown, Teneille R, ‘When the Wrong People Are Immune’ (2020) 7(1) Journal of Law and the Biosciences Article lsaa018 < https://academic.oup.com/jlb/article/7/1/lsaa018/5834617 >
Abstract: After a disaster such as the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an irresistible desire to blame others. Despite documented failures in the federal government’s response to the pandemic, injured individuals will not be able to hold it accountable due to the broad application of governmental immunity. Congress and state governments have provided targeted immunity to various device manufacturers and emergency volunteers. However, the one group with huge targets on their backs are individual physicians, who are often making impossible choices that are reasonable at the time, but might not appear reasonable to a jury after the fact, and with the bias of hindsight. Recognizing that the potential for liability might cause undue psychological stress on health care providers, this essay argues for statutory immunity that protects them from rationing and other health care decisions that are made in good faith, and that are in compliance with documented state, institutional, or professional pandemic-response guidelines.

Cioffi, Andrea and Raffaella Rinaldi, ‘Covid-19 and Medical Liability: A Delicate Balance’ (2020) 88(4) Medico-Legal Journal 187–188
Abstract: During the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries around the world are considering whether and how to provide liability protection to front-line healthcare staff. The guiding principle of liability protection for physicians and others is to ensure that, in a serious emergency situation, health professionals can devote themselves exclusively to their work and to patient care, without the fear of future claims for unforeseeable, but above all unavoidable, injury, loss and damage caused by their conduct. Great care is needed to balance the interests and rights of all those involved. Liability protection could have risky consequences with the final result that doctors will not be protected, but institutions such as health facilities will be even if they were in fact responsible for foreseeable and avoidable damage.

‘COVID-19 and Damages for Negligent Advice’ [2020] Lawyer (Online Edition) 1
Abstract: The article informs on damages that companies and investors are entitled to who face losses face due to negligent advice in the advent of Covid-19 pandemic. It mentions that COVID-19 pandemic has caused historic losses across financial markets and business, exacerbated by the oil price war between OPEC and Russia. It also mentions about addressing claims related to disadvantageous transactions in the situation.

Doménech-Pascual, Gabriel, ‘State Liability for the Management of the COVID-19 Crisis’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: This paper analyses whether and under which conditions the State ought to compensate for the losses caused when managing the COVID-19 crisis. It focuses, firstly, on instances where public authorities have accidentally caused the damage at issue either through actions or omissions. Secondly, it considers cases of State liability for lawful conduct, where public authorities deliberately have inflicted some damage on a person or a group of people for the sake of the public interest. The paper takes Spanish law as a reference, which does not prevent our analysis from being extended to other legal systems based on similar principles.

Duignan, Kieran and Chloe Bradbury, ‘COVID-19 and Medical Negligence Litigation: Immunity for Healthcare Professionals?’ (2020) 88(1) Medico-Legal Journal 31–34
Abstract: This article considers the recent calls to provide doctors with immunity from medical negligence claims arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. It provides a critical analysis as to the conditions that would need to be considered for such a policy as well as exploring the wider ramifications.

Fairgrieve, Duncan et al, ‘Products in a Pandemic: Liability for Medical Products and the Fight against COVID-19’ (2020) 11(3) European Journal of Risk Regulation 565–603
Abstract: A multitude of medical products are being developed and produced as part of efforts to tackle COVID-19. They are varied in nature and range from test kits to tracing apps, protective equipment, ventilators, medicines and, of course, vaccines. The design, testing and manufacture of many of these products differs from production in normal times due to the urgency of the situation and the rapid increase in demand created by the pandemic. This article considers the legal issues arising as a result of the production of emergency products, particularly from a products liability perspective. To what extent do existing concepts under the European Product Liability Directive, such as defect, causation and the various defences, permit the pandemic to be taken into account when a Court is considering issues of liability? What is the impact on liability of the modified regulatory regime? In light of that discussion, the case for alternative responses is examined from a comparative and European perspective, including the issue of Government indemnities for the manufacturers of products, legal exemptions from liability and alternative no-fault compensation schemes.

Finch, John, ‘Care Homes, COVID-19 and Legal Liability’ (2020) 22(9) Nursing and Residential Care 1–3
Abstract: The UK response to the pandemic has been characterised by a focus on the NHS, to the detriment of the adult social care sector. Official guidance has often been muddled and opaque, and legal action regarding duty of care and equipment provision may be on the horizion. John Finch explains

Fortin, Marie-France, ‘Liability of the Crown in Times of Pandemic’ in Colleen M Flood et al (eds), Vulnerable: The Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID-19 (University of Ottawa Press, 2020) 223
Abstract: While both federal and provincial governments are accountable before the courts for violations of individuals’ rights and freedoms constitutionally protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, their civil liability in tort for damages is a different matter. This chapter addresses the issue of the suitability of these actions in light of the immunity from suit that the federal and provincial governments (‘the Crown’) enjoy. In the first section of this chapter, the state of the law and recent developments in relation to the Crown’s liability in Canada are discussed. The meaning and consequences of the Supreme Court of Canada’s most recent decisions in relation to the Crown’s liability in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic—including for the acts of its departments, servants, agents, corporations, and independent contractors—are discussed in the second section.

Freckelton, Ian, ‘COVID-19, Negligence and Occupational Health and Safety: Ethical and Legal Issues for Hospitals and Health Centres’ (2020) 27(3) Journal of Law and Medicine 590–600
Abstract: The international incidence of health workers being infected with COVID-19 is deeply troubling. Until a vaccine is developed, they are the community’s bulwark against the pandemic. It is vital that they be protected to the maximum extent possible. This entails the need for implementation of effective and compassionate protocols to keep their workplace as safe as possible for them, their colleagues and their patients in a context of much as yet not being known about the virus and awareness that some persons infected by it are for a time at least asymptomatic and that others test negative for it when they are prodromal or even already displaying some symptomatology. This has repercussions both for the liability of hospitals and multi-practitioner centres for negligence and also under occupational health and safety legislation. With the commencement of the roll out of biosecurity and disaster/emergency measures by government and escalating levels of anxiety in the general population, it is important to reflect upon the measures that most effectively can be adopted practically and ethically to protect the health and safety of those whose task it is to care for us if we become infected by COVID-19.

Friedman, Raphael, ‘Primary Jurisdiction Doctrine and Tort-Agency Partnerships: Why the COVID-19 Pandemic Is No Time for Referral to Administrative Agencies’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3765004, Social Science Research Network, 18 October 2020)
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed well over 200,000 American lives and has resulted in over 8 million reported cases nationwide. This frightening health crisis has also raised many complex legal questions. One such issue concerns the standard of care employers must adhere to with regard to the safety of their employees at the workplace during the pandemic. Relatedly, the scope of employer liability in tort to employees must be determined. Finally, COVID-19 presents a most regrettable opportunity to study the relationship between tort law and agency regulations and enforcement. This paper briefly analyzes these difficult issues, employing a recent case dismissed in federal court in deference to administrative agencies, as a case study.

González, Sonia Ramos, ‘State Liability for Personal Injuries Caused by the COVID-19 Disease under Spanish Law’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The fundamental question about causation that arises in relation to COVID-19 infections is whether the appearance of the virus (together with its high transmission capacity among the population and its lethality) amounts in effect to force majeure that breaks the causal relationship between the personal damages caused by COVID-19 and the Government’s action in managing the health crisis. This paper also addresses the issue whether, in a situation of extreme urgency, and given limited healthcare resources, a lower standard of care is expected of public health professionals than the one that would prevail under normal conditions. In addition, public administrations are likely to face claims based on tort law on the grounds that some patients were not properly attended to by medical services due to the limited health resources available, as well as the fact that some health professionals were bound to provide essential services, without being provided with the mandatory protective equipment to carry out such activity safely in accordance with the legislation.

Grey, Betsy, ‘Against Immunizing Nursing Homes’ [2021] The University of Chicago Law Review Online (advance article, published 8 July 2021)
Abstract: Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities account for approximately one third of the over 500,000 Covid-19 deaths in the United States. Facing liability from that widespread harm, the facilities have sought immunity protection from tort liability. In particular, they have sought protection under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which is designed to extend immunity from liability claims arising from various Covid-19 countermeasures developed and used during the pandemic. Importantly for this essay, the lawsuits filed against nursing homes have centered on their failure to take mitigation measures, rather than on harm from their affirmative use of mitigation measures. Initially, courts held that PREP Act immunity does not apply to these failure-to-act claims. In the waning days of the Trump Administration, however, HHS issued an opinion that (together with other HHS statements) interprets the statute otherwise, broadening immunity even to cover the failure to take mitigation measures. That interpretation has been followed by at least one federal district court. This essay questions the wisdom of HHS’s opinion. It argues that it misreads the words and purpose of the PREP Act’s immunity provisions, and undermines accountability of the nursing home industry, creates the wrong incentives for the industry, and may leave victims without any compensatory remedy. This issue should reach appellate courts soon. If the interpretation continues to be followed by the courts, then the Biden Administration should rescind the opinion so that tort law may continue to protect one of society’s most vulnerable populations.

Grey, Betsy and Samantha Orwoll, ‘Tort Immunity in the Pandemic’ (2020) 96(Supplement) Indiana Law Journal 66–88
Abstract: A fundamental premise of our common law tort system is that the risk of liability will help deter unsafe behavior. Yet, as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, proposals abound to shield businesses from tort liability. Politicians have even conditioned fiscal-stimulus for our ailing economy on passage of tort liability shields. This essay examines the pros and cons of such shields, and concludes that their questionable benefits do not justify loss of the deterrent value of tort liability. Although businesses would surely prefer to avoid lawsuits, those that act reasonably--even without tort immunity--face little risk of damage judgments and would be hard prey for plaintiff personal-injury lawyers. To be found negligent, businesses would need to flaunt such basic precautions as social distancing, gloves, masks and disinfecting measures. Presumably, we should not encourage such behavior by removing the tort system’s incentives to operate safely. And even if a business arguably could have done more to keep their customers and employees safe, plaintiffs would still have the tall burden of establishing causation--that they caught the disease because of the defendant’s neglect as opposed to other sources. Beyond all that, businesses already enjoy the protection of workers’ compensation laws, and strong defenses like regulatory compliance. On the other side of the equation, creating immunity shields may signal to employees and customers that they return to work or patronize business at their own peril--creating an anxiety that undermines the trust and confidence we want to instill to restart of our economy. Finally, other systems, such as insurance and government compensation funds, can be used to encourage businesses to reopen and stay open.

Heled, Yaniv, Ana Santos Rutschman and Liza Vertinsky, ‘The Need for the Tort Law Privileges of Self-Defense and Necessity in Intellectual Property Law’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3642833, 3 July 2020)
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare inherent tensions between the protection of intellectual property (IP) and the health of individuals touched by life-threatening medical conditions. Examples from around the world have made front page news: hospitals desperate for ventilator parts while 3D-printing instructions for such parts remain unshared for fear of liability; potentially lifesaving medicines whose manufacture and distribution on sufficient scale is limited by the threat of patent infringement; proprietary clinical data essential for making life-or-death decisions withheld from doctors and patients; the list continues. The threat of liability for IP infringement also dampens the ability to innovate under conditions of emergency, further contrasting the protection of IP with the protection of human lives. A number of policy responses for the current pandemic have been advanced, including the application of government rights under the Defense Production Act to IP contexts, compulsory licensing, legislation that would allow for emergency overrides to IP protections, and efforts to encourage companies to make their IP freely available voluntarily through the Open COVID Pledge. But fears of disrupting IP protections have curtailed the use of these measures, leaving the tensions between protection and life-saving access largely unaddressed. In this Article we argue that the time is ripe for doctors, hospitals, independent compounders, medical products manufacturers, engineers and, ultimately, litigants and the courts to consider self-defense and necessity as an old-new tool for resolving IP disputes. Doing so would not only be ethically sound but would also help to resolve many of the public health critiques that have been plaguing IP law by attenuating ingrained misalignments between IP frameworks and the furtherance of public health goals. The Article demonstrates the need for the self-defense and necessity doctrines in IP law; explains how such claims may allow defendants to avoid liability in circumstances in which infringement is necessary to prevent adverse public health outcomes; and shows why the adoption of these doctrines is needed to increase preparedness ahead of future—indeed expected—outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Hemel, Daniel and Daniel B Rodriguez, ‘A Public Health Framework for COVID-19 Business Liability’ (2020) 7(1) Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Article lsaa074
Abstract: This article considers the ex ante and ex post effects of coronavirus exposure liability, drawing lessons from other tort law contexts while also accounting for unique features of the COVID-19 challenge. We begin by surveying the existing legal landscape with respect to tort liability for businesses whose operations expose customers and workers to the risk of contracting COVID-19. We then present a framework for evaluating the public health consequences of various liability rules. Our analysis leads us to propose concrete changes to tort law designed to align business incentives with public health imperatives. We also suggest modifications to workers’ compensation systems aimed at encouraging postexposure precautions on the part of employers and employees.

Hodges, Christopher, ‘COVID-19 Vaccines: Injury Compensation Issues’ (University of Oxford, Legal Research Paper Series, 9 July 2020)
Abstract: This analysis summarises the particular injury compensation arrangements that are needed to support adequate take-up of vaccines for COVID-19 and the compensation of those who are unlucky enough to suffer harm arising out of their use. It indicates the inadequacies of the standard liability rules and arrangements, and the advantages of compensation schemes. It notes the widespread use of vaccine compensation schemes but also differences in their design and evolution, before summarising the state of the art on the design of such a scheme for Europeans and on how it may be funded.

Khanderia, Saloni, ‘Identifying the Applicable Law in Cross-Border Disputes on Injuries Caused by the Covid-19 in India: A Critical Analysis’ (2021) Commonwealth Law Bulletin (advance article, published 9 March 2021)
Abstract: The outbreak of COVID-19 (also known as the novel coronavirus disease) has led to the initiation of several disputes. While some of these relate to the non-performance of contracts, others concern the damages arising from the injuries caused by coming into contact with the virus. Considering the nature of the pandemic, a plethora of disputes arising from tortious liability for the injuries caused are likely to involve a foreign element—when it results in injuries in some form to persons by the violation of quarantine rules by foreigners or the failure to impose a lockdown to curb the outbreak. For instance, in the United States [US], a group of individuals and business owners have reportedly initiated proceedings against the Chinese government for failing to prevent the disease from spreading. Likewise, tourists from several countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom have initiated mass litigation against the Austrian Federal State of Tyrol and tourist businesses such as sports resorts, bars and restaurants for continuing the to operate in the State despite being designated as a high-risk zone. International disputes such as these chiefly involve the identification of the law that will govern the claim to decide the rights and liabilities of the parties. Unlike in the case of contractual claims, the determination of the applicable law is more arduous in the case of torts for the reason that the parties rarely, if ever, know each other and do not expect any particular person to injure them by the harmful behaviour. That said, several countries across the globe have made remarkable progress over the years in developing a framework to identify the governing law to adjudicate cross-border disputes on torts. The European Union [EU], the UK, China, Russia, Australia and Canada are some examples. In contrast, India continues to adhere to the century-old mechanism developed under the English common law which has mostly been replaced in the UK itself. In the absence of any black-letter law on the subject, the development of the method to identify the applicable law in matters of tort has depended on the courts. The Indian courts, however, lack experience in handling international disputes on tort. As a result, there is no conclusive and coherent mechanism to identify the governing law in such matters in India. The paper demonstrates how the rules to determine the applicable law in the present form in India will severely debilitate access to justice and increase transactional costs in obtaining legal information. In particular, it highlights the plethora of problems that are likely to arise in adjudicating disputes concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. In this respect, the author provides some suggestions that the lawmakers may consider while reformulating the mechanism to identify the applicable law in matters of tort and, in particular, while adjudicating disputes relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McGee, Robert W, ‘Does Closing a University Because of the Corona Virus Constitute Negligence or a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3590805, 1 May 2020)
Abstract: This paper reviews the current Corona virus situation, then examines the legal definitions of negligence and fiduciary duty in an attempt to determine whether closing a university because of health concerns over the Corona virus might result in legal liability for the university’s board members and relevant university administrators.

Meyers, Peter H, ‘The Trump Administration’s Flawed Decision on Coronavirus Vaccine Injury Compensation: Recommendations for Changes’ (2020) 7(1) Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Article lsaa082
Extract from Introduction: Part II of this Article discusses the importance of preparing for the likelihood that COVID-19 vaccines will, like other vaccines, have adverse effects on some small percentage of the population. Part III describes the limitations and problems with the flawed Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program. Part IV describes the better but still problematic Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Part V describes the highly successful September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Part VI contains the proposed provisions for the new compensation fund that should be created to handle injury claims that may be filed in connection with the coronavirus vaccines currently being developed, based on the best features of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Othman, Arez Mohammed Sediq, ‘Tort Liability Resulted from Negligence in Infectious Diseases under the Iraqi Legal System: Coronavirus (COVID-19) as an Example’ (2021) 5(1) The Scientific Journal of Cihan University– Sulaimaniya 114–133
Abstract: Despite the fact that the issue of Coronavirus pandemic is quite new to Iraq and the emergency response of public authorities might be inefficient in many ways, the application of legal rules is vital to prevent further spread of the virus and to provide a legal basis for compensation based on a tort liability of the infected patient toward others. States are undergone difficult circumstances and crises but priority will remain for the rule of law and public well-being should always be prevailed. Given the fact that public authorities are in a state of shock and trial procedures against the infected patient who transmit the disease to other might be challenging or even inadmissible at this stage, the paper argues that in response to the widespread suffering and death that Coronavirus has caused to many, the court should allow the victim to held the person who transmitted the disease responsible with tort liability and be able to seek fair compensation. Further, it would also argue that awareness raising is not the only solution to prevent the spread of the virus, infected patients shall be held responsible as a way to enhance precaution mechanisms. The paper will focus on tort liability of the infected negligent person in case he or she transmit the virus to others and caused physical or moral injuries under the Iraqi legal system.

Perry, Ronen, ‘Who Should Be Liable for the COVID-19 Pandemic?’ (2021) 58(2) Harvard Journal on Legislation 253–312
Abstract: The Article systematically and critically evaluates the potential liability of various ‘suspects’ for the physical, emotional, and economic losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic: the country-of-origin (the People’s Republic of China), international organizations (particularly the World Health Organization), federal, state, and local governments and officers, businesses, and healthcare providers. It concludes that existing legal frameworks fail to provide an appropriate solution for victims, primarily because each of the potential defendants can easily evade liability. The Article then proposes a new hybrid (international-domestic) regime, inspired by the international framework for the compensation of victims of nuclear incidents and by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Peters, Philip Jr, ‘On the Cusp of the Next Medical Malpractice Insurance Crisis’ (University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No 2021–07, 9 May 2021)
Abstract: Medical malpractice claims are dwindling. Total payouts are far lower than during the 2002 crisis. Yet, insurance industry profits have been sinking for a decade and are nearly in the red. After a dozen years with a ‘soft’ insurance market, we are now on the cusp of yet another malpractice insurance crisis. How can profits be in peril if claims have dwindled and payouts are historically low? Answering that question requires an understanding of the insurance cycle. The cycle periodically transforms gradual increases in costs and gradual decreases in revenue into explosive increases in premiums. The industry’s financial statistics today eerily resemble those leading into the 2002 crisis. However, some important differences also exist. Perhaps most importantly, the coronavirus pandemic introduces a variable that makes the current transition from a soft market to a hard one unique. In addition, industry representatives have recognized the signs of a hardening market earlier in the transition than they have in the past and that may enable them to engineer a less painful transition from a soft market to a hard one. The stakes are high. After each of the three prior crises, physicians, hospitals, and insurers descended on state capitals and lawmakers responded with waves of restrictive tort reform. This Article explains how we have come to sit on the cusp of a fourth medical malpractice crisis and examines the factors that will determine how soft our landing will be.

Rizzi, Marco, ‘Health Professionals’ Standard of Care and Breach of Duty in Western Australia: A Requiem for the “Peer Professional” Test at a Time of Uncertainty’ (2020) 26(2) _Torts Law Journal_
Abstract: In late September 2019, the Court of Appeal of Western Australia, comprising Quinlan CJ, Murphy and Pritchard JJA, handed down a significant judgment that sheds a measure of light over some intricate aspects of medical liability in WA. The Civil Liability Act 2002 (WA) (‘CLA’) is unique in its provision of a special standard of care for health professionals under s 5PB. Other civil liability statutes include special provisions for the liability of ‘professionals’ in general, and these provisions normally take the form of the so-called ‘peer professional opinion’ defence. The decision in Child and Adolescent Health Service v Mabior (‘Child’) gave the WA Court of Appeal the opportunity to clarify the nature of s 5PB as a special standard of care (as opposed to a defence). The Court also made some important points regarding the method of identification of relevant experts for the purpose of establishing complex scientific facts, which is a different exercise from the identification of the health professional’s peers for the purpose of establishing standard of care and breach of duty. While this decision systematises a rather oddly worded portion of the CLA, it arguably does so at the expense of its intended scope of application. Indeed, the restrictive approach adopted by the court may well have deprived s 5PB of any practical relevance. This is not an insignificant development. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic is putting healthcare systems under increasing amounts of pressure, and patients are bound to be cared for in accordance to practices that, by the very nature of the rapidly evolving current circumstances, cannot be well-established.

Ruda, Albert, ‘Tort Law and the Coronavirus: Liability for Harm Caused by the COVID-19 Outbreak’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: Although much attention has been paid to the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the existing contracts and businesses, the current crisis also poses plenty of questions from a tort law perspective. Even though the Coronavirus as such may be deemed an instance of force majeure or impossibility for which no one should be held liable, it comes without saying that such a defence does not exclude liability of those persons who actually cause damage to others, in particular as regards public authorities which adopt measures to fight the crisis as such, or any person who infects another in a negligent manner, among other examples. The paper explores some of the scenarios in which tort liability may arise as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent measures. In particular, it focuses ‘Principles for the Covid-19 Crisis’, drafted by the European Law Institute, and compares them with the approach adopted in several national jurisdictions within the EU, and especially Spanish law.

Terry, Nicolas P, ‘Liability and Liability Shields’ in Scott Burris et al (eds), Assessing Legal Responses to COVID-19 (Public Health Law Watch, 2020) 199–204
Abstract: This Chapter first examines the liability of businesses and medical professionals for acts and omissions involving COVID-19 mitigation, treatment, and reopening. Second, it provides an analysis of the federal and state liability shields, those that were in existence before COVID-19, those introduced more recently, and calls for more and broader shields. Claims will be brought by consumers (predominantly nursing home residents) alleging that businesses failed to protect them, patients treated at the height of the pandemic when emergency departments were overrun, and consumers who contract the virus during reopening. There are few federal liability shields applying to private actors, the most important being the PREP Act of 2005. A substantial number of states have adopted some type of liability waiver specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic, initially providing immunity protections for health care providers and more recently protecting businesses as they reopen. Many of the health care providers shields present difficult questions of interpretation, particularly with regard to whether they are limited to emergency triage decisions, mitigation, or treatment efforts in contrast to broader acts or omissions that may have contributed to the infection outbreak, such as poor hygiene control. There is no evidence that a broad federal shield is necessary. State policymakers also should resist calls for broader shields and should provide transparent, data-driven guidance on reopening which can inform the existing and appropriate reasonable care standard. Court should carefully scrutinize the constitutionality of shields and not show the same deference as given to prior tort reform legislation.

Watts, Kim and Tina Popa, ‘Injecting Fairness into COVID-19 Vaccine Injury Compensation: No-Fault Solutions’ (2021) 12(1) Journal of European Tort Law 1–39
Abstract: The devastating impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic has fast-tracked the development of vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with global vaccination efforts already underway. While the introduction of large-scale or even mandatory vaccination will facilitate resumed social interaction, work and travel, such action is not without risks. Vaccination exposes recipients to the risk of rare but serious effects, leading to pertinent questions about liability and compensation for harm caused by vaccination. There have already been rare blood clotting reactions associated with two COVID-19 vaccines, some of which have been fatal. Traditional means of accessing compensation, such as liability-based litigation, product liability regimes and existing statutory schemes may be inadequate avenues of accessing compensation for individuals who sustain vaccine-related harm. Despite a significant number of countries worldwide introducing vaccine injury compensation schemes, many European countries and Australia have been hesitant to develop a no-fault scheme to respond to potential vaccine-related injuries. This article critically analyses whether existing compensation mechanisms, including liability-based tort claims, operating in common law and civil jurisdictions, are adequate avenues of accessing compensation by injured individuals. Australia and Europe are compared because of the close similarities in their existing liability-exemption approach to vaccine injury compensation, rather than no-fault. This stands in stark contrast to the use of no-fault schemes in other major jurisdictions, and the COVAX vaccine injury compensation scheme available in 92 low- and medium-income countries. The authors conclude that the introduction of a no-fault vaccine injury compensation scheme is a desirable mechanism to compensate vaccine-related injuries, by offering a more efficient and easily accessible method of accessing compensation when compared with liability-based causes of action. With the commencement of vaccination, urgent introduction of no-fault vaccination injury compensation schemes ought to be at the forefront of lawmakers’ reform agenda.

Yang, Y Tony and Brian K Chen, ‘Liability Waivers for COVID-19: Law, Policy, and Practice’ (2021) Journal of Public Health Management and Practice (advance article, published online 30 June 2021)
Abstract: As businesses reopen, the practice of asking customers to sign COVID-19 liability waivers is increasing throughout the United States. Although the courts have not yet decided the enforceability of COVID-19–related liability waivers, existing case law, as well as new executive and legislative actions, suggests that such waivers may offer some protection to businesses from liability. Nevertheless, we believe that the legal and ethical rationales underlying liability waivers are not applicable to a pandemic. We further argue that the challenging nature of and the substantial unknowns about the novel coronavirus make waivers contrary to public policy. Fears over floods of litigation appear thus far unfounded, and businesses should not be relieved from their obligation of taking reasonable safety precautions. Waivers are not a panacea to reopen businesses in an ongoing pandemic, and the ultimate protection against liability is to operate in a manner that minimizes the spread of the virus consistent with evidence-based guidelines.

Zoll, Fryderyk et al, ‘The Right to Damages Caused by COVID-19-Related Restrictions under Polish Law’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: The COVID-19 crisis has marked nearly all spheres of our lives. To combat the spread of the virus, the Republic of Poland decided to impose severe restrictions as to the rights and freedoms of citizens and entities without applying the formal extraordinary measures as provided by the Constitution. Businesses have been significantly affected, but it is highly disputable whether they will be compensated by the state. Two compensation regimes are potentially applicable: the one provided for in the Polish Civil Code and the other regulated in the Extraordinary Measures Compensation Law. In both cases, the conditions for the compensation are ambiguous. Therefore, the aim of the paper is to determine the main factual and regulatory issues which might inhibit compensation of COVID-19-related damages.

This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding AustLII Communities? Send feedback
This website is using cookies. More info. That's Fine