The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Commercial Contracts in France

Habiba Bhouri
University of Lyon 3- Jean Moulin – France


The world has witnessed a highly contagious virus which resulted in a significant halt in the productive activity and therefore in the commercial operations of the company. The consequences are obviously diverse, but it is appropriate to question the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on commercial and employment contracts in France.
Since the spread of the virus, France has put in place legal tools concerning companies to deal with the effects of unforeseen future events and unforeseen changes in circumstances, particularly in long-term contracts.
Given its global dimensions, and its powerful effects on international contracts, the COVID-19 pandemic will generate years of post-pandemic disputes focused on the use of force majeure. The paper examines the conditions under which the pandemic is qualified as force majeure. On the basis of this analysis, the article shows that in this extraordinary event, the doctrine of Force Majeure allow the company which invokes it not to fulfill its obligations without being accused. Faced with this uncertainty, prudence requires the contracting partner to carefully analyze his situation in order to secure his position, which implies starting with an audit of the contractual clauses applicable in the event of force majeure.
Thus, in an attempt to contain the large-scale economic crisis as a matter of urgency, the government and the European Commission have already implemented a series of support measures in the form of several regulations for preventive purposes intended to curb the spread diseases and limit their economic and social impact.
This paper aims to analyze the legal and financial measures taken by the government to guarantee maximum stability. These measures mainly concern the status of companies (state aid, bank loan) and employees (telecommuting) who are the first victims of this pandemic.

Keywords: covid-19, Undertaking, force majeure, State measures, Telecommuting.

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