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COVID-19: Pressure Points: Legal Implications (France)

20 April 2020 | Paris
Legal Briefings

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On 13 April, during his most recent speech to the French public since the start of the health crisis, Emmanuel Macron indicated that the current confinement will remain in force until 11 May. The confinement will be gradually eased, with the continued aim of slowing down the spread of the virus.

The measures of the emergency law n° 2020-290 of 23 March 2020, enacted to tackle the COVID-19 epidemic, will remain in force and Macron also announced the implementation of a support plan aimed at the areas of the economy most affected by the crisis.

This e-bulletin complements those published on 13 March and 3 April, and aims to give you an overview of the legal implications and consequences of this epidemic in various sectors.

 

How should corporate criminal risk be managed?

Criminal complaints against companies and/or public authorities have risen over recent weeks of the exceptional crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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What is the impact on administrative acts?

Order No. 2020-306 of 25 March 2020 (the "Deadlines Order") "extending time limits and adjusting procedures during the public health emergency", adopted on the basis of legislative enabling law No. 2020-290 of 23 March 2020 on containing the 
COVID-19 epidemic, provide a special protection to the period from 12 March 2020 to 24 June 2020 (the “Emergency Period”). It extended various deadlines and measures that were set to expire or be implemented during this period (1) and adjusted the deadlines and procedures for obtaining administrative acts during that time (2). 

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What is the impact on administrative contracts and public procurement?

The COVID-19 public health crisis has generated questions from companies that are bidding for, or are already party to, public contracts.

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When might COVID-19 trigger force majeure provisions under English law?

Force majeure is primarily a civil law concept. However, due to the limited remedies available to parties to common law contracts if they become unable to perform contractual obligations due to events outside of their control, it has been widely applied by common law systems. 

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What is the impact on rental payments?

Under article 11 of the Emergency Act of 23 March 2020, the French government has taken measures, namely Ordinance No. 2020-316 of 25 March 2020, to curb economic consequences caused by COVID-19. 

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Your usual contacts at Herbert Smith Freehills Paris remain at your disposal should you need any further assistance.