The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, which may yet be some way off its peak, has already caused significant loss of life and suffering in many countries around the globe. Its impact, like the impact of the measures taken to try to contain it or mitigate its effects, continues to grow at both a macroeconomic and an individual business level.
As governments and central banks intervene across the globe to address the impact of the virus on communities, commerce, and the financial markets, many businesses are facing new and difficult challenges in relation to many aspects of their operations. Whilst some sectors, such as travel and tourism, leisure and hospitality, shipping, logistics, and retailers are particularly badly affected, almost every significant business in Europe and beyond will have important issues to grapple within the coming days, weeks, and months.
This CEELM Covid-19 Comparative Legal Guide: Contracts sets out to summarise, at a high level, certain key issues that will face any business with operations in the CEE region and is intended to serve as an overview of issues to consider and possible challenges and mitigants in each jurisdiction covered. There is a particular focus on contractual issues, including circumstances where performance of a contract may be excused (or may not be excused) by force majeure provisions or legal doctrines such as frustration or impossibility. Even for lawyers who deal with commercial contracts for a living (whether inhouse or as external advisers), such areas of the law may be unfamiliar or largely forgotten, yet may now be of relevance in many contexts and may be of particular interest to executives and other decision-makers within companies. We hope this guide is a useful starting point to identifying some of the key issues and considerations as business seeks to find a path through the present uncertain and rapidly changing situation.