The Covid-19 virus has created a health crisis that is having serious impacts on businesses, which are facing everything from brutal decline to a complete shutdown of their activities, as well as on public services that are having to adapt to the crisis situation. The public service of justice has been restricted to dealing with urgent matters, pursuant to continuation plans implemented in each of the Courts. In this deteriorated environment, the French Parliament passed the Emergency Law No. 2020-290 to address the Covid-19 epidemic on 23 March 2020 that, notably, declares a state of health emergency as of 24 March 2020 for a period of two months (i.e. until 24 May 2020). Among the measures taken to enforce this legislation, Order No. 2020-306 of 25 March 2020 relates more specifically to the extension of deadlines expiring during the health emergency.
The title of this Order does not accurately reflect the real bearing of its provisions, which will significantly impact the rights of both litigants and parties to ongoing contracts.
The provisions of this Order have two key purposes:
(1) to extend certain deadlines provided by law or regulation, including statutes of limitations and debarment periods, and (2) to create a moratorium on certain contractual mechanisms applicable in case of defaults