Litigation

/Litigation
2020-05-06T15:08:15+01:00

Measures have been taken at the national level to organize the functioning of the courts and litigation in relation to the Covid-19:

Closure of all courts except for absolute emergency litigation, as of March 16, 2020

Extension sine die of deliberations scheduled to take place from 17 March 2020

Order No. 2020-304 of 25 March 2020 adapting the rules applicable to courts of law ruling in non-criminal matters

Suspension of the time limits mentioned in Articles L. 311-1 to L. 322-14 and R. 311-1 to R. 322-72 of the Code of Civil Enforcement Procedures between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of a period of one month from the date of cessation of the state of health emergency.

Order No. 2020-306 of 25 March 2020 relating to the extension of the time limits that expired during the period of health emergency and the adaptation of procedures during this same period:

  • general provisions applicable to time limits and measures which have expired or which expire between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of a period of one month from the date of cessation of the state of public health emergency and to measures restricting liberty and other measures limiting a constitutionally guaranteed right or freedom, provided that they do not entail an extension beyond 30 June 2020 (*) :

– any act, appeal, legal action, formality, registration, declaration, notification or publication prescribed by law or regulation on pain of nullity, sanction, lapse, foreclosure, prescription, unenforceability, inadmissibility, lapse of time, automatic withdrawal, application of a special regime, nullity or forfeiture of any right and which should have been accomplished during the period between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of one month from the date of cessation of the state of public health emergency shall be deemed to have been done in time if it has been done within a period which may not exceed, as from the end of that period, the period legally prescribed for taking action, up to a maximum of two months. The same shall apply to any payment prescribed by law or regulation for the acquisition or retention of a right. These provisions shall not apply to declarations used for the assessment, assessment basis, liquidation and recovery of taxes, duties and charges.

– the following administrative or jurisdictional measures whose term expires between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of a period of one month from the date of cessation of the state of public health emergency shall be automatically extended until the expiry of a period of two months following the end of that period :

1° Precautionary, investigation, inquiry, conciliation or mediation measures;

2° Prohibition or suspension measures that have not been pronounced as a sanction;

3° Authorizations, permits and approvals;

4° Measures of assistance, accompaniment or support for persons in social difficulty;

5° Measures of assistance in the management of the family budget.

However, the judge or competent authority may modify these measures, or terminate them, when they were pronounced before 12 March 2020.

– penalties, penalty clauses, resolutory clauses and clauses providing for forfeiture, where they are intended to sanction the failure to fulfil an obligation within a given period, are deemed not to have taken effect or to have taken effect, if this period has expired between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of a period of one month from the date of cessation of the state of health emergency. Such periodic penalty payments shall take effect and these clauses shall produce their effects from the expiry of a period of one month after the end of that period if the debtor has not performed his obligation before that time.

The course of periodic penalty payments and the application of penalty clauses that took effect before 12 March 2020 shall be suspended between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of a period of one month from the date of cessation of the state of health emergency.

– where an agreement can be terminated only during a specified period or is renewed in the absence of denunciation within a specified period, that period or period shall be extended if it expires between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of a period of one month from the date of cessation of the state of public health emergency, or two months after the end of that period.

  • Special provisions on time limits and procedures in administrative matters: applies to State administrations, regional and local authorities, their public administrative establishments and public and private law bodies and persons entrusted with a public administrative service mission, including social security bodies:

– subject to the obligations arising from an international commitment or European Union law, the periods at the end of which a decision, agreement or opinion of one of the entities concerned may or must be reached or is implicitly acquired and which have not expired before 12 March 2020 shall, on that date, be suspended until the end of the period between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of a period of one month from the date of cessation of the state of health emergency.

The starting point for similar periods which should have started between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of one month from the date of cessation of the state of public health emergency shall be postponed until the end of the state of public health emergency.

The same rules shall apply to the time limits for the same bodies or persons to verify the completeness of a dossier or to request additional documents in the context of the examination of an application, as well as to the time limits for public consultation or participation.

– where they have not expired before 12 March 2020, the time limits imposed by the administration, in accordance with the law and regulations, on any person to carry out checks and work or to comply with requirements of any kind shall, on that date, be suspended until the end of the period between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of a period of one month from the date of cessation of the state of public health emergency, except where they result from a court decision.

The starting point of the periods of the same nature which should have started between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of one month from the date of cessation of the state of public health emergency shall be postponed until the end of the state of public health emergency.

– the time limits shall be suspended from March 12, 2020 until the end of the period between March 12, 2020 and the expiry of one month from the date of cessation of the state of public health emergency and shall run only from the latter date, in the case of time limits which would have begun to run during the abovementioned period:

1° Granted to the administration to make good total or partial omissions in the tax base, inadequacies, inaccuracies or errors in taxation and to apply interest on late payment and penalties pursuant to Articles L. 168 to L. 189 of the tax procedures book or Article 354 of the Customs Code when the statute of limitations has expired on 31 December 2020

2° Granted to the administration or to any person or entity and provided for by the provisions of Title II of the tax procedures book, with the exception of the limitation periods provided for by Articles L. 168 to L. 189 of the same book, by the provisions of Article L. 198 A of the same book with regard to the on-the-spot investigation of claims for reimbursement of value added tax credits and by the provisions of Articles 67 D and 345 bis of the Customs Code

3° Provided for in Article 32 of the aforementioned Law of 10 August 2018

– with regard to claims whose recovery is the responsibility of public accountants, the periods in progress on 12 March 2020 or starting to run during the period between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of a period of one month from the date of cessation of the state of health emergency provided for under penalty of nullity, lapse, foreclosure, prescription, unenforceability or forfeiture of a right or action are suspended until the end of a period of two months following the end of the period mentioned.

Order n°2020-427 of 15 April 2020: modifies the rules set out in Ordinance n° 2020-306 of 25 March 2020 (“Time Limits Ordinance”):

  • Definition of the “legally protected period”: the ordinance clearly states that the “legally protected period” concerns the periods between 12 March and midnight on 23 June 2020.

Attention: this period is only fixed on an interim basis. Thus, as the end of the confinement should be organised as from 11 May 2020, the end of the “legally protected period” may be adapted to accompany, more quickly than initially planned, the resumption of economic activity and the return to the rules of ordinary law for calculating deadlines.

  • No postponement for the periods of withdrawal, renunciation and reflection: Article 2 of Order n°2020-427 specifies that the principle of automatic extension is not applicable to the periods of reflection and withdrawal, and this retroactively. This means that these periods will end under the usual conditions even if they expire during the legally protected period
  • Details on the extension of administrative and judicial measures: Article 3 of the Order sets out the list of administrative and judicial measures automatically extended until 24 August 2020 and specifies that during this period, the judge or competent authority may modify the measures, terminate them or, where justified by the interests for which it is responsible, prescribe their application or order new ones, subject only to taking into account the difficulties resulting from the health crisis
  • Details on the fate of periodic penalty payments, termination and forfeiture clauses:

– for clauses and penalty payments that penalize the non-performance of an obligation due during the period of the health emergency: there is no longer a one-month lump-sum deferral until June 24, 2020 as provided for in Ordinance 2020-306 – henceforth, the date on which these periodic penalty payments take effect and these clauses produce their effects is postponed by a period, calculated from June 24, 2020, equal to the time elapsed between, on the one hand, March 12, 2020 or, if later, the date on which the obligation arose and, on the other hand, the date on which it should have been performed.

– for the clauses and penalty payments that sanction the non-performance of an obligation (other than a sum of money) falling due after 24 June 2020: the price and effects of these clauses are postponed for a period equal to the time elapsed between, on the one hand, 12 March or the date of birth of the obligation if later, and, on the other hand, the end of the legally protected period (24 June 2020, to date).

This arrangement is applicable, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, to contracts entered into before and to those entered into or renewed after the entry into force of the Ordinance, as well as to subsequent endorsements. The parties are therefore free to contractually adjust the time limits for performance and the consequences of possible non-performance.

Decree n°2020-471 of 24 April 2020 derogating from the principle of suspension of deadlines during the period of health emergency linked to the covid-19 epidemic in the field of work and employment

This decree includes in annex the categories of acts, procedures and obligations in the field of work and employment whose deadlines, suspended on March 12, 2020, resume their course as of the entry into force of the decree.

 

 

* The provisions are not applicable:

1° To time limits and measures resulting from the application of rules of criminal law and procedure, or concerning elections governed by the electoral code and consultations to which this code is made applicable

2° To time limits for the enactment and implementation of measures involving deprivation of liberty

3° Time limits for registration procedures in an educational institution or for access to the civil service

4° the financial obligations and related guarantees mentioned in Articles L. 211-36 et seq. of the Monetary and Financial Code

5° To the deadlines and measures that have been the subject of other specific adaptations by the Emergency Act of 23 March 2020 to deal with the covid-19 epidemic or in application thereof