Patraus and Ofrim, ‘Contractual Unpredictability in the Context of Covid-19 Pandemic’

The new realities require a revitalisation of the legal system to overcome the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The current health crisis is, at the same time, a challenge not only for public authorities, but also for the scientific community and legal practitioners, concerned with finding viable solutions for the adaptation of legal institutions. For the legal system, the contract is an essential factor from a theoretical and practical point of view, an indispensable element for the sphere of private law; it is an essential piece of evidence that lawyers will support in the face of new challenges posed by the current pandemic context. In this article we have in view an objective analysis of the contractual contingency, starting from the jurisprudential consecration that was conferred under the previous regulation and until the introduction of this institution in the national legislation with the entry into force of the new Romanian Civil Code in 2011. We intend to present a brief retrospective on the theory of unpredictability and will discuss the regulation found in national law, as well as the existence of this institution in comparative law. In a dynamic social and economic context, it is essential to clarify the relationship between the binding force of contracts and the possibility of invoking unpredictability, in situations where certain changes affecting the contractual balance occur in the performance of obligations. At the same time, as a case study, we will try to answer the question whether this institution finds its applicability in the most debated issue at legal, national and international level in the current period, namely the effects on contractual relations, generated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures taken by public authorities to limit the effects of the virus on human health. In the sphere of performance of contractual relations, in progress at the time of the pandemic, a multitude of controversies have been created, regarding the possibility of invoking, as the case may be, force majeure, fortuitous event or unpredictability and in this article we will highlight to what extent the parties have these remedies at hand. Last but not least, the study will highlight the jurisprudential orientation due to the significant changes suffered in the current social and economic context amid the Covid-19 pandemic, respectively if the institution of unpredictability comes to help the contracting parties to save the contracts concluded before the pandemic which have been affected in the context of the measures and restrictions taken by each state.

Mihaela Elvira Patraus and Ionita Maria Ofrim, Contractual Unpredictability in the Context of Covid-19 Pandemic, Athens Journal of Law 2021, 7: 1-21,

First posted 2021-08-21 14:00:49

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