Use this url to cite ETD: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12259/131065
Ar karantino paskelbimas dėl COVID-19 gali būti laikoma force majeure aplinkybe?
Type of publication
Ar karantino paskelbimas dėl COVID-19 gali būti laikoma force majeure aplinkybe?
Can the quarantine announcement regarding COVID-19 be treated as force majeure condition?
11 June 2021
Teisė / Law (M)
Šiame darbe analizuojama problema, ar karantino paskelbimas dėl COVID-19 gali būti laikoma force majeure aplinkybe. Dėl staigaus COVID-19 protrūkio, kuris greitai išplito po visą pasaulį, šalys ėmėsi griežčiausių prevencijos priemonių viruso plitimui stabdyti, beveik visose šalyse buvo įvestas karantinas. Viena iš karantino paskelbimo problemų yra ta, kad sutarties šalys negali tinkamai arba visiškai įvykdyti sutartinių prievolių. Dėl to šiame tyrime keltas tikslas, atsižvelgus į force majeure sampratą, išanalizavus COVID-19 sukeltas pasekmes bei atlikus mokslinių ir teismų praktikos šaltinių analizę, nustatyti, ar karantino paskelbimas dėl COVID-19 gali būti laikoma force majeure aplinkybe. Teismų praktika rodo, kad, norint įvestą karantiną, taikyti force majeure, turi būti nustatyta, ar atsiradusi kliūtis yra laikino pobūdžio, ar nuolatinė, taip pat aktualus esminis momentas – sutarties šalis turi įrodyti, kad įvykis yra nenumatomas. Šiame darbe buvo taikyti aprašomasis, lingvistinis teisės aiškinamasis, analizės, loginis, istorinis ir lyginamasis metodai. Darbe iškelta hipotezė, kad, įrodžius priežastinį ryšį tarp COVID-19 paskelbto karantino ir negalėjimo įvykdyti sutartinės prievolės, tai gali būti pripažįstama force majeure aplinkybe, pasitvirtino. Iš gautų rezultatų matyti, kad, atsižvelgus į teismų praktikos sprendimus bei įvairių šalių įstatymus, nustatyta, kad bus taikytina force majeure sąlyga, jeigu dėl susidariusių karantino aplinkybių sutarties objektyviai negalima įvykdyti ir COVID-19 yra tiesiogiai susijęs su negalėjimu vykdyti sutartį. Tai turi būti vienintelė priežastis, dėl kurios šalis nesugeba atlikti sutartinių įsipareigojimų. Nes jeigu bus nustatyta, kad šalį paveikė karantinas dėl COVID-19 ir keleto kitų priežasčių, tada nebus galima taikyti force majeure. Turi būti įrodyta, kad šalis, neįvykdžiusi sutarties, pandemijos aplinkybių negalėjo kontroliuoti ar negalėjo užkirsti joms kelio. Taip pat svarbi aplinkybė, kad šalis nebuvo prisiėmusi pandemijos aplinkybių ar jų padarinių atsiradimo rizikos, karantino aplinkybių nebuvo sudarant sutartį, o jų atsiradimo nebuvo galima protingai numatyti.
The global COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2019, posed many challenges in all areas of society, as well as in legal relations. In order to contain the viral spread, many countries have introduced quarantine. As a result of the introduction of quarantine, national borders were closed, certain sectors were disrupted and there were even businesses that had to close down during the quarantine. The main problem of this thesis is to find out what challenges, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have to be faced by institutions in fulfilling their contractual obligations and what may happen when they are unable to fulfil their contractual obligations properly. Due to the identified consequences of COVID-19, institutions are no longer able to fulfil their contractual obligations properly, which raises a problematic question as to whether the announcement of quarantine due to COVID-19 can be considered a case of force majeure? The research aims to determine whether the announcement of quarantine due to COVID-19 can be considered a case of force majeure. Having performed the analysis of scientific sources and case-law and in order to achieve the aim, force majeure cases in the international context (of different countries) were justified, the consequences caused by COVID-19 were identified and the solutions for COVID-19-related issues were discussed. The research has raised a hypothesis stating that the proof of the existence of a causal link between the announced quarantine due to COVID-19 and inability to perform contractual obligations, may suppose a case of force majeure. The following methods were used for the research: descriptive, linguistic method of legal interpretation, analytical, logical, historical, and comparative. Using these methods, the analysis of the research object has been carried out. In Chapter 1 by analysing the evolution of the force majeure institute and the cases of its application in the international context (of different countries), it was identified that the following four elements must comprise a case of force majeure: unpredictability, irresistibility, externality, and lack of risk-bearing. Chapter 2 discusses other doctrines justifying the non-performance of a contract, examines whether the doctrines can be applied during the quarantine announced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and compares it with force majeure. After analysing the scientific literature, it was found that it would not be beneficial for the contracting parties to apply the Frustration doctrine if, for example, at the time of the formation of the contract, quarantine was introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic because the fact of which was likely known to the parties. Considering the Impossibility doctrine, which is an integral part of force majeure (though it is a separate legal fact), it is emphasised that due to the quarantine announced during the pandemic and considering the proof of the parties of impossibility to execute the contract due to the cardinally changed circumstances, the Impossibility doctrine would likely be applied. Chapter 3 discusses the international regulation of force majeure, reveals how the Hardship doctrine can be regulated if, due to the introduction of quarantine, the terms for the parties to the contract change, but it is still possible to perform the contract. The thesis discusses what is more beneficial to the parties: apply the Hardship doctrine or take advantage of force majeure circumstances. This part of the thesis discusses the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (herein referred to as Convention), where the consequences are similar to the ones of force majeure doctrine. The analysis carried out has shown that the mentioned Convention will provide for exemption from indemnification only in cases where the services of the supplier or carrier from a third country are used and when the suppliers or carriers from a third country fail to fulfil their obligations due to circumstances beyond their control which they could not reasonably foresee during the performance of the contract. Chapter 4 provides that if it is proved that the non-performance or a breach of a contract is directly related to the quarantine announced due to COVID-19, it might be considered as a case of force majeure. Therefore, if the affected party wants to rely on the force majeure doctrine to avoid fulfilling its obligations, it must provide proof that, due to the announced quarantine, it was prevented from fulfilling its obligations. The party must also prove that the inability to fulfil the contract did not depend on the will of the party and that all possible measures were taken to avoid the obstacle or to try to improve the situation as much as possible. Courts explain the current crisis and the announced quarantine as an unforeseen event and that the situation is beyond the control of the parties. That means that from a practical perspective, it is likely that the force majeure doctrine will be applied to postpone or temporarily halt the parties’ contractual obligations. The findings of the thesis showed that: 1. The announced quarantine due to COVID-19 affected many business sectors, a lot of institutions had to close down due to the government-imposed quarantine, and they are unable to effectively fulfil contractual obligations. After analysing the case law decisions and the laws of various countries, it was found that a case of force majeure will be applied if, due to the circumstances of the quarantine, the contract cannot be objectively performed and COVID-19 is directly linked to the inability to perform the contract. It should also be emphasized that the party must take all measures to avoid or improve the deteriorated situation caused by the government-imposed quarantine regime. That must be the only reason why the party cannot fulfil contractual obligations. Because if it is found that the party was affected by the quarantine due to COVID-19 and several other factors, then force majeure will not be applied. 2. Force majeure will be able to be applied when the contracting party proves that the quarantine announced due to the COVID-19 pandemic directly affected the performance of the contract, and due to that, there was no opportunity to objectively perform the contract. 3. The government-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19 and the encountered obstacles in contractual relations should not be controlled by the party. In such situations, the debtor influence current events; 4. A lack of risk-bearing must be proven. The contracting party must prove that it did not assume the risk of the circumstances or the occurrence of their consequences. It should also be emphasized that the duration of the contract must be determined because if the pandemic restrictions are known only after the forming of the contract, then it is likely that there will be an opportunity to rely on force majeure; 5. It was found out that, given the unique nature of each situation, the announced quarantine will not in itself constitute force majeure. This emergency will not usually relieve contractors from performing the contract. It must be determined that a force majeure event has occurred, which is the main reason why the parties are unable to fulfil their contractual obligations. After reviewing the results of this thesis, contracting parties should evaluate all possible risks before forming a contract. Thus, it is important for parties to specify in the contract, in as much detail as possible, what circumstances could be considered force majeure to avoid wasting time interpreting in the future. Therefore, it was proposed that one of the conditions of force majeure could be a government-imposed quarantine due to contagious diseases.
Lietuvių / Lithuanian (lt)