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News: The Judicial System in France – Covid-19 Outbreak

08 April 2020

In view of the current Covid-19 outbreak all statutes of limitation in France are suspended.

On 25 March 2020 the Government issued an Ordinance n° 2020-306 “on the extension of time limits during the period of the National Health Emergency Plan and on the adjustment of legal procedures during that period”. Under article 2 of that ordinance, any time bar which is otherwise due to expire between 12 March 2020 and up to one month after the end to the current National Health Emergency Plan (the “Legally Protected Period” – LPP ) is suspended.  The National Health Emergency Plan is currently expected to expire on 24 May 2020. Thus, the LPP will normally expire a month later on 24 June 2020.

Further, an action will be deemed to have been initiated in time if a writ of summons is served within two months after the end of the LPP, i.e. latest 24 August 2020.

 It remains that Ordinance n° 2020-306 could be subject in the future to judicial review. Furthermore, Ordinance n° 2020-306 does not apply to contractual time bars. This means that the new rule does not apply when a specific time bar was agreed between the parties in the clauses of a contract. However, when a time bar is provided by law, any claim (based upon a contract claim or a tort claim) is affected Ordinance n° 2020-306.  

We would like to thank Mr Patrick Simon and Mr Sebastien Lootgieter of SCP Villeneau Rohart Simon & Associé, Paris for their kind input and advice.