The spread of the corona virus and the large number of government measures worldwide to contain it are currently increasingly leading to entrepreneurs being unable to meet their deadlines vis-à-vis their contractual partners. This can have various causes:
- An upstream supplier does not deliver. For this reason, the supplier himself cannot deliver or complete a plant.
- Employees of the supplier are absent and therefore no delivery is made.
- The supplier's company must be closed down due to an official order.
More topical than ever is therefore the question of what applies if a supplier cannot deliver at the contractually agreed time.
According to general civil law, the contractual partner of the defaulting entrepreneur has the right to choose between either demanding fulfilment of the contract or declaring withdrawal from the contract by setting a reasonable deadline. The contractual partner's claims for fulfilment of the contract or withdrawal from the contract exist regardless of whether the supplier is at fault for the delay in delivery.
The UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods shall apply to international supply contracts, provided that this is not excluded by contract, which is often done. The UN sales law also provides that the contractual partner may withdraw from the contract with the supplier after setting a grace period.
In order to avoid withdrawal, we therefore recommend: Contact your contractual partner and agree on an extension of the period of performance until you can fulfil the contract after conditions have normalised. The date of performance can but does not have to be fixed in terms of dates. It is equally possible for the contracting parties to agree on a specific period after the official restrictions in connection with the corona virus have been lifted.
Compensation for delay:
If the supplier is at fault for the delay in delivery, the contracting party is also entitled to compensation for late performance or non-performance.
Compensation for damages will regularly be ruled out if the entrepreneur is unable to fulfil the contract due to government measures, which the entrepreneur naturally cannot influence.