Even such unusual circumstances as a pandemic do not overthrow the general principle that contracts should be performed (pacta sunt servanda). But this does not mean that the current situation has no impact on the substance or performance of contractual obligations.
In the tough times of battling the coronavirus, many tenants are seeking ways to reduce their rent, release themselves from the obligation to pay rent, or avoid other obligations under their existing leases. What opportunities does the law offer them?
An issue concerning businesses at present is the problem of settlements between them resulting from non-culpable inability to perform contracts. This is an area that may require the Parliament’s intervention if current regulations prove insufficient.
Numerous sectors of the economy have been paralysed. The problem is not just closings or restricted access to a range of services, but also absence of staff due to illness, quarantine or childcare. Consequently, businesses cannot operate normally or perform their obligations on time. A lack of supplies by one company often carries over to an inability of its customers to fill their own orders. This bogs down the whole economy. We await systemic solutions allowing Polish businesses to survive. But before they arrive, it’s a good time to examine the regulations currently in force.
The simplest answer is “it depends”—primarily on the specific clauses included in the contract and the governing law. This issue is worth considering under Polish law, because economic globalisation means that factory closings in China could also disrupt supply chains in Poland.
New regulations on payment gridlock entered into force on 1 January 2020, via an amendment to the Act Combatting Excessive Delays in Commercial Transactions of 8 March 2013, the Civil Procedure Code, and the Unfair Competition Act. How will the new rules affect compliance in companies?