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  • "Антивирусная" договорная стратегия: есть ли альтернатива ссылкам на непреодолимую силу, невозможность исполнения обязательств и существенное изменение обстоятельств?

Article

"Антивирусная" договорная стратегия: есть ли альтернатива ссылкам на непреодолимую силу, невозможность исполнения обязательств и существенное изменение обстоятельств?

Арбитражные споры. 2020. № 3(91) . С. 73-88.

This article analyzes the pros and cons of choosing a “negative” or “positive” contractual strategy in a crisis environment.

The authors draw attention to the difficulty of making an appropriate decision and the need to take into account many factors. In particular, on the basis of the provisions of legislation and judicial practice, it is concluded that in order to apply to the court with any requirement (terminate the contract, seek of penalties, establish the impossibility to perform obligation or a substantial change in circumstances), evidence of pre-trial settlement, manifestations of cooperation and good faith will be required. Otherwise, there is a high probability of either a refusal to consider the claim or a refusal to satisfy the claim on the merits.

In addition, a refusal to discuss concessions can be used to justify in court a counterparty’s dishonesty and abuse of the situation, a court decision may  be not enforceable, and the debtor may go into bankruptcy. Force majeure is not a panacea and only in exceptional cases relieves from liability for non-fulfillment of an obligation, but not from fulfillment of an obligation itself. In any case, it is necessary to collect in advance the evidence base of the extraordinary and unavoidable impact on specific obligations of restrictive quarantine measures and evidence that the parties have taken all possible actions to reduce losses.

Therefore, according to the authors, in some casesa maintaining the old relationship on the changed terms is more profitable than looking for a new counterparty, since the conclusion of a new contract during the crisis and after it means taking on higher risks of its unfulfillability.