COVID-19 – Force majeure and frustration of contracts

07 May 2020 | 11:00am to 12:30pm

The ‘COVID-19’ was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11th March 2020. Since then, the Central and State Governments have taken various measures to contain the spread of the virus in India. The Central Government has passed orders under the Disaster Management Act declaring a ‘lockdown’ throughout India from 25th March 2020 to 17th May 2020, with certain exemptions and relaxations from time to time.

This unprecedented situation initially led to a freeze on virtually all commercial activities and continues to cause hindrances in the performance of contractual obligations. In the present scenario, one of the predominant questions faced by businesses is whether this pandemic and consequential lockdown would be treated as a “Force Majeure” event and / or would amount to a “Frustration of Contract”. The piece meal exemptions and relaxations from time to time have added to the confusion as each relaxation or exemption would have some impact on the duration of the force majeure.

This session will set out,

  • the legal principles governing Force Majeure and Frustration of Contracts,
  • the nature of events that have been held to amount to Force Majeure Events,
  • instances where contracts have been held to be frustrated,
  • relief that a party may claim in such a situation, and
  • the steps that a party must take at this stage to protect its interest.


Mr. Punit Tyagi,
Executive Partner, L&S