Contracts and the Covid-19 crisis: Force majeure and other remedies under Dutch law

Content Type Article
Language English


The Covid-19 crisis is having a major adverse effect on many existing contracts. Parties to supply, services, construction, credit, M&A or joint venture agreements may be faced with government measures, drop in demand, lack of resources, a surge in costs, or other business disruptions. These may affect performance and the contract's objectives and rationale.

This note addresses the position of contract parties in light of these circumstances under Dutch law. When may a debtor may excuse itself from performance and seek suspension, amendment or termination of the contract, and on what legal grounds. What actions can a creditor take in the face of such steps. Topics covered include:

  • Remedies in the contract itself
  • Statutory remedies
  1. Force majeure
  2. Contract amendment or termination based on ‘unforeseen circumstances’
  3. Deviation from the contract based on ‘reasonableness and fairness’  
  • Actions a creditor can take
  • Creditor default
  • Litigation risks, compromise and the importance of dialogue
  • International aspects

Click here to read the note: Contracts and Covid-19: Force majeure and other remedies under Dutch law


Contact Information
Arnold Croiset van Uchelen
Partner at Allen & Overy
+31 20 6741303
Marnix de Planque
Counsel at Allen & Overy
+31 20 674 1307


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