Comments for Business Petersburg, concerning the possibility of companies' liability for non-performance of contracts, which occurred due to introduction of
sanctions and anti-sanctions, to be excluded.
Olga Khodakevich, Lawyer for LexKledere Consulting believes that imposition of sanctions has rendered prominent effect on execution of the contracts which had been made by the time of such imposition, and which are, either directly or indirectly, related to supply of the goods subject to sanctions. As a matter-of-course, with execution becoming impossible, the question of consequences arises: is it possible to avoid liability in view of force majeure? Even if imposition of economic sanctions is not explicitly stated in the contract as force majeure, they can be evaluated as such in accordance with the law: in this case, it all depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
According to the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, circumstances are recognized as force majeure if they are extraordinary and unavoidable under specific conditions. Judicial practice and legal science outline the following features of force majeure:
- Acts of God,
- inability to foresee the circumstances,
- inability to control the circumstances’ occurrence.
Similar criteria have also been established in the international law (such as the UN Convention "On the Law on International Sale of Goods" 1980).
The above signs must be considered in each situation in light of the actual circumstances appertaining to conclusion of the contract. One of the most important points that need to be taken into account at the time of signing the contract is whether the parties knew or could have known, at the time of signing the contract, about possible imposition of sanctions? Of great probative value in this context may be publications in various media, published draft laws - because, based on reasonable and conscientious approach, parties of business turnover must stipulate possible impact of the economic sanctions, even in case where the decision to impose sanctions is still pending, but the information involving relevant discussions has already been covered by the media.