COVID-19 has created numerous difficulties, not least for parties to contracts associated with events, festivals and other public gatherings that now need to be rearranged or cancelled following government prohibitions on the same.
In this vein the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Qatar (MOCI) has released a circular concerning concerts, festivals, events and other public gatherings that instructs contracting parties to seek mutual agreements to mitigate the impact of the bans.
The circular seeks to provide stability in commercial transactions, by allowing contractual parties to come to a commercial arrangement in their best interests, whilst seeking to avoid a consequential boom in disputes and claims for damages that may follow on from the preventive and precautionary measures implemented by the State of Qatar to contain COVID-19.
Alongside issuing the circular, MOCI released a statement stating that:
"Given that COVID-19 is considered a global pandemic and a force majeure that cannot be avoided or anticipated, which makes it difficult for some suppliers to fulfil their obligations towards consumers at the present time, and in line with this circular, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry calls on service providers to ratify new contracts that outline other dates to fulfil their obligations or to seek consensual agreements that take into account the interests of both parties with regard to the down-payments and financial instalments made to suppliers in return for assuming their obligations as agreed with consumers".
The current situation is unprecedented, and it is likely that all contracting parties, whether a supplier, contractor or member of the public, will be interested in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 rather than compounding it through litigation (which the courts are also unlikely to look favourably upon where it is resorted to in the first instance). Addleshaw Goddard has a wide range of contractual experts who can help to review your contracts and suggest potential ways forward.
For further information or assistance please contact Ahmad Anani or Alistair Stewart.