• Commercial Law

    Commercial Law

    We are business people as much as we are lawyers. We will take care of the legal documents so you can confidently run your business.
    As your business grows, its risk profile and governance challenges will change. We partner with our clients over the long term to ensure they are in the driver’s seat for success.

  • Dispute Resolution

    Dispute Resolution

    We are in your corner when the going gets tough. Having resolved over 6,500 disputes for business owners have seen it all before.

    Whether you need a skilled negotiator or a fearless litigator, we specialise in delivering commercial results when:

    Customers refuse to pay;
    Suppliers let you down; and
    Business Partners do the wrong thing.

  • Employment & Safety

    Employment & Safety

    The biggest challenge for any business owner, is managing their employees.

    A difficult employee can make you question why you got into business in the first place and be toxic to your team morale.

    We deliver proactive solutions to manage your team via employment contracts, policies and procedures as well as handling employment disputes when they arise.

  • Property & Construction

    Property & Construction

    Property is the key most wealth in Australia.  Whether you are buying, selling, leasing or developing property, you need a lawyer you can count on.

    We can advise on the whole property development process from obtaining finance to development approvals, construction and sale or leasing.

    We also act for the Master Builders Victoria and have extensive expertise in construction contracts and disputes.

  • Family Law

    Family Law

    At Taurus Legal Management we understand the unique challenges clients encounter during family disputes, especially when children are involved. Our family lawyers specialise in handling high-asset cases with a focus on protecting clients wealth, securing their family’s future, and safeguarding the best interests of their children.


COVID-19 & Contracts – Can I Delay Delivery or Terminate?

If your business has been impacted by COVID-19, you will probably need to delay or cancel the delivery of your products or services.  Similarly, if your customers or suppliers have been impacted, they may need to change or cancel orders.

These challenges will require changes to existing contracts.  The best way to make those changes is through negotiation and agreement.  However, if you can’t reach agreement on how the contract should be changed, you may be stuck with the existing contractual terms.  Thankfully, most contracts have terms which might give you the flexibility to deal with the challenges of COVID-19.  You may be able to set aside the contract completely or delay the timetable for delivery under “force majeure” clauses or the doctrine of “frustration”.

What is Force Majeure?

Where there is an event outside the control of the parties, a force majeure clause allows one or more parties to not honour the contract.  Common force majeure events include “natural disasters”,  “acts of God”, “government action strikes”, “national emergencies” and “acts of war”.

The big question is – does COVID-19 fit within these definitions?  The answer will depend on the exact wording of your force majeure clause and how your business has been impacted by COVID-19.  If you have been forced to shut your doors by the government bans, you will probably fit within the “government action” event and be entitled not to comply with the contract.

Keep in mind that generally performance of the contract must be impossible, not merely inconvenient or more costly than before COVID-19.    You should also be conscious of whether the contract and the circumstances justify the delay, suspension or termination of the contract.  You may be entitled to delay but not to terminate the contract altogether as the government restrictions are now easing.

What is Frustration?

Frustration occurs where the parties are no longer able to perform the contract.  For example, if the subject matter of the contract has been destroyed or is now unlawful.  Generally COVID-19 is unlikely to cause the frustration of a contract because most of the impacts of COVID-19 will pass in time.  However, a contract may be frustrated if, for example, it related to a particular music festival that was now prohibited due to the rules against public gatherings.

If you are able to show the contract is frustrated, the contract will be permanently terminated – not just delayed or suspended.

Action to take now

If you have been impacted by COVID-19, or your customers or suppliers have been impacted, you should consider your current contracts.  You may need to renegotiate your contracts or give notice that you are relying on the force majeure clause or the concept of frustration.

If you need assistance with impacts to your business, please contact a member of Taurus Legal Management on (03) 9481 2000 or at info@tauruslawyers.com.au.


Posted by Taurus Legal Management