In order to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, Act no. 2020-290 of 23 March 2020 declared a "state of public health emergency" and was implemented by Decree No. 2020-293 of 23 March 2020, which banned in principle the gathering and movement of individuals, save for a limited number of listed exceptions.
This ban has had an impact on all human activities that are naturally carried out through the movement and mobility of people and goods, especially in the transport field. Therefore, in order to preserve the legal space-time continuum, the legislator has followed up the transportation ban with a suspension of time limits. After freezing space, Parliament has stopped time. This is the purpose of Ordinance No. 2020-306 of 25 March 2020, which has put in place an extension of legal time limits.
- Applicability of the extension
Article 1 of the Ordinance specifies the material and temporal scope of the time-limit extension.
(i) Material scope: the extension is very broadly applicable to all "time limits and measures" of a legal or regulatory nature, except for matters that are specifically excluded, such as criminal law and criminal procedure.
Article 2 of the Ordinance specifies the "protected acts" which benefit from legal deferral through an open list established according to three criteria related to the act, its source and its sanction: any act, appeal, legal action, formality, registration, declaration, notification or publication prescribed by law or a regulation and entailing nullity, sanction, lapse, preclusive time limit, time bar, unenforceability, inadmissibility, striking out for want of prosecution, automatic withdrawal, application of a special regime, voidness or forfeiture of any right.
(ii) Temporal scope: the mechanism is applicable to time limits and measures that expired or expire during the "protected period" which began on 12 March 2020 and will expire one month after the end date of the state of health emergency.