When the containment linked to Covid-19 caused wedding parties to be canceled

En 2020, many wedding parties, scheduled for a long time, could not take place, because of the confinement, ordered in order to contain the Covid-19 epidemic. Some customers agreed to postpone them, but others preferred to cancel them, given the uncertainties hanging over the future.

Those who did not recover their deposit went to court, most often invoking the “force majeure”, provided for in article 1218 of the civil code. Alas, on November 25, 2020, (19-21.060), during a dispute between a spa resort and a curist, the Court of Cassation refused to modify its case law on the matter: the client – ​​unlike the professional – does not have the right to invoke force majeure to obtain the termination of a contract.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Can a customer use “force majeure” to get a refund?

Mr. X was clearly aware of this unfair treatment when he took legal action in connection with the dispute between him and A & P Receptions, the origin of which was as follows: in December 2019, he concludes with her a contract for the reservation of a room, in order to celebrate the marriage of his son, in the presence of six hundred guests, on October 3, 2020. He pays a deposit of 2,375 euros, or half of the amount due.

Sitting posture and gauge

On September 27, 2020, the prefecture of his department imposes, in addition to the « sitting posture », a maximum capacity of thirty people, for this type of event. He prefers to cancel the party. He asks for the cancellation of the contract and the restitution of the deposit, but he does not obtain them. He then took legal action, arguing that it was the A & P company that was faced with force majeure: the prefectural decree prohibited him from providing a room for more than thirty people, and therefore from carrying out his contractual obligation, which he is entitled to rely on.

The Tours court nevertheless dismissed it on September 29, 2021: it judged that the company A & P was able, as it asserts, to provide it with the room provided, and that it only had to organize the reception “within the limit of thirty guests”… He condemns him to pay the balance.

Mr. X appeals in cassation. His lawyer, Mr.e Nicolas Guérin, maintains that the court should have sought to know what the A & P contract contained: the provision of a room, without further details, or the provision of a room for six hundred people? In the second case, the company was clearly unable, due to force majeure, to perform its part of the contract.

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