Legal Questions concerning the Corona Virus in Austria: Moratorium on Legal Deadlines until April 30, 2020

In addition to the interruption and suspension of time limits, the current state of emergency – official measures to contain the pandemic – requires, among other things, restrictions in communication between parties at the courts and with public authorities. Court proceedings are also to be suspended to maintain social distancing measures.

The COVID-19 Justice Accompanying Act has been in force since 22 March 2020, as the legal framework for emergency measures in the area of proceedings before the civil courts.

As a consequence of the emergency measures, the day-to-day business of many law firms has been considerably restricted. This is primarily because all procedural deadlines (statutory and judicial deadlines in civil cases), for which the triggering event would have occurred within the period after this Federal Act came into force, as well as procedural deadlines that had not yet expired by 22 March 2020, will be postponed until 30 April 2020. Accordingly, they shall begin to run anew on 1 May 2020.

This legal regulation does not cover performance deadlines (e.g. the payment deadline specified in a ruling).  Furthermore, no postponements have been enacted for proceedings in which lawful arrest or detention has to be decided.

In certain cases, if the individual interest outweighs the general interest in containing the virus (averting a danger to life and limb, security and freedom or averting substantial and irreparable damage), the court may declare that a time limit has not been interrupted by setting a new, reasonable time limit. Such decisions are not subject to appeal.

With regard to limitation periods and deadlines for bringing an action before the court, a suspension of time applies from 22 March 2020 to 30 April 2020, which means that during this period (reason for a stay) the time limit comes to a standstill and, once this reason for a stay has ceased to apply, continues to run, extended by the period of the reason for a stay. This affects, for example, trespassing complaints, complaints challenging termination or dismissal, as well as the period of time for appeals to the court in tenancy law cases after the decision of the conciliation body has been made.

During the period of general measures to prevent the dissemination of COVID-19, oral hearings, hearings, recording of oral submissions and the execution of enforcement orders only take place in the exceptional cases mentioned above (danger to life and limb, security, freedom, etc.) in order to maintain social distancing measures. In the case of urgent hearings of one of the parties or oral hearings which cannot be postponed, suitable technical means of communication (in particular video conferencing) are intended to provide social distancing safe means of conducting such hearings.

If, on the basis of COVID-19, the activities of a court are completely suspended and if one of the above-mentioned exceptions applies, the suspension of court activities is to be announced by the Federal Ministry of Justice on its website ( If an exception actually exists and if a court is therefore required to convene, the Higher Regional Court or, in the event of the discontinuation of its activities, the Supreme Court shall declare another court to be competent upon application by a party.

If the current exceptional situation persists, the Federal Ministry of Justice is authorized to extend the interruption or suspension of time limits provided for in the Act until 30 April 2020 by decree and, if necessary, to determine further exceptions.

Finally, two special regulations in the area of insolvency or execution proceedings are worth noting:

If insolvency occurs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the period for filing an insolvency petition is extended to 120 days from the occurrence of insolvency (instead of the 60 days provided for by law).

Provided that the pandemic is the reason that the obligated party in execution proceedings has gotten into an economic situation that threatens its existence and this has led to the initiation of the execution, the postponement of the execution can be requested.


Our series of articles on legal questions concerning corona virus are meant to provide general information to pressing legal concerns and should in no way be construed as legal advice for a particular case. For legal advice tailored to the concerns of you or your business, please contact us at: . We’re here to help.

See all our Corona-Virus Articles here:

  1. Miete (Deutsch)
  2. Rent (English)
  3. Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen zwischen Österreich und der Russischen Föderation (Deutsch)
  4. Double Taxation Treaty between Austria and the Russian Federation – (English)
  5. Fristenmoratorium (Deutsch)
  6. Moratorium on Legal Deadlines (English)
  7. Erleichterungen für Mieter von Wohnungen (Deutsch)
  8. Temporary Relief Measures of Tenants (English)