Force majeure

Force majeure is a term used in agreements and, literally translated from the french, means "superior forces".

The term force majeure is derived from French law and as it has no recognised meaning in English law it must always be defined in agreements. The principle of a force majeure clause means that if unexpected circumstances which are out of the party's control occur, then no party to that agreement should be held to perform its obligations.

It is important that the force majeure events are defined clearly in the agreement if it is to be used. They can be described as acts of nature (acts of god), or events such as wars  or strikes which are beyond the reasonable control of the party concerned .

The effect of the force majeure clause does not normally excuse the party from performing its obligations it merely suspends it for the duration of the force majeure event.





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