These are known as force majeure clauses
, provisions in the contract that allow a party to suspend or terminate their obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance inadvisable, illegal or impossible.
Whilst most of local construction contracts are (International Federation of Consulting Engineers) FIDIC-based, many have extensive amendments to force majeure clauses
District Court in New Hampshire sided with the developer, holding that the appeals process constituted a "governmental restriction" that was "beyond the reasonable control" of the parties and, as such, was an excusable delay under the force majeure clause
in the lease.
While reviewing the utility's supplier contracts concerning emergency right-of-way clearance--that is, the trimming of fallen trees--one of my colleagues discovered that the company's own force majeure clause
excused the energy company's contractors from having to perform "during times of inclement weather.
This is particularly the case at the Supreme Court of Canada where, as described below, the Court has not interpreted a force majeure clause
in nearly 40 years.
The promisor may protect itself by including a force majeure clause
in the contract, giving it the right to withdraw on the occurrence of specific types of events.
In general, contracts must be performed: if not, a party is in breach and must pay damages even if not responsible for the problem - hence the need for a suitable force majeure clause
, and it is important to realise that it is exactly what is in that clause that counts, not some vague idea of what is "force majeure".
A force majeure clause
allows contracts to be wavered if circumstances beyond the control of the parties render the contract undeliverable, but this will not protect you from an increase in production costs.
The Paisley-based co-op announced it would not be able to supply all its customers with every litre of milk they wanted, and invoked the force majeure clause
in contracts, pleading circumstances beyond its control, from August onwards.
This article discusses the protection that may or may not be afforded by the inclusion of a force majeure clause
in a supply contract and what suppliers and consumers should look for in reviewing existing supply contracts and negotiating new ones.
Any scheme of more than 1 year to include force majeure clause
Without the incorporation of the specific cause within a force majeure clause
, it is an open question as to whether a catch-all force majeure provision would cover a given situation.