The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Coronavirus (COVID-19): In addition to the below content on force majeure generally, see also:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit—Contracts
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and contractual obligations—checklist
together with the Q&A (in the related content pod on the right hand side) for specific guidance on the issues to consider if your contract is impacted by coronavirus.
This Practice Note may also be considered alongside Practice Notes:
Force majeure clause analysis—a practical guide
Force majeure—key and illustrative decisions
The key features of force majeure are:
a 'force majeure clause' is a contractual term providing for one (or both) parties to be excused from performance on the happening of a specified event outside the parties' control
the meaning and effect of a force majeure clause depends on its wording
a force majeure clause may be capable of challenge under unfair contract terms legislation, eg, under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (UCTA 1977) and, for consumer contracts, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015)
Force majeure clauses are often seen in contracts for those industries which are more typically vulnerable to catastrophic occurrences, such as:
the energy industry—see Practice Note: Force Majeure in oil and gas contracts
the construction industry—see Practice Note: Force majeure in construction contracts
In English law, the expression 'force majeure' does not refer to a legal doctrine. Instead, the expression 'force majeure clause' is
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