Can Coronavirus be classed as a Force Majeure Event?

The novel outbreak of coronavirus has been widely reported to have a huge impact on businesses where they may not be able to satisfy their contractual obligations and may face legal action as a consequence.

But whether the virus can be classed as a Force Majeure event is one which is strictly interpreted by the English Courts. A force majeure refers to a clause in contracts where liability can be prevented for natural and unavoidable disasters which restrict parties from fulfilling their obligations.

Can you rely on a Force Majeure clause if you fail to fulfill your contractual obligations?

This is a question which will be at the forefront of many businesses. To begin with parties to a contract will only be able to consider force majeure if there is an express clause in their contract. Note that a force majeure clause cannot be implied into English law contract. Albeit even if there is an express force majeure clause in a contract, this does not mean that the clause can be relied on to protect against claims for non – performance as a result of corona virus. Due to the strict approach of the courts, it will be necessary to carefully analyse the clause.

Therefore if you are someone who has been affected by this or are worried you will be unable to satisfy your contractual obligations, feel free to give us a call to schedule a 30-minute free consultation on 01234 350 244.