The Aliens Have Landed!
OK, I know the aliens haven’t really landed, but if you were brave enough to walk around Oxford Circus or Leicester Square this weekend, I bet it felt like they had!
And clearly some people think that alien invasion is possible. Some years ago, I completed a summer placement and was asked to do a basic contract review. The contract had all the normal things, but my attention was drawn to the force majeure clause in this contract. It stated that a force majeure event included the planet being taken over by aliens. At the time I laughed out loud at the idea of aliens transcending on to earth but I would probably have reacted the same way if the clause had provided for what happened if the whole of the UK (and soon perhaps most of the world) was in lock down!
So what should a good force majeure clause contain, and more importantly, what do you do about the clause that’s already in your contracts? Covid-19 has left a lot of businesses worried about what the future holds and whether certain business will even survive this pandemic so these clauses could be your life blood or your death knell depending on which side of the table you are on.
For those of you are not too sure what force majeure means, it is a clause that allows a party to suspend or terminate the performance of its obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance inadvisable, commercially impracticable, illegal, or impossible.
Force majeure clauses should always be drafted with a great deal of care. Whilst you may have this in your contract, it does not mean that it shall automatically apply in the current circumstances. The wording of the clause, the intention of the parties at the time the clause was drafted and many other factors will need to be considered before applying the force majeure clause in the current climate.
If you need a helping hand in these difficult times with the review of your contracts, in particular, the force majeure clause, then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free impartial conversation or Skype call.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Because even ET needed some help.