Force majeure is a concept used in the perspective of mechanisms for adjusting various contracts and transactions. At the moment, force majeure can explain the violation of agreements not only in legal but also in personal, civil terms. Being a rather controversial term, force majeure reflects the emergence of insurmountable obstacles entailing non-compliance with prior agreements. It is important to understand that such circumstances are always understood as things beyond the control of a person, both from the anticipation of the occurrence of an unfavorable situation and the possibility of preventing it (natural and technological disasters, diseases, emergencies).
Any circumstances that fit the description of this category relieve the parties from mutual responsibility in the framework of the concluded obligations. A legally important aspect is the documentation of the waiver agreement with a detailed list of force majeure situations.
What it is
Legal force majeure is the most designated form of this concept, which has certain specifics. So it assumes pre-concluded contracts with the prescribed possible circumstances, when one of the participants is exempt from the imposed liability. In this case, a number of amendments may be made about the time frame for the parties to notify each other about the events of uncontrolled force majeure. This category includes changes caused by human activity or changes in legislation. Options for reforming the tax system, war, mass strikes or terrorist attacks.
The concept of force majeure is absent in the civil code and is replaced by more vague synonymous concepts, which complicates not only the understanding of the obligations between the parties, but also the ways to resolve disputes. An insurmountable force, often defined as natural disasters, catastrophes, disasters, is a synonym for the meaning of the word force majeure, but not only.
The difference in civil and legal understanding of the concept of a force majeure situation basically comes down to the level of specifics of the situations designated, the prescribed time limits for warning the other party, and to a lesser extent affects the content side of what is happening. Any circumstances of this spectrum (this applies to both areas) should provide for a rather large intensity of influence and suddenness, as well as non-controllability of the offensive. If it is possible to predict or foresee the onset of such crisis moments, then they are not formally related to force majeure, but are recorded in the section of unforeseen costs or additional risks.
In everyday use, this term is often used to justify tardiness or unfulfilled promises with personal problems. Philistines attribute force majeure to an off alarm clock, a broken heel, a broken drainpipe, illness, and the absence of gasoline in the tank. On the one hand, a part of these events does not depend on a person and partly violates his usual pace of life, but if we imply a legislative definition, then a sudden violation of the usual existence of many people united territorially or by sphere of activity is necessary in order to recognize the destructive force of circumstances.
Each mature person should cope with personal troubles on their own, without violating the agreements or, foreseeing possible problems in advance, take care to prevent them (order a taxi in the evening so as not to be late in the morning, prepare clothes in advance so as not to burn them before going out).
Thus, the colloquial use of the term force majeure has little in its semantic content with real events considered at the legislative level. Knowing the features of its activities and approximate risks, each of the parties to a business agreement in order to protect itself separately prescribes items relating to force majeure. This is the main defense in case of an unforeseen situation. It is impossible to make a universal list of such conditions, since for each specific activity has its own characteristics. It is obligatory to introduce universal points about natural disasters and bright social changes, everything else is prescribed separately.
Examples of force majeure
Natural force majeure are the events of irresistible and extremely destructive natural force. This may include earthquakes, natural disasters, tornadoes, floods or droughts, hurricanes, icing and other natural disasters that disturb the usual and peaceful course of life of the population. It is important to distinguish, even in natural disasters, the possibility of forecasting and obstruction.
Can a fire be a force majeure event or not? If large areas of the forest catch fire, this happens suddenly and in order to eliminate the situation there are no opportunities - this is force majeure. If the fire occurs through the fault of a person who smoked in a prohibited place, in case of violation of safety engineering or in the absence of the necessary equipment (sand, fire extinguisher, etc.) in the appropriate places, then this fact is equated with negligence and violation of regulations.
On a par with natural are man-made disasters that occur as a result of accidents at large factories or stations. In addition to the number of victims directly at the scene, they imply serious consequences for the environment and the state of the environment. This category is the most difficult in terms of provability of human guilt or still having force majeure circumstances, since any plants, stations, reactors are designed and operated by people, respectively, they are often attributed to breakdowns as an accident when in reality there is a negligence to safety precautions or insufficient qualification of employees.
The social type of force majeure includes wars, strikes, revolutions, changes in legislation regarding the social order and other acts of a social movement that change the structure of society or the usual laws of its functioning. This is the second most important category after natural changes, as it affects the maximum number of people on the principle of being in one territory without additional distinctions. These processes are capable of stopping or seriously slowing down the work of many enterprises and fields of activity (for example, due to a change in the law, the cargo may not go through customs or, due to a strike and blocking the movement, small storage life will become unusable).
Financial aspects may reflect jumps in exchange rates, price changes, sharp changes on the world and state financial exchanges and funds. This category will be significant for those whose activities are directly related to the economy and, to a lesser extent, will affect the majority of citizens as force majeure by agreement. In this area, any sudden changes can cause problems with the payment of bills and the transfer of funds as such. Debts or impossibility of timely repayment of loans may appear, many structures are declared bankrupt precisely because of financial force majeure circumstances.
It is impossible to list all cases of force majeure in various fields, so as to really cover all aspects. Somewhere it will be an epidemic of disease, and somewhere a wagon broken down along the way - the scale and consequences are in completely different categories, but both of these examples can be considered as events that could not be influenced.