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Force Majeure

Force Majeure  不可抗力


Force majeure (French; pronounced: [fɔʁs maʒœʁ], approximately fors ma-zhur) or vis major (Latin) “superior force”, also known as cas fortuit (French) or casus fortuitus (Latin) “chance occurrence, unavoidable accident”,[1] is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, or an event described by the legal term act of God (such as hurricane, flooding, earthquake, volcanic eruption, etc.), prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.[2]

不可抗力 ( 法文 ; 相近义或主要可见/大事件 (拉丁文)“强大力量”,又称cas fortuit(法国)或casus fortuitus(拉丁文)“偶然发生,无法避免的事故”[1],是合同里常见的条款,基本上在发生一件不可控又非比寻常的事件或状况之下,如战争,罢工,暴动 ,犯罪,或法律条文所描述的天灾( 如飓风,洪水,地震,火山爆发等等)让有法律义务与责任的双方都能不必负责,免除一方或双方根据合同履行其义务的要求[2]。

However, force majeure is not intended to excuse negligence or other malfeasance of a party, as where non-performance is caused by the usual and natural consequences of external forces (for example, predicted rain stops an outdoor event), or where the intervening circumstances are specifically contemplated.

但是, 不可抗力不能因为外界力量(如预测下雨而停办户外活动)造成的平常与自然后果,或特别设想去制造干预的状况之下不能执行合约而免除其中一方疏忽或其他渎职的责任。


Contents 目录

  • Purpose  目的
  • Importance  重要性
  • Elements  因素
  • Sample clause  范文
  • See also  另见
  • References  参考文献
  • Note  註记
  • External links  外部链接


Purpose 目的

Time-critical and other sensitive contracts may be drafted to limit the shield of this clause where a party does not take reasonable steps (or specific precautions) to prevent or limit the effects of the outside interference, either when they become likely or when they actually occur. A force majeure may work to excuse all or part of the obligations of one or both parties. For example, a strike might prevent timely delivery of goods, but not timely payment for the portion delivered. Similarly, a widespread power outage would not be a force majeure excuse if the contract requires the provision of backup power or other contingency plans for continuity.


A force majeure may also be the overpowering force itself, which prevents the fulfillment of a contract. In that instance, it is actually the impossibility or impracticability defenses.

不可抗力 本身也可能是压倒性的力量,从而阻止合同的履行。在这种情况下,不可抗力本身其实就是不可能或不可行的辩护理由。

In the military, force majeure has a slightly different meaning. It refers to an event, either external or internal, that happens to a vessel or aircraft that allows it to enter normally restricted areas without penalty. An example would be the Hainan Island incident where a U.S. Navy aircraft landed at a Chinese military airbase after a collision with a Chinese fighter in April 2001. Under the principle of force majeure, the aircraft must be allowed to land without interference.



Importance  重要性

The importance of the force majeure clause in a contract, particularly one of any length in time, cannot be overstated as it relieves a party from an obligation under the contract (or suspends that obligation). What is permitted to be a force majeure event or circumstance can be the source of much controversy in the negotiation of a contract and a party should generally resist any attempt by the other party to include something that should, fundamentally, be at the risk of that other party. For example, in a coal-supply agreement, the mining company may seek to have “geological risk” included as a force majeure event; however, the mining company should be doing extensive exploration and analysis of its geological reserves and should not even be negotiating a coal-supply agreement if it cannot take the risk that there may be a geological limit to its coal supply from time to time. The outcome of that negotiation, of course, depends on the relative bargaining power of the parties and there will be cases where force majeure clauses can be used by a party effectively to escape liability for bad performance.


In Hackney Borough Council v. Dore (1922) 1 KB 431 it was held that “The expression means some physical or material restraint and does not include a reasonable fear or apprehension of such a restraint”.

在Hackney Borough Council诉Dore的案子里,法官认为“(对不可抗力)表述的意思是说有物理和物质上的局限,但不包括对这种局限合理的恐惧和害怕。

The expression bears more extensive meaning than “act of God” or vis major. As to delay due to breakdown of machinery, it comes within the words “force majeure”, which certainly cover accidents to machinery. The term cannot, however, be extended to cover bad weather, football matches, or a funeral. Matsoukis v. Priestman & Co (1915) 1 KB 681.

這個表述比起“天灾”或大事件有更廣泛的含義。因為機械故障而延誤,“ 不可抗力 ”這個字當然就包含了機械意外在內。但是,這個名詞的涵蓋範圍不能被扩展到包括恶劣天气,足球比赛,或葬礼。如Matsoukis對Priestman & Co (1915年)的案例。

The expression is undoubtedly a term of wider import than vis major. Judges have agreed that strikes, breakdown of machinery, which though normally not included in vis major, are included in force majeure.


In Re Dharnrajmal Gobindram v. Shamji Kalidas [All India Reporter 1961 Supreme Court (of India) 1285] it was held that “An analysis of ruling on the subject shows that reference to the expression is made where the intention is to save the defaulting party from the consequences of anything over which he had no control”.

在Re Dharnrajmal Gobindram诉Shamji Kalidas [(All India Report)全印度報導1961年最高法院(印度)1285]的案例中,法官認為“根據案件判決的分析顯示,有參考引用的表述在於要替违约方善後處理任何他无法控制之事的意圖”。

Under international law it refers to an irresistible force or unforeseen event beyond the control of a State making it materially impossible to fulfil an international obligation. Force majeure precludes an international act from being wrongful where it otherwise would have been.



Elements  因素

The understanding of force majeure in French law is similar to that of international law and vis major as defined above. For a defendant to invoke force majeure in French law, the event proposed as force majeure must pass three tests:


Externality  源自外部

The defendant must have nothing to do with the event’s happening.


Unpredictability  不可预测性

If the event could be foreseen, the defendant is obligated to have prepared for it.[3] Being unprepared for a foreseeable event leaves the defendant culpable. This standard is very strictly applied:


CE 9 April 1962, “Chais d’Armagnac”: The Conseil d’Etat adjudged that, since a flood had occurred 69 years before the one that caused the damage at issue, the latter flood was predictable.

CE 1962年4月9日,“Chais d’Armagnac行政長官”:The Counceil d’Etat行政法院裁定,由于洪水在69年前已经发生过现在这个问题的破坏,以后的洪水就可以预见。

Administrative tribunal of Grenoble, 19 June 1974, “Dame Bosvy”: An avalanche was judged to be predictable since another had occurred around 50 years before.


Irresistibility  不可抗拒

The consequences of the event must have been unpreventable.


Other events that are candidates for force majeure in French law are hurricanes and earthquakes. Force majeure is a cause of relief from responsibility that is applicable throughout French law.


On the other hand, the German understanding goes under the German translation of vis major (höhere Gewalt) but seems conceptually synonymous with the common law interpretation of force majeure, comprehending both natural disasters and events such as strikes, civil unrest, and war. However, even in the event of force majeure, liability persists in the face of default by a debtor (Schuldnerverzug, cf. BGB §287 (in German)) or deprivation of property (Sachentziehung, cf. BGB §848 (in German)).


Force Majeure in areas prone to natural disaster requires a definition of the magnitude of the event for which Force Majeure could be considered as such in a contract. As an example in a highly seismic area a technical definition of the amplitude of motion at the site could be established on the contract base for example on probability of occurrence studies. This parameter or parameters can later be monitored at the construction site (with a commonly agreed procedure). An earthquake could be a small shaking or damaging event. The occurrence of an earthquake does not imply the occurrence of damage or disruption. For small and moderate events it is reasonable to establish requirements for the contract processes; for large events it is not always feasible or economical to do so. Concepts such as ‘damaging earthquake’ in force majeure clauses does not help to clarify disruption, especially in areas where there are no other reference structures or most structures are not seismically safe.[4]


Force majeure and cas fortuit are distinct notions in French Law.

不可抗力cas fortuit在法国律法中是很特出的观念。


Sample Clause  範文

The following is an example of how force majeure might be described in a specific contract.


Clause 19. Force Majeure  第19条。不可抗力

A party is not liable for failure to perform the party’s obligations if such failure is as a result of Acts of God (including fire, flood, earthquake, storm, hurricane or other natural disaster), war, invasion, act of foreign enemies, hostilities (regardless of whether war is declared), civil war, rebellion, revolution, insurrection, military or usurped power or confiscation, terrorist activities, nationalisation, government sanction, blockage, embargo, labor dispute, strike, lockout or interruption or failure of electricity or telephone service. No party is entitled to terminate this Agreement under Clause 17 (Termination) in such circumstances.


If a party asserts Force Majeure as an excuse for failure to perform the party’s obligation, then the nonperforming party must prove that the party took reasonable steps to minimize delay or damages caused by foreseeable events, that the party substantially fulfilled all non-excused obligations, and that the other party was timely notified of the likelihood or actual occurrence of an event described in Clause 19 (Force Majeure).



See also  另见

  • Acts of God  天灾
  • Contract law  合同法
  • Hardship clause  艰难条款
  • Hell or high water clause  地狱或高水位条款
  • Impossibility  不可能的事
  • Mutual assent  相互同意
  • Substantial performance  实质履行
  • Vis major  主要可见/大事件


References  参考文献

[1] ^ Royal Institute of Thailand. (n.d.). Word Coinage by the Royal Institute of Thailand. accessed 18 March 2008.

^ 泰国皇家学院 。(n.d.)。泰国皇家学会的造字。 2008年3月18日检索。

[2] ^ Principle of Force Majeure (including international references), Trans-Lex.org

^ 不可抗力(包括国际引用)的原则,TransLex.org

[3] ^ Lufthansa – Terms & Conditions

^ 德国汉莎航空公司-条款及条件

[4] ^ (Spanish) Force Majeure Construction and Earthquakes

^ (西班牙语)不可抗力的建设和地震


Note  註記

  • Mitra Legal & Commercial Dictionary-Mitra法律和商业的词典。350-351页。第四版。Eastern Law House。ISBN 978-8171770151。


External Links  外部链接

  • (Spanish) Force Majeure Construction and Earthquakes



Categories  分类

  • Contract clauses  合同条款
  • French legal terms  法国法律名词
  • French loanwords  法语外来词
  • Contract law  合同法


Other Categories  其他分类

  • Contract law  合同法

Part of the common law series  普通法系列的一部分

  • Contract formation  合同的订立

Offer and acceptance 邀约和承约:Mailbox rule  邮箱规则

Mirror image rule  镜像规则 • Invitation to treat  邀请作交易

Firm offer  确定的邀约 • Consideration 代价

  • Defenses against formation  抗辩合约的成立

Lack of capacity  能力不足

Duress 胁迫 • Undue influence 不当的影响

Illusory promise 虚假的承诺 • Statute of frauds 欺诈条例

Non est factum 否认定理契约的答辩

  • Contract interpretation  合同的释义

Parol evidence rule  口头证据规则

Contract of adhesion  附着力合同

Integration clause  集成条款

Contra proferentem  对条文发起人不利的解读

  • Excuses for non-performance  不履行的藉口

Mistake  过失 • Misrepresentation  失实陈述

Frustration of purpose 目的受挫 • Impossibility 不可能性质

Impracticability 不可行性质 • Illegality 不合法

Unclean hands 不洁的手 • Unconscionability 不合情理性质

Accord and satisfaction 协定和满意度

  • Rights of third parties  第三方的权利

Privity of contract 相互关系的合同

Assignment 转让 • Delegation 转授

Novation 约务更替 • Third party beneficiary 第三方受益人

  • Breach of contract  违约

Anticipatory repudiation 预期废除 • Cover 承保

Exclusion clause 摒除条款 • Efficient breach 有效率违约

Deviation 偏差 • Fundamental breach 基本的违反

  • Remedies  补救措施

Specific performance 具体表现

Liquidated damages 算定的赔偿金

Penal damages 刑事赔偿 • Rescission 撤销

  • Quasi-contractual obligations  半合同法律责任

Promissory estoppel 承诺不反悔

Quantum meruit 合理金额/按劳计酬

  • Related areas of law  相关领域的法律

Conflict of laws 法律冲突 • Commercial law 商业法

  • Other common law areas  其他普通法适用地区

Tort law 侵权法 · Property law 产权法

Wills, trusts and estates 遗嘱,信托和产业

Criminal law 刑法 • Evidence 证据

—— END ——


Source > Wikipedia at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_majeure

Translated by > BlogHost

Word Count > approx.1480 words in English


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