Certain disasters are beyond the control of the parties of a contract. Such disasters, if they should occur, can provide a basis for one party to break away from fulfilling the contract. To remove liability and avoid legal consequences, parties can include a force majeure clause in their contract. This legal tool is meant to both excuse a party from contractual obligations due to unforeseen circumstances and allow them to prolong their performance if an event occurs that necessitates this extension.
The advent of new threats, however, are beginning to raise questions about how these provisions should be revised going forward given that pandemics, asteroids, super-volcanoes, cyber threats and nuclear warfare have become more understandable as potential occurrences in our modern world.When weighing the pros and cons of force majeure clauses in your contracts, consider that events such as technology failures, natural disasters, wars, and terrorist acts are not always foreseeable. Also, you can minimize the effects of these occurrences by securing contracts with various parties that reduce your risk exposure. While the specifics of an insurance policy are not typically known to the public, it is interesting to consider the likelihood of this clause being integrated into larger arrangements.
For instance, there has been a lot of speculation about the possibility for future pandemics and terrorist attacks causing massive devastation. Could we potentially see contracts that include force majeure clauses to indemnify organizations? If you were a business owner or someone who was exposed to significant financial risk, would you want some type of protection in your agreements?
There is also the added protection of insurance policies. In other words, while it’s important to plan to avoid potential catastrophes and losses, it’s equally important to enforce contract terms so that you are not entirely exposed in the event that a major failure or disaster occurs. Whatever you decide, keep one thing in mind: if contingency planning isn’t built into your contracts and agreements, there will be no one to turn to when an unexpected event strikes.
As for what might constitute an unforeseeable event, that too varies from place to place. Examples from recent contracts include the earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan (2011), unrest in the Middle East (2010), volcanic ash in Europe (2010) and the financial crisis in the U.S. (2008). What’s considered foreseeable is likely to vary with progress in science and technology.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
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