Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Force Majeure Definition:

French for an act of God; an inevitable, unpredictable act of nature, not dependent on an act of man.

Law French; an inevitable, unpredictable act of nature, not dependent on an act of man.

An event beyond the control of a party.

The Modern Dictionary for the Legal Professional:

"French term that means act of God. Force majeure may be a defense to performing contractual duties if performance has become impossible because of an unanticipated event such as a flood or hurricane."

Used in insurance contracts to refer to acts of nature such as earthquakes or lightning.

The 2009 English version of Quebec's Civil Code, at §1470, extends force majeure as a tool to exonerate an individual from civil liability. It also translates force majeure to superior force:

"A person may free himself from his liability for injury caused to another by proving that the injury results from superior force, unless he has undertaken to make reparation for it.

"A superior force is an unforeseeable and irresistible event, including external causes with the same characteristics.".

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