The ins and out of Force de Majeure in Mississauga: Can claims related to this clause be refused?
Our Quebecois neighbours and Francophiles know “force de majeure.” Its literal French translation is “superior force.” The term is also used in business circles to describe external forces that make it difficult, if not impossible, to continue operations “as normal.” These forces may include times of war, natural disasters such as wildfires and floods, or a global health crisis. In the pandemic environment, especially from March 2020, many struggling organizations are wondering if their contracts have applicable force majeure clauses, and parties may be exploring if those claims hold water and can be refused.
At Gujral Law Office in Mississauga, we are here to help businesses, tenants, property managers, landlords, and other clients alike who may be facing unforeseen financial circumstances brought about due to the effects of COVID-19. We understand that you may have many questions about your contracts and what you are liable for or may be able to recoup by law.
Businesses may have “force majeure” clauses within their contracts, which essentially absolve them from upholding their end of the agreement (its “terms”) or from associated liabilities related to “reasons beyond the company’s control.” Whether force majeure may be legally applied and, in turn, enforceable or refused depends on the contracts that bind a business or tenant to a partner or landlord, include such a clause in the first place and on the exact language and verbiage within that clause. Fortunately, Mr. Tarunjeet Gujral is fluent in speaking the contractual language, so much so that he regularly drafts contracts and reviews contracts on behalf of his clients. This knowledge and experience inform how we partner with clients calling force majeure claims or challenging those claims.
For the claim to be valid, it must generally check all of the following boxes:
- A valid force majeure event can be claimed. The specific terminology of Contract would guide if or not this clause can be invoked to avoid the contract.
- The business or claimant can demonstrate a direct link to the hampered operational performance and the force majeure event.
- The event at the center of the clause and claim must be an “Act of God” (beyond the party’s control).
- The event and its adverse effects could not have been avoided with “reasonable” steps taken by those pursuing the claim.
It is essential to understand the potential consequences of force de majeure claims and consider all avenues for support, such as COVID-19 relief funds. There are many layers of complexities associated with these types of clauses and claims. They are very situational and specific to the parties involved and the contractual language between them. Contact us at (647) 957-8077, so we can confidentially discuss your concerns.Back to Home Page