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COVID-19 and Force Majeure

The media may be calling it an “act of God”, but what does the law say about force majeure and COVID-19?

When disaster strikes it is easy for the world to fall into disarray. The impact of natural disasters, famine, war and now a pandemic, can have long lasting effects on the systems that keep our economies running. The COVID-19 virus has impacted over 140 countries globally, with schools, churches and businesses being closed down – inevitably affecting contractual obligations nationally and internationally.

As impossible as it may sound, the law attempts to make provision for such circumstances, where a force majeure causes a contract to become impossible to perform. This article will look at whether COVID-19 triggers a force majeure clause in a contract in the South African context, or potentially in terms of the common law in circumstances where no such clause exists in a contract.

The complete document is available from the Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr website.

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