Edited by Jan M. Smits
The concepts of supervening events and force majeure are well known to many legal systems. Although their primary function is contractual, they also exist in tort law and play an important role in public international law. As a general defence, the concept of force majeure is also contained in the Principles of International Commercial Contracts (Art. 7.1.7 P.I.C.C.) and in the emerging Principles of European Contract Law (Art. 8:108 P.E.C.L.; see both the text and comparative notes). Finally, the notion of force majeure is well known to European Community law as well (Parker, 1995). However, there do exist significant differences as regards the place of supervening events or force majeure within individual legal orders: in the UK, for example, force majeure is not contained in any Act, but rather dealt with in the sphere of contractual liability, especially under so-called force majeure clauses.
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