Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition
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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition

Edited by Jan M. Smits

Written by leading authorities in their respective fields, the contributions in this accessible book cover and combine not only questions regarding the methodology of comparative law, but also specific areas of law (such as administrative law and criminal law) and specific topics (such as accident compensation and consideration). In addition, the Encyclopedia contains reports on a selected set of countries’ legal systems and, as a whole, presents an overview of the current state of affairs.
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Chapter 67: Supervening events and force majeure*

Martin Schmidt-Kessel and Katrin Mayer


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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