‘Force Majeure’ or ‘God Forbid’

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All of us love at least one person. We desire that it is well with them and will do as much as lies in us to see that they are happy, well and settled. When the thought that something unpleasant could happen to them, we shout ‘God Forbid’ as if that is the prescription for preventing ill.

A fortnight ago I heard news that a grand aunt was in a coma. I thought and voiced a possibility that she might die, and I heard my cousin hiss and say ‘God Forbid’. I was forced to think; what in our dear country do we not ‘God Forbid’? At 95 what else did she have to do here that we would ask God to forbid calling her to higher service?

In our family and business relationships, we have a ‘God Forbid’ syndrome, rather than getting the facts and ensuring the solutions to problems or looming issues.

Ms X bought a house within a property development recently. In the course of negotiations she asked for a contract, as she needed to be sure about the specifics of what she is buying, particularly since it is within a layout. She was self financing the purchase, with proceeds from her work as well as from the sale of the property she lived in at the time of contract.

The payments were in instalments and she had a buyer who had agreed for her to give him vacant possession after three months. So she had paid fully and the negotiations for the contract were still going back and forth. Ms X insisted on a clause about force majeure. The legal adviser of the company said ‘God Forbid’ they would not have any situation that could cause delay. During debates and insistence on removing the clause, the property under construction developed structural problems. Ms X who was due to move in on the Saturday, could not move in and was rendered homeless. The company has been forced to house her for the last fifteen months, at their cost, with generator, and all the works.

[bctt tweet=”Force Majeure is an unforeseeable circumstance that prevents someone from fulfilling a contract. Someone describes it as a relationship drama that is hard to watch and just as difficult to ignore. “]Force Majeure can be applied to any business relationship and relates to the law of insurance. It is more frequently found in construction contracts. Had the company sought counsel on the need for a force majeure clause, rather than ‘God Forbid’ clause they would not have had to bear such great financial liability.

What are your contracts saying? Are you protected in the event of a force majeure? Or are you relaying on a God forbid clause?

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Sisi Lawyer seeks to present legal aspects of relationships, whether business or family, in an easy to understand format.

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