Force Majeure Concept in Construction Contracts Under Civil and Common Laws
Force majeure is one of the most critical risks that affects the obligations of the contract parties in the construction industry. The concept of force majeure, basically, is a civil law concept that is found, in a way or another, in the civil codes of most civil law jurisdictions, while common law does not recognize such concept with the same wide definition and application. Thus, without drafting an adequate and proper force majeure clause, the parties of the contract, especially that is govern by the common law, will be at the mercy of the rigid provisions of the law. The aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive comparison on the concept of force majeure in civil law and its related doctrines in common law in light of the legislation in several Middle East and European countries that adopt one of the two legal systems.The performed comparison indicates that force majeure concept in civil law aims to excuse the parties of the contract from their obligations upon occurrence of events which are beyond their control. On the other hand, there are some doctrines in common law that could be similar to force majeure but in narrower meaning such as the doctrines of impossibility, impracticability, frustration and hardship.