Weddings, parties, events - have yours been disrupted by Covid-19?

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused major disruption to businesses and individuals around the world, with many finding it difficult, or impossible, to fulfil their contractual obligations because of the pandemic. Force majeure clauses and frustration of contract may be available to parties seeking a legal remedy where, through no fault of their own, they can no longer perform their obligations.

Force Majeure

The ability to invoke force majeure, and the effect this will have on the contract in question, will depend on the presence of a force majeure clause in a contract and its particular terms.

Typically a force majeure clause sets out circumstances involving an unforeseen supervening event where a party is excused from performing their contractual obligations.

An analysis of the contract terms will be required to establish whether or not there is a force majeure clause and if it will cover Covid-19.

Frustration

If the contract does not have a force majeure clause, contracting parties may consider relying on the doctrine of frustration. Frustration discharges a contract where a supervening event occurs that renders it physically or commercially impossible to perform, or transforms the obligation to perform into one radically different than envisaged at the time of contracting.

It may be assumed that COVID-19 would be considered a frustrating event. However, it is more likely to be the consequences flowing from the pandemic that qualify. The individual circumstances of the case will need to be carefully considered.

Weddings, parties, events

Given that the government guidelines currently restrict gatherings to a small number and insist that social distancing measures are in place, this is likely to mean that the event cannot take place in the way the parties hoped for. This is sometimes causing disputes between contracting parties.

Common examples are weddings and parties where the venues or suppliers are insisting on a postponement of the event and refuse to offer a refund.

We can help

We can assist with your contract in order to establish if force majeure or frustration may be an available remedy to you.

For more information contact the Dispute Resolution team via our contact form