Force majeure

The coronavirus pandemic has given rise to several cases and articles on whether or not the pandemic constitutes force majeure – an event that is out of the control of parties to an agreement.  Here is a selection of these articles, there are many more.

Breach of contract v force majeure – economic impact analysis. 


Werksmans Attorneys consider the effect of force majeure on loan agreements: A worldwide pandemic – is it time to consider the inclusion of force majeure provisions in loan agreements? (May 2020).

This is not specifically a force majeure article, but it does consider the ‘economics’ of a pandemic and what the correct response might be, if there is one. 


The following case considered the ‘supervening impossibility of performance’ or force majeure provisions of a contract (unrelated to COVID-19):

 Wilma Petru Kooij v Middleground Trading 251 CC and Another (1249/18) [2020] ZASCA 45 (23 April 2020)

There is a very recent case in the UK on force majeure, offering an approach that South African courts are likely to follow.  See Sucden Middle-East v Yagci Denizcilik ve Ticaret Ltd Sirketi (The ‘Muammer Yagci’) – [2020] 1 lloyd’s rep. 107 (June 2020)

Also see this article by Eversheds Sutherland, accessed on 24 June 2020.

This article is published in relation to the position under English law – but is still a helpful reference given the reliance of our courts on this jurisdiction’s case law, accessed 24 June 2020, see

See the Force Majeure short learning module for more on the case law and common law.