Forum discusses force majeure


Due to the economic embargo imposed on Doha, companies from Qatar and the blockading countries could claim force majeure from contractual responsibility, said participants at a legal forum held in Doha today.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, lawyer and Board Member of Qatar International Centre for Conciliation and Arbitration Sheikh Thani bin Ali al Thani said, “Qatar has organised the force majeure in several laws. It is the unexpected and unavoidable circumstances owing to an external factor away from the willingness of the partners of the contract.”

Sheikh Thani added, “The force majeure happens due to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes and due to man-made disasters such as economic embargo as in the case of Qatar, wars and revolutions.

“The force majeure makes the contractual obligations impossible to be achieved and exempts the debtor from responsibility. It could be applied on international, transportation, and public work contracts, and has an impact on the duration of contracts due to the inability carry out the duties.

Sheikh Thani said, “The embargo on our country is a moral test for us as our community achieved a big success under the wise leadership of the Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani. We have proved that we care about principles and morals throughout the conflict.

Private Law Professor at Qatar University Dr Nisrin Mahasneh spoke about the force majeure in Islamic Jurisprudence, common law and Qatari law.

Mahasneh said the embargo on Qatar is a force majeure that might cancel hundreds of contracts, according to the Qatari law. However, these contracts might be extended when the embargo is lifted, she pointed out.

Representing legal consultancy Sultan al Abdullah and Partners, Ashraf al Feshawi differentiated between force majeure and urgent circumstances. “The first happens when the contract becomes impossible to be achieved while the second happens when accomplishing the contract becomes more difficult, “said Feshawi.

Giving an example, he said, the Hajj contract might be a force majeure since it can’t be done outside Saudi Arabia in case it didn’t give a visa due to the embargo, while a contract to manufacture gypsum boards might be considered urgent circumstances as the import of its crude materials can be shifted from the blockading states to other countries.

In case of force majeure the courts might terminate the contract, while in the case of urgent circumstances it might award compensation.

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