Do you need a Force Majeure Clause?

By Ryan O'Neil


The team at Curate has written several blog posts about contracts and the importance of including clauses that protect you and your clients. Most of us never thought we’d need to use a Force Majeure clause, much less include one in every contract, but this clause is a must for every floral and event professional. 

Please note that we aren’t lawyers! Any contract you use should be sourced from and reviewed by a legal representative to ensure you have the protection you need in your contract. 


What exactly is “Force Majeure”?

Put simply, Force Majeure means that if an event or circumstance that prevents or impedes a party from performing one or more of its contractual obligations occurs, the contract is no longer valid. There are specifics, of course (it is a bit of legalese) but this gives you, the provider, an out should one of the defined events occur. 


What’s meant by an “event”?

Events included in the Force Majeure clause aren’t little, inconsequential occurrences. Events include things like:

  • Wars, riots, and rebellions
  • Pandemics and plagues
  • Fires and natural disasters
  • Strikes and labor boycotts

This clause shouldn’t be viewed as an excuse by either party but it is intended to protect both you and your client should events or circumstances happen that are outside of your control. Consider the shutdowns of 2020 and 2021. If the event venue was shut down, there was no way you, as the event manager, could be expected to host an event. By including this clause in your contract, you’re covered contractually, no longer responsible for hosting the event, and not liable for damages or for any other contractual remedy for breach of contract.


A Few More Details

Force Majeure clauses also typically include a time period and a notification period. The time period is important! If the Force Majeure event delays the contracted date by only a few days, Force Majeure may not apply. Be sure to clarify what the timing of a Force Majeure event must be to ensure both you and your client are clear on this detail.

The notification clause is also important. As the provider, you must notify the client without delay. This may be somewhat subjective but as soon as you are aware of the occurrence of a Force Majeure event, you must notify your client to take advantage of the protection of the Force Majeure clause. 


Is this still necessary?

We know everyone is a bit tired of hearing about COVID-19 and its aftereffects but the Force Majeure clause applies to more than the pandemic. Consider the recent hurricane that impacted Puerto Rico and Florida or the wildfires that occur periodically. Ensuring that you have a comprehensive and up-to-date Force Majeure clause is an important piece of your contract. 


Download our contract template to use as a guide as you successfully land your next client!


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