Risk of Force Majeure


In our subcontract, the force majeure clause stipulates that the risk of force majeure is with the subcontractor. Is there a way to get relief? Now we are in huge debt and no way to overcome. Can we approach the court?


DT, Doha


The Qatar Civil Law – Law No. 22 of 2004 governs contracts and relationship between parties and force majeure provisions in contracts are enforceable. As per the said Law, under the principle 'freedom of contract' parties are free to agree whatever contract terms they choose. The contract makes the law of the parties and can be revoked or altered only by mutual consent of the parties or for reasons provided for by the law. The debtor may, by agreement, accept liability for unforeseen events and for cases of force majeure or sudden accident. Accordingly, as the contract transfers this risk, it will be generally binding and enforceable.


However, Article 171(2) stipulates that when performance of the contractual obligation becomes excessively onerous in such way as to threaten the debtor with exorbitant loss, as a result of exceptional and unpredictable events of a general character, the judge may, according to the circumstances, and after taking into consideration the interests of both parties, reduce to reasonable limits by lessening its extent or increasing its consideration, the obligation that has become excessive. Any agreement to the contrary is void. Hence, a debtor may apply to the court to have his contractual obligation reduced to a "reasonable margin".


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