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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Force Majeure

Simon Hentrei, Ximena Soley

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 02 July 2022

Responsibility of states — Sources, foundations and principles of international law — Circumstances precluding wrongfulness

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1 The concept of force majeure has a longstanding history. Roman law had coined the term vis major as a response to the principle that possibility is the limit of all obligations (ad impossibilia nemo tenetur), meaning that no one is expected to perform the impossible.2 The notion took root and is firmly anchored in most domestic legal systems as a grounds for preventing responsibility from attaching to an act which would, without the elements constituting this defence, be considered in contravention of a legal obligation. However, its relevance and application...
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