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Contract Quiz

The answer is C. The term force majeure is French for “an act of God.” Force majeure clauses in contracts are usually applicable to performance failures caused by:

  • Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or fires caused by lightening.
  • Wars, riots or similar events.
  • Consequences that are outside the control of one of the contracting parties (for example, disruptions in electric service when neither party is the electric company).

Here are the basic definitions of the other legal terms, which are sometimes involved in contracts (they all come from Latin expressions, which are commonly used in law):

Non est factum means “not his deed.” It is a special defense in contract law that sometimes allows a person to avoid having to comply with a contract that she or he signed because of certain unusual reasons. For example, if a person signs the wrong kind of contract, he or she might be able to plead non est factum and get a court to void it.

Pari delicto means “equally at fault.” Let’s say two parties argue that non-performance of a contract was the fault of the other. The judge could dismiss the cause or provide no remedy because of pari delicto, a finding that the parties were equally at fault in causing a breach of contract.

Consensus ad idem is a basic requirement in contracts. It means an agreement or a meeting of the minds where all parties understand the commitments made by each other.