With the global impact of the COVID-19 outbreak affecting every aspect of our daily lives, it’s not difficult to see why many organisations may have trouble fulfilling their contractual obligations.  Consequently, legal and contract management professionals find themselves faced with the need to identify force majeure clauses within their contracts to determine if the suspension of contractual duties is legally justified.  Contract Insight can help you find pertinent force majeure clauses in your documents during this trying time, thanks to its robust searching capabilities. 

What Is a force majeure clause?

A force majeure clause (French for ‘superior force’) is typically intended to protect legal parties when a contract cannot be fulfilled because of an ‘Act of God’ or a cause that’s beyond the control of the parties. With force majeure clauses, parties can allocate risk when an unexpected event renders contract performance unfeasible.

Most of the time, force majeure clauses specify that they will only be enacted when contract performance becomes unreasonably difficult or impossible, although some clauses require only the delay or hindrance of contract duty performance to apply.

The effects of COVID-19 have been substantial enough to invoke the application of force majeure clauses since March 11, 2020, when the World Health Organisation declared the disease a pandemic.  Since it’s clearly ludicrous to argue that any private contractual party is responsible for the emergence of COVID-19, organisations would be remiss not to ensure clarification on the applicable law across their contracts.  With Contract Insight, you can navigate this unique time with the right tools to find force majeure clauses and exercise governance over their contracts.

Finding force majeure clauses with Contract Insight’s Quick Search

Contract Insight’s Quick Search feature allows users to quickly and easily search for specific requests, contracts, contract records and related documents by searching for keywords, phrases and clauses.  Most beneficial to your current situation may be the fact that users can also search within those documents for keywords, phrases and clauses.

The searching process within Contract Insight is like common search functionality used on the most popular internet searches.  As such, searching is fast, familiar and easy – good news at a tumultuous time when your contract management processes need to run smoothly.

Getting started – searching for force majeure clauses

To begin searching, you simply enter keywords into Contract Insight’s intuitive search bar at the top of your screen.  You can search for a single word, a set of words, or phrases that may be in the document that you are looking for. For example, you can search for the term ‘force majeure’.  You then review multiple sets of results that include your key term, including a list of contracts, requests and companies within your system with links to the related record pages or contracts.  Keep in mind that quick search results can be exported into MS Excel format.

Sorting and filtering your results

After searching, you may have dozens of results containing the term ‘force majeure’.  If you would like to narrow the scope of your results, you can sort and filter those results with standard or user-defined fields configured in your system.

For your ‘force majeure’ key term, you may want to ignore your expired agreements so that you can more easily and expeditiously work with only active contracts.  Contract Insight’s user-friendly filtering feature makes this easy, so that you can focus on the contracts that you urgently need.

When navigating your results, you will be able to determine the source document of the ‘force majeure’ key term and view that document.  You can also view a list of associated related documents.  You can easily download the source document into its original format or preview PDF and Word files online. Contract Insight’s file preview tool presents the relevant document and identifies where in the document your search criteria is found.  Your search criteria is displayed in a red box so that you can quickly and easily locate your force majeure clause.

Contract Insight from Four

Contract Insight is a cloud-hosted (SaaS) or deployed (on-premise) source-to-contract solution.  The acclaimed platform is trusted by thousands of professionals for their contract management, legal document management, procurement and sourcing needs.  Used by many Fortune 500 companies, Contract Insight gives you real time visibility into your contracts. It doesn’t just shore up your security; it will help you meet contract compliance regulations, centralise your contract management and improve your overall contract administration process.

For more information, contact John O’Brien, CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators providing business processes improvements in Finance, Supply Chain & Operations, across a broad range of industries.