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Force Majeure in Thailand and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Force Majeure and we are discussing it in the context of this Coronavirus phenomenon that we are experiencing; this pandemic as the WHO is calling it and how Force Majeure plays into sort of the business aspects of navigating this crisis frankly. 

So let's go ahead and start off. What is Force Majeure? For those who are unaware, and this video is going to be very simplified, I am not going to get super detailed into this. I just want this to act as a sort of primer for those who are curious about these concerns because I think businesses, small and large, are going to have substantial Force Majeure issues arising from this Coronavirus. 

But for lack of a better term in sort of the common law tradition and for that matter, it is my understanding in the civil law tradition, it is basically akin to sort of an Act of God. Unforeseen circumstances that again not to be redundant but were not reasonably foreseeable that arise through no fault of any of the parties but just, again a meteorite hitting the Earth is Force Majeure. COVID-19 this pandemic that no one saw coming, that is a pretty good example of something that is sort of an Act of God for lack of a better term.  Now, certain kinds of contracts, for example labour contracts or sale and purchase agreement, service contracts, maybe even real estate contracts could have something akin to a Force Majeure clause. I don't think a real estate contract in this context is particularly pertinent because I don't really see how COVID-19 would have an impact on a real estate contract although if it precluded somebody from a specific performance of an obligation under the real estate contract, for example paying off the rest of an obligation created under a contract for example to purchase something and the person is bankrupted due to costs incurred by COVID-19 or just unable to get to Thailand due to not being able to travel into Thailand to make provisions for a purchase, I can see where maybe Force Majeure might apply. I specifically see this coming up a lot in a labour context where people had to be summarily dismissed and they were dismissed because of unforeseen circumstances arising from COVID-19, you could argue that may or may not be Force Majeure. Now it is going to be circumstantially dependent and Force Majeure is going to depend on the given case, how you use it and where it applies and I am not going to get into specifics of that in this video. 

The thing I do want to get into with this video is that Force Majeure may be useful under certain circumstances and it may not. Again it is probably a good idea to get in contact with a legal professional to have the specific circumstances of a given case duly analyzed before just presuming that Force Majeure will apply and absolve someone of an obligation or mitigate damages as a result of an obligation or a failed obligation or an obligation that was not met. 

The thing to take away from this video is that it is not a cure-all necessarily, Force Majeure. For example in Thailand there is a Thai Labour Code and there are Labour Courts and those Labour Courts operate very differently than anything we are used to at least in the United States. They operate very differently than oftentimes the other courts of Thailand. So the thing to keep in mind with respect to this video is,  Force Majeure, although it may be useful in a legal context in Thailand, it is not a for lack of better “cure-all” with respect to damages arising from breach of contract just because a possible Force Majeure event happened, for example COVID-19. 

Good advice. Contact a legal professional in order to ascertain the specifics of your situation with respect to Force Majeure and the complications arising from Coronavirus, AKA COVID-19.