By Caroll Dodd

The purpose of a force majeure clause is to relieve a party from performance of a contract if certain events occur which are outside the party’s control.

The case of Seadrill Ghana Operations Ltd v Tullow Ghana Ltd [2018] demonstrates that the wording of the contract is key in determining what events constitute a force majeure. In Seadrill two events prevented the defendant from fulfilling its obligations under a contract for the hire of drilling rig. One was defined as a force majeure event and the other was not. The court found that the force majeure event had to be the sole cause of failure to perform an obligation and the defendant could not therefore rely on the force majeure clause to justify early termination of the contract.