25.8 VITA recommendations for a successful IT contract

25.8.7 Force majeure in IT contracts

A force majeure ("a greater force") event excuses a party's failure to perform when failure results from some circumstance beyond a party's reasonable control (be careful of "labor and supply shortages" being included in the definition of force majeure in the agreement, since these often are based on business circumstances over which the supplier actually does have some control). The force majeure language defines when each party's obligation to perform is deemed to be "suspended." Agencies should include a clause that gives them the right to terminate the contract if force majeure continues for a certain period of time--typically 30 days, though a shorter period would be appropriate for a mission-critical system.