Although there is no definition of the legal concept of „force majeure” in Polish law, its definition has been thoroughly developed in the doctrine of law and jurisprudence. The dominant view is that force majeure is an event characterized by exteriority, impossibility to predict it and impossibility to prevent its effects.
Force majeure may constitute a basis for limiting liability for non-performance or improper performance of the contract, provided that there is a link between these events.
In our opinion, there are strong arguments that a coronavirus epidemic can be classified as a force majeure event.
In accordance with the general principles of liability as set out in art. 471 of the Polish Civil Code, the debtor is obliged to compensate for damage resulting from the non-performance or improper performance of an obligation, unless the non-performance or improper performance is due to circumstances for which the debtor is not responsible.
Doctrine and jurisprudence classify force majeure as circumstances constituting the cause of the non-performance or improper performance of an obligation for which the debtor is not responsible for.
Therefore, the occurrence of force majeure may release or limit the liability for non-performance or improper performance of an obligation. However, the causal link between the occurrence of force majeure and the inability to perform must always be demonstrated.