What French phrase is also a legal term for a situation outside of human control?
In English, force majeure means “superior force.” In the legal context, the term applies to situations where no contracted party is at fault because of unavoidable, unforeseeable events stemming from an entity not involved in the contract, like a hurricane or wide-scale military conflict. While similar, liability disputes under the French term are not the same as “act of God” events. Situations that fall under this force majeure vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it’s probably wise not to assume you can invoke it if a tornado stops you from paying up on your Halo Wars bets. Sources: Merriam-Webster, Investopedia
Force majeure (/ˌfɔːrs/ fors, /ˌfɔərs mɑːˈʒɜːr/ mah-zhur, or /məˈʒɜːr/ mə-zhur; French pronunciation: [fɔʁs maʒœʁ]) – or vis major (Latin) – meaning “superior force”, also known as cas fortuit (French) or casus fortuitus (Latin) “chance occurrence, unavoidable accident”, is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, or an event described by the legal term act of God (hurricane, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, etc.), prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract. In practice, most force majeure clauses do not excuse a party’s non-performance entirely, but only suspend it for the duration of the force majeure.