​UK's Relentless Rain Affects Growers' Contracts

​UK's Relentless Rain Affects Growers' Contracts

Posted by Emma on 29th Apr 2024

Growers in the UK face unprecedented challenges due to relentless rainfall, with lawyers cautioning them to stay informed about contractual obligations amidst the weather uncertainties.

According to the NFU, the 18 months leading to March 2024 mark the fourth wettest period on record for the UK. As a result, harvest prospects are predicted to be lower than average for many growers in England.

Concerns arise for businesses unable to fulfil contractual obligations due to weather-related setbacks. Amy Peacey, a partner at Clarke Willmott LLP, highlights the importance of understanding force majeure clauses in commercial contracts.

Peacey explains, "Force majeure provisions may excuse a party from performing their contractual obligations in events beyond their reasonable control, such as adverse weather conditions."

She further clarifies that the interpretation of force majeure clauses depends on individual contract terms, including whether adverse weather is explicitly mentioned and the foreseeability of such events.

A thorough assessment of contract terms and circumstances is necessary to determine reliance on force majeure provisions. Peacey emphasizes the need to demonstrate adverse weather as the cause of contractual non-performance, mainly if force majeure clauses are absent.

Growers are advised to proactively review their contracts and seek legal counsel to navigate the complexities of contractual obligations amidst unpredictable weather patterns.