Criticism: Act Of God (Vis Major)

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Act of God (Vis Major) INTRODUCTION: Act of God in Latin means Vis Major. Vis means force, “in legal terminology it means a kind of violence, force, or disturbance, relating to a person or his property” . Therefore, Vis Major signifies a superior force. Vis Major can and is often defined as a “Direct violent, sudden and irresistible act of nature as could not, by any amount of ability, have been foreseen, or if foreseen, could not by any amount of human care and skill have been resisted . “Thus those acts which are occasioned by the elementary forces of nature, unconnected with the agency of man or other cause will come under the category of acts of God” . Vis major is similarly defined by Black's law dictionary as an act occasioned exclusively…show more content…
What ensues this is a myriad rush of litigations in pursuit of what they perceive to be justice, especially in heavily litigated countries like the United States of America. Defendants are predictably quick to claim act of God as a defence to all these lawsuits. For little more than three centuries, the act of God defence concept has been accepted in cases of negligence and strict liability. As a legal concept though, act of God is not only relevant as a defence, but also in discussions of duty and causation. It often tends to bring up strong opinions among scholars and lawyers alike. At a quick glance, the act of God defence seems a rather simple, straight-forward concept with not many nuances or intricacies or complexities. Consequently, all too often, innumerable attorneys have misused the phrase "act of God" to mean any and every unfortunate act of nature. Vis Major to afford a defence must be the proximate cause, the causa causans, and not merely the causa sine quo non of the damage complained of . The mere fact that Vis major was in co existence with or ensued negligence to accelerate the damage caused is not in any way an adequate defence. Before an act of God may be admitted as a valid defence, the defendant must himself have done all he is bound to do to prevent any tragedy.

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