Is Meteorological Evidence Relevant Enough in Legal Disputes? A Romanian Case Study.

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The increasing frequency and intensity of climate and weather extremes due to ongoing climate changes can cause major property and infrastructure damage. Mainly representing unforeseen and unavoidable hazards, some environmental and business laws broadly assimilate them as force majeure situations, excepting parties affected by their impact from prior commitments. The present study, debating on the way law courts should broadly address the force majeure clause when objective and accurate evidence is being provided, describes the terms of a legal dispute between the owners of two neighboring buildings which have seriously been damaged by a severe thunderstorm developing over the Bucharest-Otopeni town area, on the 22nd July 2014. Consistent meteorological evidence (weather reports and forecasts, aerological diagrams, radar and satellite images, air-pressure distribution maps, synoptic messages etc.) have been presented to the law court to document, in an unbiased manner, on the extraordinary, external, unforeseen and unavoidable weather event representing the cause of a civil legal dispute. The extent to which the law court may take all these into consideration under the provisions of the force majeure clause is still to be explored.

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