In the UK, the Prime Minister has stated

Restaurants, pubs and clubs must close

Although our wedding venue has a bar, serves food and has a dance floor in the marquee, they have not closed and therefore our insurance is not paying out as the wedding can technically still go ahead.

Is the Prime minister’s closure statement enough to claim on our wedding insurance?

  • Separately, our church BANNS cannot be read, so we’re only allowed 5 people at the church wedding ceremony, again, the insurance company said this is not grounds to claim, is that correct? Mar 21 '20 at 12:23
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    One would need to read the policy document to have any hope of answering that; then it is getting into the realm of individual advice. Sadly, it seems quite probable that the insurance company is correct (for now at least). It's hard to blame insurance companies too much for standing on the letter, given the current circumstances.
    – richardb
    Mar 21 '20 at 13:30
  • @richardb It might be considered "individual advice" but not necessarily off-topic, and having access to the language of the policy is essential for posting an informed answer. The OP's issue is hardly the only instance of need to interpret an insurance policy in the ongoing situation. Mar 21 '20 at 14:10

What do the contracts with your suppliers and the policy with your insurer say?

Changes in government regulation do not ipso facto relieve Parties of the obligations under a contract under common (English) law. Contracts are allowed to allocate the risk of force majeure (and indeed, to define it because it has no common law meaning) but if they don’t, then each party bears their own risk and if they fail to honour their obligations they are in breach of contract.

Common law does have the doctrine of frustration, however, that is much narrower and must result in the inability of the contract to be completed at all.

And then there are consumer rights which may apply.

When the dust settles, we are likely to see a lot of litigation around force majeure.

Your venue appears to be complying with both the law and their obligations under the contract so you have no breach of contract claim against them and no trigger for the insurance policy. If you choose to cancel, then you broke the contract.

Importantly, the position is reversed in civil law jurisdictions - a party unable to fulfil their obligations under a contract is not in breach.

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