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Frustration … bite size

This is where something happens, through no fault of the parties, which makes the performance of a contract impossible. The contract is said to be frustrated and the obligations under it come to an end.

Only certain types of event can result in frustration. They include:

  • The destruction or unavailability of something essential for the performance of the contract
  • Death of either party
  • Unavailability of one party
  • The method of performance is impossible
  • After the contract is formed, a change in the law makes its performance illegal
  • Where a supervening event makes the performance of a contract completely pointless, even if still technically possible.

The courts will only use frustration in exception circumstances.


Key cases:


Taylor v Caldwell (1863)

Fibrosa Spolka Akcyjna v Fairbairn Lawson Combe Barbour Ltd (1943)



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