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Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

12. Discharge by frustration: subsequent impossibility  

Robert Merkin, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. In general terms non-performance constitutes a breach of contract. The contract may have expressly allocated the risk of certain external events which occur after the contract is made to one of the parties by means of a force majeure clause. The terms of this clause will determine the parties’ positions if the event in question occurs. In the absence of an express allocation of the risk, the frustration doctrine is a residual doctrine that governs when such frustrating events intervene, without the fault of either party. These frustrating events relate to impossibility, illegality or frustration of the common purpose of both parties. This chapter examines the legal basis of the frustration doctrine, when it applies, when it does not apply and the legal consequences of frustration on the parties’ positions. Frustration automatically terminates the contract for the future and, where it applies, the provisions of the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943 govern the parties’ pre-existing legal position.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

12. Discharge by frustration: subsequent impossibility  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas of the law curriculum. In general terms, non-performance constitutes a breach of contract. The contract may have expressly allocated the risk of certain external events which occur after the contract is made to one of the parties by means of a force majeure clause. The terms of this clause will determine the parties’ positions if the event in question occurs. In the absence of an express allocation of the risk, the frustration doctrine is a residual doctrine that governs when such frustrating events intervene, without the fault of either party. These frustrating events relate to impossibility, illegality or frustration of the common purpose of both parties. This chapter examines the legal basis of the frustration doctrine, when it applies, when it does not apply, and the legal consequences of frustration on the parties’ positions. Frustration automatically terminates the contract for the future and, where it applies, the provisions of the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943 govern the parties’ pre-existing legal position.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

12. Discharge by frustration: subsequent impossibility  

Robert Merkin and Séverine Saintier

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. Without the fault of either party, a contract may be automatically discharged due to frustration that renders further performance of the contract impossible, illegal, or radically different from what was originally conceived. In this case, the parties will be excused further performance of their contractual obligations. However, the frustration doctrine applies only where there is no express provision in the contract (a force majeure clause) allocating the risk. This chapter, which examines the frustration doctrine and discharge for subsequent impossibility, first considers the contractual risk allocation before turning to the theoretical basis for the doctrine of frustration. It then discusses limitations on the operation of the frustration doctrine before examining the effects of frustration and the effects on the parties’ positions of the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

12. Discharge by frustration: subsequent impossibility  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. Without the fault of either party, a contract may be automatically discharged due to frustration that renders further performance of the contract impossible, illegal, or radically different from what was originally conceived. In this case, the parties will be excused further performance of their contractual obligations. However, the frustration doctrine applies only where there is no express provision in the contract (a force majeure clause) allocating the risk. This chapter, which examines the frustration doctrine and discharge for subsequent impossibility, first considers the contractual risk allocation before turning to the theoretical basis for the doctrine of frustration. It then discusses limitations on the operation of the frustration doctrine before examining the effects of frustration and the effects on the parties’ positions of the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943.