Discharge by frustration
Published by a LexisPSL Dispute Resolution expert

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Discharge by frustration
  • What is frustration?
  • Meaning of frustration—radically different performance
  • Frustration and mistake
  • Possible future frustrating event
  • Frustration applied
  • Step 1—construction of contract
  • Step 2—performance of contract in new circumstances
  • Step 3—compare 'new obligation' with 'old obligation'
  • Interests of justice?
  • More...

Discharge by frustration

Coronavirus (COVID-19): In addition to the below content on force majeure generally, see also:

  1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit—Contracts

  2. Coronavirus (COVID-19) and contractual obligations—checklist

together with the Q&A (in the related content pod on the right hand side) for specific guidance on the issues to consider if your contract is impacted by coronavirus.

For guidance in relation to the UK financial sanctions in respect of Russia, see: Financial sanctions toolkit, in particular the content regarding the conflict in Ukraine, together with the content in the related content pod on the right hand side of this Practice Note, including:

  1. Q&A: What are the legal issues for contracts impacted by war and sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

  2. Practice Note: Termination for breach of contract — Financial sanctions and breach of contract

This Practice Note summarises how the common law doctrine of frustration may operate to discharge an agreement and the legal consequences of a contract being frustrated, including issues of partial frustration, party at fault (self-induced frustration) and examples of types of frustrating event. See also Practice Notes:

  1. Frustration event analysis—a practical guide

  2. Frustration—key and illustrative decisions

For guidance on drafting a notice asserting frustration of a contract, see Precedent: Contract frustration notice.

What is frustration?

Frustration is a common law doctrine which operates to bring an agreement to an end on the happening of some unforeseen supervening event which

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