The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Coronavirus (COVID-19): In addition to the below content on force majeure generally, see also:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit—Contracts
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.
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:
Frustration event analysis—a practical guide
Frustration—key and illustrative decisions
For guidance on drafting a notice asserting frustration of a contract, see Precedent: Contract frustration notice.
Frustration is a common law doctrine which operates to bring an agreement to an end on the happening of some unforeseen supervening event which is beyond the control of the parties to the agreement.
A contract may be frustrated if an unforeseen event occurs after the contract is formed and:
as a result of that event:
the contract becomes impossible to perform and/or
the obligations under the contract are transformed into something radically different
the contract does not contain a clause intended to deal with the unforeseen event
the unforeseen event is not caused by either party’s conduct
The effect of frustration is:
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