Contract Law Essay

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Contract Law Bingham LJ's statement expresses well the purpose of the doctrine of frustration which is to moderate the general rule, as expressed in Paradine v. Jane (1647), that, unless they have been expressly qualified, contractual obligations are absolute. It does not tell us much about the underlying principles of the doctrine. How and when does it apply and what are the effects? Contract law needs certainty and a doctrine that excuses parties from the performance of their obligations must, by necessity, be restrictive and unambiguous. By concentrating on the object of the doctrine, however, the author reflects accurately the courts' modern trend of relying less on an abstract theory…show more content…
As a final blow to Paradine, the House of Lords in National Carriers Ltd v Panalpina ltd [1981] decided (obiter dictum) that a lease of land could be frustrated. The implied condition principle was however showing signs of strain. It is for instance difficult to reconcile the decision in Herne Bay Steamboat Co v Hutton [1903] with Krell. In the former the court decided that the contract did still have some purpose as it was still capable of some performance, when it is obvious that the object of the contract was in both cases the review/parade that went with the coronation. The court should have taken a more detached and objective view of the contract without attempting an artificial separation of motive and object. The subsequent criterion of the contract becoming "radically different" from what the parties originally intended, as in the Metropolitan Water Board case, or the "different adventure" factor in the Jackson case, marked a different, more practical and just approach. The doctrine had to be restrictive however and during the closure of the Suez Canal in 1956, the courts were reluctant to apply the "different adventure" approach unless the contract was very specific. Difficulty of performance
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