offered to rent out his rooms in London overlooking a street where
processions to the royal coronation were going to take place.Henry offered to pay £75 to rent
the rooms in order to watch the processions (a lot of money in 1903).Henry put down £25.
in their written correspondence did either of them explicitly mention the
king got sick and the processions didn't happen.Henry refused to pay.Krell sued for the remaining £50 and Henry countersued
for the £25 deposit.
English Trial Court dismissed the Krell's complaint and found for Henry on his
Trial Court found that there was an implicit condition in the contract.Namely that there would be a coronation.
principle that an implied condition
which ceases to exist voids the contract stems from the case of Taylor
v. Caldwell (3 Best & S. 826 (Unknown Court - UK 1863)), which in turn was borrowed from Roman law.
contract in this case could still have been completed. In Taylor the music hall Taylor wanted to rent had burned down so it was unavailable. Here Krell's room was fine, Henry could still rent it, there just wasn't much of a point to it without the coronation.
wasn't so much that Henry was renting a room, he was buying a
view of the coronation. In the same way it would be silly to think of a person buying a movie ticket as renting a chair
to sit in for 2 hours.
the other hand, assuming the parade happened, what if Henry rented the
rooms but didn't watch the parade?Would he be in breach of contract.
Court analogized the situation to one in which a man hired a taxicab to
take him to a race. If the race did not occur on the particular day the
passenger had thought, he would not be discharged from paying the driver;
but unlike the situation in this case, the cab did not have any special
qualification, as the room here did (its view of the street).
the cancellation of the coronation could not reasonably have been
anticipated by the parties at the time the contract was made.
that implicit conditions are not
the same as parol evidence.It's not that there is something
meant to be in the contract that was not formally written down, it's that
there is some fundamental thing that exists outside the scope of the
contract, which neither party has control over, that is an essential part
of the contract.
gave up his claim for the initial £25 deposit.A later British case (Chandler v. Webster) established that deposits paid before the frustrating
event are not recoverable.
goal is to leave parties where they contracted to be at the moment when
the frustrating event occurred.
American courts do not follow this rule, and force the return of the
is often called the doctrine of impossibility, the doctrine ofimpracticablity, or even the doctrine of frustration.In American common law, it is narrowly construed.There are three factors that must
all be met for a party to be excused (from damages) from performance of a
of the contract must have been come extremely difficult.
event that made performance extremely difficult was an unforeseen development that was not the fault of either
parties must have not assumed the risk, or explicitly mentioned the risk
in the contract.
you can prove impossibility, most
American Courts will consider it to be a contract rescission.You get back your deposit.