Frustration Of Purpose Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Frustration Of Purpose, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Frustration Of Purpose?

(n) Frustration Of Purpose is the situation on occurrence of an unexpected event which makes the performance of a contract impossible. Eg. Supply of goods to a country in war. Frustration of purpose entitle the party affected to rescind the contract without any claim for damage.

History and Meaning of Frustration Of Purpose

Frustration of Purpose is a legal term that refers to an unforeseen event that occurs after the formation of a contract which makes it impossible to fulfill the intended purpose of the contract. As a result, the performance of the contract becomes pointless, useless, or radically different than originally intended. Frustration of Purpose may allow parties to the contract to terminate their obligations and responsibilities under the contract without liability.

The doctrine of Frustration of Purpose originated in the United States and was first adopted by courts in New York in 1903. The doctrine was later recognized in other states and jurisdictions and eventually became part of the Uniform Commercial Code, which has been adopted by most states.

Examples of Frustration Of Purpose

  1. A concert promoter contracts with a singer to perform at a sold-out concert. However, due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of both parties, such as a natural disaster or the illness of the singer, the concert cannot take place. This is an example of Frustration of Purpose.

  2. A tenant rents an apartment that has a spectacular view. After the tenant moves in, a high-rise building is constructed next door, blocking the view. In this case, the Frustration of Purpose may allow the tenant to terminate the contract if the view was a primary reason for renting.

  3. A contractor is hired to build a new office building. During construction, the local government changes the zoning laws, prohibiting commercial use of the property. This makes the purpose of the contract unattainable and could be an example of Frustration of Purpose.

Legal Terms Similar to Frustration Of Purpose

  1. Impossibility of Performance - Refers to a situation where a party to the contract is unable to complete their obligations under the contract due to reasons beyond their control, such as an act of god or war.

  2. Material Adverse Change - Refers to a significant change in the circumstances that would render the performance of the contract fundamentally different or impossible.

  3. Commercial Impracticability - Refers to a situation in which the performance of the contract becomes unreasonably difficult or expensive due to unforeseeable circumstances.