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Fibrosa Spolka Akcyjna v Fairbairn Lawson Combe Barbour Ltd, [1942] UKHL 4, [1943] AC 32, [1942] 2 All ER 122


D (UK firm) agreed to sell a machine to P (Polish firm). War broke out and UK could no longer deal with an enemy.


Is P entitled to the return of the money he paid? To what degree can parties be relieved of a duty?


Where a party obtains no benefit from a contract (K), and they have paid part of a sum before frustration, then that party can recover the money paid in advance because it can be said there has been total failure of consideration.


If there has been what is called a total failure of consideration, then any money paid in advance can be recovered.

Rule in Chandler v Webster (another coronation case)
**The frustrating event does not end the K from its outset, but only from the point of frustration forwards
***Frustration does not release parties from further or future performance of a K – it does not undue what has already been done pursuant to the K
**P could not get back the deposit he paid – if payment was due after frustrating event then P would not have had to make the payment


Found in favour of P – the Polish firm can get back money paid and does not have to make any future payments to D.


This case did not solve all of the problem Chandler created:
*In Chandler the tenant could still have used the room even though they could not view the parade
**So they would receive some benefit from the K
***Thus not amounting to total consideration

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