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Krell v Henry [1903] 2 KB 740


D agreed to rent flat to see coronation of king. King got sick and it never happened


Under what circumstances will a party be excused from performance when an unforeseen supervening event occurs?


Performance will be excused when the purpose of a contract is frustrated by an unforeseeable supervening event and the purpose was not within the contemplation of both parties when the contract was executed. A contract’s purpose may be inferred from surrounding circumstances


Each case must be judged by it own circumstances – ask these questions – if all in the affirmative then both parties discharged from their obligations – parol evidence is admissible to show what the subject of the K was or what the foundation of the K was:
*Having regard to the circumstances, what was the foundation of the contract?
*Was the performance of the contract prevented?
*Was the event which prevented the performance of the contract of such a character that it cannot reasonably be said to have been in contemplation of the parties as the date of the contract?

This type of condition need not be specified in the K, it can be proven by extrinsic evidence, and that evidence can show that a certain set of facts were assumed by the parties to be the foundation or basis of the K, and the event which causes the impossibility of forming the K could not reasonably be supposed to have been in the contemplation of the parties when they made the K
**Doesn’t have to be subject matter (comes form Taylor) it could be something that underlay’s (foundation) of the K


Judgment for D

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