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Taylor & Anr v. Caldwell &Anr |Explained!

case brief, case summary


The Surrey Gardens & Music Hall, Newington, Middlesex, is the setting for the mentioned passages. The plaintiff (Taylor) decided to accept the place of the respondent (Caldwell) for four days.

Those dates were the 17th of Jun, 1861, 15th of Jul, 1861, 5th of Aug, 1861, and 9th of Aug, 1861, for a set of increasingly big concerts, as well as day and midnight fetes. On each of the days, a rent or amount of 100l. was paid.

The hall was burned by an unintentional fire on June 11, 1861, for which neither party was responsible. With this, the plaintiffs claimed a breach of contract.

The dispute revolved around the claimant’s agreement to rent a musical hall first from the respondent. The hall was intended to host “great concerts” and “festivals.”

However, the upper chamber was damaged beyond repair the day before the play that was supposed to take place there. This devastation was caused by neither party. The claimant filed a lawsuit for breach of contract.

The legal question is whether the fact that the facility that the claims had hired to use could no again be used excused the parties’ responsibilities and privileges under the agreement.

The defendants would be responsible to the plaintiffs under the theory of absolute duties since they would not only be able to execute their contractual responsibilities, namely and use of a jazz club for four days.

Because of the severity of this responsibility, Justice Blackburn notes that the defendants were freed from their responsibilities under the theory of frustration. The justification for this is that it was the most reasonable and logical option in terms of contract law.

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The legal question emerging from the demolition of the music hall was whether the aforementioned destruction absolves the parties’ rights and responsibilities under the agreement? Is it possible for the plaintiffs to recoup their losses from the defendant?


The theory of absolute duties (1) is implemented as a norm. A party’s obligations under a contract are said to be discharged if the fulfilment of the contract includes specific chattels that are destroyed owing to no fault of either party. With the philosophy of frustration, this makes the performance impossible.

• Under the theory of absolute duties, if the contract is complete, the provider must execute it or make restitution for semi, even if the outcomes of completing the commitment have just become impossible owing to unanticipated circumstances.

The respondents would also be responsible to the plaintiffs under the agreements if they had been unable to execute the particular responsibilities that had been contracted for—the use of the music hall for four days.

According to Blackburn J., such a relationship is not “arbitrary” (2) in this situation, thus it is based on an implicit condition. The availability of the music hall is this implicit requirement.

• The implicit condition extends the duty to the frustration doctrine. “The performance is contingent on the ongoing existence of a specific person or thing, and a condition is conveyed that the inability of performance resulting first from one or thing looks perishing may exempt the performance,” the judge writes (3),.

This devastation is the result of neither party’s fault. As a result, the parties to the contract viewed the hall’s continued existence as the pact’s foundation. As a result of the implicit condition, if the hall did not exist, both parties would be released from their responsibilities.

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• At the heart of the problem is the fact that the contract was based on the hall’s existence. And without the continued existence of the goods, the parties to the contract are liberated from their contractual obligations.

(4) Justice Blackburn states explicitly that if the abovementioned condition isn’t specifically specified in the contract, it is implicit by law. If the parties had not been excused and continued the contract with all of the planned responsibilities, the performance would have been quite different from what they had initially agreed to do.


However, in order to properly grasp Taylor’s influence, it’s necessary to look at the two examples below to see how the concept works. Herne Bay Steamboat Co v Hutton[9] and Krell v Henry. Either of these cases relates to Edward VII’s funeral procession, which was postponed owing to his bad health.

The perpetrator in Krell rented a flat from the claim. The complainant filed an action alleging that the rent had not been paid in accordance with the agreement.

The non-occurrence of the event was found to have frustrated the engagement in this example. The contract was built around the Coronation Procession.


 The defendant is no longer bound by the contract’s terms. Because of the theory of frustration via the destruction of a particular subject, the plaintiffs’ losses, which included printing and preparing concert advertisements, were not recoverable against the defendant.


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