Disclaimer: This essay has been written by a law student and not by our expert law writers. View examples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of LawTeacher.net. You should not treat any information in this essay as being authoritative.

Breach of Contract Case Summaries

Info: 1993 words (8 pages) Essay
Published: 20th Sep 2021

Reference this

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law


Completion of the contract and the price is usually required to discharge the contract. This is often in terms of the conditions precedent will be displayed. Trigger the requirements of the payment is complete: No completion, no fee. This rule was established in Cutter v Powell is obviously capable of causing injustice:

Cutter v Powell [1795]

The applicant and his wife contracted to act as second officer on the ship, the ‘Governor Parry’ on a trip to Jamaica. The cruise can take up to eight weeks and he will be paid upon completion. A term which is, in the Treaty:

“Ten days after the ‘Governor Parry,” my own ship master, coming in at Liverpool, I promise to Mr. T. Cutter pay the sum of thirty guineas, that he gave the proceeds, and continued his work as second mate in the said ship at the port of Liverpool. Kingston, 31 July 1793.”

Six-week cruise of the late husband of the plaintiff. The plaintiff sought a sum that claims six weeks represent the work done.

Held: The woman failed the action. Payment is made on condition that he worked on the ship in Liverpool, because he does not fulfill this condition, the widow is entitled to nothing.

The harshness of this rule has been mitigated by the creation of various exceptions:

Divisible/Severable contracts

The rule relating to complete performance applies where there exists an entire contract. Where it is possible to divide a contract into separate parts, eg. if a sum is agreed to be payable per week or hour, then the courts can award a sum for the separate parts of the contract which have been completed:

Ritchie v Atkinson (1808)

By contract the claimant agreed to carry a cargo of specified quantity of hemp and iron. The price agreed was £5 per ton for the hemp and 5 shillings per ton of iron. The claimant only carried part of the agreed quantity. The defendant argued the contract had not been fully performed and therefore no payment was due.


The contract could be divided into separate parts as the parties had agreed a price per ton. The claimant was thus entitled to payment for the amount carried although the defendant was entitled to damages for non performance in relation to the amount not carried.

Substantial performance

A further exception exists where a court is satisfied that substantial performance is present. The court may then award the contractually agreed price and deduct sums to reflect the amount not performed. If however, the performance is not held to amount to substantial performance the claimant is entitled to nothing. Difficulty arises as to what amounts to substantial performance. There is no precise limit set down but is to be determined on the facts of individual cases.

Bolton v Mahedeva [1972]

The claimant agreed to decorate and furnish the defendant’s flat for £750 payable by two instalments and the balance on completion. The claimant completed the work but the defendant was unsatisfied some of the furnishings and refused to pay the all the final instalment. The cost of the defects in the furniture came to £56.


The claimant had substantially performed the contract and was therefore entitled to the contractually agreed price minus the cost of the defects.

Acceptance of partial performance

Where one party freely agrees to accept partial performance then a sum is payable for the work completed. The main focus is on free acceptance:

Sumpter v Hedges (1898)

The claimant agreed to build two houses and stables for the defendant. It was agreed that £565 would be payable on completion. The claimant commenced performance and then ran out of money and was unable to complete. He had performed just over half of the contract. The defendant completed the work himself. The claimant sought to recover £333 representing the value of the work he had completed. He argued that in completing the work himself, the defendant had thereby accepted partial performance and prevented the claimant from completing the contract.


The claimant’s action failed. The court held that the defendant had no choice but to accept partial performance as he was left with a half completed house on his land.

Tender of performance

Where a party is willing to perform and tries to tender performance but the other party does not accept the performance then the party seeking to tender performance is discharged from the contract and the non accepting party is liable in damages for non acceptance:

Startup v Macdonald (1843)

A contract stated that 10 tons of oil were to be delivered to the defendant within the last 14 days of March. The claimant delivered the oil at 8.30pm Saturday March 31st. The defendant refused to accept the delivery because of the lateness of the hour.


The claimant had tendered performance within the agreed contractual period and was thus entitled to damages for non acceptance.

Performance prevented by the promisee

Promisee prevent the implementation of the performance when the promisor to pay for work was completed with the title:

Planche v Colburn [1831]

The claimant agreed to write a book on costume and armour for the defendant as part of a series called ‘the Juvenile Library’. The agreed contract price was £100 to be payable on completion. The claimant commenced writing and had completed a great deal of it when the defendant cancelled the series. The defendant refused to pay the claimant despite his undertaking and the fact that the claimant was still willing to complete. The claimant brought an action to enforce payment.


The claimant was entitled to recover £50 because the defendant had prevented the performance.


For a contract to be discharged through agreement there must be Accord & Satisfaction.

Accord = agreement

Satisfaction = consideration - this must be provided by both parties

The parties must agree to end the contract. The agreement must be freely given. Both parties must also provide consideration. If both parties have continuing obligations then generally the consideration will be simply each of them giving up their rights under the contract. The only time consideration becomes an issue is where one party has fully performed their part of the contract when the other has not. The non performing party must then provide consideration to make the agreement binding. Also if the agreement is made by deed there is no requirement to provide consideration.


The violation of the conditions (such as breach of warranty against) if you have the perpetrators of this Agreement (Termination), claims for damages, the right to refuse.

Anticipatory breach

If a party to announce their intention to comply with its contractual obligations if the innocent party for breach of the fact that they have their own claims before the violation is not obliged to wait:

Hochster v De la Tour (1853)

Applicants for three months from first June 1852 agreed that the defendants Messenger. 11 May in the work on the defendant did not want that rejected his services and wrote the manuscript for compensation. Scored another service contract by the complainant, but not until 4 July start. The plaintiff sued for breach of contract on 22 May Employees of the contract due by 1 Begin in June, when the card is not a breach of contract claims to 22 days


Before the injury occurred in the application until the parties of its intention not to perform the contract if the innocent party would you mind passing. They shall immediately or can choose their continued violation of this Agreement to wait.

Among them immediately or to seek their own contracts before they are waiting for a breach of the law continue to enter into the innocent party to make a choice to make.This can be beneficial or harmful:


Change of circumstances is not the fault of one party performing the contract or a contract for the purpose of those activities where deprivation is probably a contract can be frustrating.


Destruction of the subject matter:

Taylor v Caldwell

The four grand concert hall in Surrey in the event will be held outside the plaintiff’s hired for the purpose. Significant costs and left the plaintiff in the effort to organize the event.However, a week before the first concert to take place during the music hall was destroyed by accident. Hall, demanding action for breach of contract costs and damages for the plaintiff failed to provide compensation.


For breach of contract the plaintiff failed to take action. Fire agreement as a means of performing this contract was frustrated that it was impossible.

Personal incapacity:

Condor v Baron Knights [1966]

A 16 year old agreed by contract to play the drums for the defendant band for 7 nights per week for 5 years. The claimant suffered a mental breakdown and was told by his doctor that he should not perform more than 4 nights per week. The band dismissed him. He brought a claim for wrongful dismissal.


The claimant’s action was unsuccessful as his medical condition made it impossible for him to perform his contractual obligations and the contract was thus frustrated.

Where the contract becomes illegal to perform:

Where a contract can not be performed in the specified manner:

Nicholl and Knight v Ashton, Eldridge & Co [1901]

By contract the parties agreed that a cargo of cotton seed was to be shipped from Egypt to England. The contract specified the ship, The Orlando, which was to carry the cargo. This ship became damaged and was in for repairs when the contract was due to be performed.

Held: By naming the exact ship which was to carry the cargo, the contract was frustrated as it was impossible for this ship to carry the cargo within the contractually agreed period.

In addition, the complex and / or failure is not due to the difficulty to them how valuable:

Davis Contractors v Fareham UDC [1956] AC 696        (Case summary)

Davis Contractors agreed to build 78 houses for Fareham Council within 8 months for an agreed price of £85,000. Due to a shortage in skilled labour and material the contract took 22 months to complete and was much more expensive than anticipated. Davis Contractors were paid the contractually agreed price but bought an action arguing for more money based on the fact that the contract had become frustrated and therefore they were entitled to further payment based on a quantum meruit basis.


The contract was not frustrated. The fact that a contract becomes more difficult to perform or not so profitable is not sufficient to amount to frustration. It was still possible to perform the contract.

Agreement is found, the disappointment, so the two sides of their obligations under the contract can not change the parties can sue for infringement. Loss distribution, the laws (agreements disappointed) Act 1943 has decided to improve. It provides:

Benefits paid under the contract and the amount of money already paid can be recovered. Where can reduce costs, expenses or payments must be paid. The decision of the court process and the situation is the subject of the case. If no equipment, money or pay the amount paid can be recovered.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

Related Content

Jurisdictions / Tags

Content relating to: "UK Law"

UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

Related Articles

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on LawTeacher.net then please: