Chandler v Webster

Chandler v Webster [1904] 1 KB 493 is an English contract law case, concerning frustration. It is one of the many coronation cases, which appeared in the courts after King Edward VII fell ill and his coronation was postponed.

Chandler v Webster
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (1837-1952).svg
CourtCourt of Appeal
Citation(s)[1904] 1 KB 493
Court membership
Judge(s) sittingLord Collins MR, Romer LJ and Mathew LJ
Keywords
Frustration

FactsEdit

Mr Webster agreed to let Mr Chandler a room on Pall Mall to watch the king's coronation on 26 June 1902 for £141 15s (equivalent to £15,600 in 2020). It was understood between the parties that the money for the room should be paid before the procession. Mr Chandler hired the room with the intention of erecting a stand and selling tickets.

On 10 June Mr Chandler wrote to Mr Webster saying:

I beg to confirm my purchase of the first-floor room of the Electric Lighting Board at 7, Pall Mall, to view the procession on Thursday, June 26, for the sum of £141, 15s., which amount is now due. I shall be obliged if you will take the room on sale, and I authorize you to sell separate seats in the room, for which I will erect a stand. If the seats thus sold in the ordinary way of business do not realize the above amount by June 26, I agree to pay you the balance to make up such amount of £141, 15s.

Mr Chandler paid £100 on 19 June but then the king fell ill. The question was whether the £100 could be recovered by Mr Chandler, or whether Mr Webster could demand the balance.

JudgmentEdit

High CourtEdit

Wright J held that the plaintiff was not entitled to recover the £100 which he had paid, and that, on the construction of the letter of 10 June, it appeared that the balance was not payable until after the procession, and consequently the defendant was not entitled to recover on the counter-claim.

Court of AppealEdit

Lord Collins MR, Romer LJ and Mathew LJ held that Mr Chandler was not entitled to recover his damages before the procession became impossible.

ReformEdit

The Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943 provided, among other things, that monies provided in advance of performance of a contract are recoverable in the event of performance being frustrated.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit