Discharge of contract

  • Created by: TashaChlo
  • Created on: 08-01-15 16:37

Discharge of contract

a contract is discharged when it has come to an end, it imposes not further obligations on the parties

a contract can be discharged in the following ways:

  • performance

  • breach

  • frustration

  • agreement (not on syllabus)


the strict rule – if both parties exactly and precisely perform their obligations under a contract it is discharged. The strict rule can be seen to be unfair:

Cutter v Powell

Cutter was a crew member and was to be paid as second mate on a trip from Jamaica to Liverpool. The boat left Jamaica on 2nd August and was due in Liverpool on 9th October. Cutter died on the 20th September. His widow sued for his wages from the 2nd August to the 20th September, the claim was dismissed as Cutter had signed up to complete the entire trip and clearly had not completed all his obligations

Re Moore & co. v Landauer & co.

when tinned fruit was sold and described as being in cases of 30 tins per case. The purchaser received the correct number of tins in total but some cases contained 24 tins in a case. The seller had not completed the contract (i.e. there was incomplete performance) so the purchaser could reject the cases

((this case now would be treated as a breach of warranty in non consumer contracts so wouldn't be able to reject goods – SGA1979(as amended))

exceptions to strict rule:

Divisible contracts – performance in stages e.g. annual salary is paid monthly – non completion of one part is not a breach of the whole contract e.g. building contracts work done in stages

Roberts v Havelock

A shipwright agreed to repair a ship. The contract did not expressly state when payment was to be made. He chose not to go on with the work. It was held that the shipwright was not bound to complete the repairs before claiming some payment

Partial performance

a person who partially performs under a contract cannot expect to be paid


substantial performance – if a party has completed a substantial…


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