Paradine v. Jane – Case Brief Summary
Paradine v. Jane, Aleyn 26, 82 Eng. Rep. 897 (K.B. 1647).
Paradine (P) sued Jane (D) for a failure to pay rent for three years on leased lands. Jane asserted as a defense that the lands had been seized and occupied by Prince Rupert of Germany, and that Jane had been put out of possession and frustrated in the performance of his duties under the lease and was not bound to perform under the contract.
- If a party creates a charge or duty to himself, is he obligated to perform in the face of frustration of purpose?
Holding and Rule
- Yes. If a party creates a charge or duty to himself, he is obligated to perform in the face of frustration of purpose.
The court held that if the law rather than a party creates a duty and the party is unable to perform due to frustration of purpose, that duty will be excused. However if the party creates the duty and becomes unable to perform due to frustration of purpose, the law will not protect the party in his own agreement and performance will not be excused. The court held that in this case the lessee would have gained the advantage of the profits and therefore he must bear the risk of the losses.
Judgment for Paradine.
In this case the defendant had no covenant of quiet enjoyment which would have put the loss on Paradine. The occupation by Prince Rupert was merely a frustration of the defendant’s purpose to enjoy the profits of use and occupation of the property. This case is often cited as an example of subjective impossibility rather than frustration of purpose.
See Lumley v. Wagner for a law school contracts case brief involving the availability of injunctive relief as a remedy to enforce a negative covenant.