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Paradine v. Jane


Brief Fact Summary.

Paradine (Plaintiff) sued Jane (Defendant) for unpaid rent for three years.  Defendant defends his liability on the basis of frustration of purpose.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

When a party, by his own contract, creates a duty upon himself, he is bound to make it good notwithstanding any accident that he could have provided against in the contract.


Plaintiff sued Defendant under a lease for years for unpaid rent.  Defendant pleaded that as a result of the invasion of an enemy of the King Defendant was forced out of possession of the property and was unable to take the profits.  Defendant refused to pay Plaintiff rent for the time he was forced out of possession by the army.  Plaintiff demurred and the plea was held to be insufficient.


Whether Defendant was excused from performance because his purpose for entering into the contract was frustrated?


No. Judgment for Plaintiff.
•    Defendant must pay the required rent to the Plaintiff.  The law creates a duty, however, the law will excuse him of performance if the party was disabled to perform without any default in him and he has no other available remedy.  When a party by his own contract creates a duty upon himself, he is bound to make it good notwithstanding accident because he could have provided against it in the contract.
•    Here, the rent is a duty created by the parties, and the Defendant must make it good, notwithstanding interruption by enemies, for the law would not protect him beyond his agreement.  The Defendant lessee must run the burden of casual losses and cannot place the burden on the Plaintiff lessor.  Therefore, the Defendant here remains liable for the unpaid rent.


Here, the court held that the Defendant remained liable for the unpaid rent even though he was unable to retain possession of the property because Defendant bound himself to this agreement and should have provided against such incidents in the contract.  Defendant also should have sought a remedy against the enemies who occupied his property.

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