Chandler v Webster [1904]

Chandler v Webster [1904] 1 KB 493 is a notable English contract law case that deals with the concept of frustration. It emerged as one of several coronation cases following the postponement of King Edward VII's coronation due to his illness. The case revolves around a contractual agreement for the rental of a room on Pall Mall to watch the coronation procession.

Mr Webster agreed to lease a room to Mr Chandler for £141 15s, with the understanding that the payment should be made before the coronation procession on June 26, 1902. Mr Chandler intended to erect a stand in the room and sell tickets. In a letter dated June 10, Mr Chandler confirmed the purchase of the room for £141 15s, paid £100 on June 19, and authorised Mr Webster to sell separate seats. However, the king fell ill, leading to the question of whether Mr Chandler could recover the £100 or if Mr Webster could demand the balance.

In the High Court, Wright J ruled that Mr Chandler was not entitled to recover the £100 payment. The construction of the June 10 letter indicated that the balance was not payable until after the procession, preventing Mr. Chandler from recovering the amount.

In the Court of Appeal, comprising Lord Collins MR, Romer LJ, and Mathew LJ, the decision was upheld. The court held that Mr Chandler could not recover damages before the procession became impossible due to the king's illness.

The Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943, enacted years later, addressed situations like this case. The Act, among other provisions, established that monies provided in advance of contract performance are recoverable in the event of frustration. This reform aimed to rectify perceived injustices in common law rules related to frustrated contracts.

This case exemplifies the challenges and limitations faced by parties in cases of frustration before legislative intervention. The subsequent enactment of the Law Reform Act of 1943 reflected a commitment to creating a fairer and more equitable legal framework in such circumstances.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law


    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory


    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.