Mar 8, 2015

This case is a useful example of how the doctrine of frustration can be effectively used in Small Claims litigation. In the example provided by this case, it was uncertain whether a contract was concluded between the litigant.

As a result, the common law rules of frustration had to apply due to a situation of a delayed delivery of perishable refrigerated fresh meat. In the absence of the text of a contract to provide clues as to the allocation of risk between the parties, the common law frustration rules had to be applied by the deputy judge in a gap-filler role to allocate the loss in this case.

The following analysis appears key in this case -

96. I find that the frustration of the contract was caused by Cargill’s inability or refusal to load the meat on Mr. Fyffe’s truck, because his spot in the queue was lost when he failed to arrive at 7:00 a.m.. That failure, as discussed above, is not the fault of Jeff Bryan.

97. The Frustrated Contracts Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.34 as amended, allows for parties to a contract to build in provisions which survive the frustration of the original contract, and which impose ongoing obligations in the event of changed circumstances.

98. The contract in question here had no such provisions, and on its frustration it ceased to bind Jeff Bryan.