frus·tra·tion /ˌfrəs-'trā-shən/ n
1 a: the act of frustrating
b: the state or an instance of being frustrated
c: something that frustrates
2: a common-law doctrine of contract law: parties to a contract may be excused from performance even though performance is still possible if the reason for making the contract is partially or completely frustrated by a fortuitous event or by circumstances which are not the fault of either party – called also frustration of purpose, frustration of the venture; compare cause 4, force majeure clause, impossibility, impracticability
◇ In order for frustration to be used as a successful defense to a breach of contract claim, the reason for making the contract must have been contemplated or recognized by both the contracting parties even though it was not expressed in the contract.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I noun abortive attempt, defeat, failure, foil, futile effort, hindrance, impediment, inability of performance, inability to be completed, incapacity, interference, interruption, noncompletion, nonfulfillment, nonperformance, obstruction, prevention, prevention of accomplishment, thwarted expectation, thwarting, unsatisfied hopes, unsuccessfulness associated concepts: commercial frustration, frustration of purpose, frustration under a contract, impossibility of performance II index abortion (fiasco), aggravation (annoyance), check (bar), deadlock, deterrence, failure (lack of success), impediment, miscarriage

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

the doctrine in the law of contract that allows certain events to release both parties from future performance of their contractual obligations. The events must relate to the frustration of the common object of the contract. 'Frustration of a contract takes place where there supervenes an event (without default of either party and for which the contract makes no sufficient provision) which so significantly changes the nature (not merely the expense or the oner-ousness) of the outstanding contractual rights and/or obligations from what the parties could have reasonably contemplated at the time of its execution that it would be unjust to hold them to the literal sense of its stipulations in the new circumstances; in such case, the law declares both parties to be discharged from further performance.' National Carriers Ltd v. Panalpina (Northern) Ltd [1981] AC 675. Three examples are:
(1) impossibility of performance, whether by the accidental burning of a building or the illness of a singer: Taylor v . Caldwell (1863) 3 B&S 826;
(2) the so-called 'coronation cases', where persons entered contracts expecting that they would see the coronation of the king, for example, from a hotel window. Such contracts were held to have been frustrated as the cancellation of the coronation was a cessation of things going to the root of and essential to the contract: Krell v. Henry [1903] 2 KB 740. The courts, however, did not extend this to cases where this fundamental or essential purpose was not so obvious from the contract: Herne Bay Steamboat Co. v . Hutton [1903] 2 KB 683; (3) supervening illegality will frustrate the contract: Fibrosa Spolka Akeyjina v . Fairbairn, Lawson, Combe, Barbour Ltd [1943] AC 32.
In England, to regulate the difficulties involved in some situations English law has been developed by the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943. The Act provides among other things:
(a) money due but not paid before frustration ceases to be payable and money paid has to be repaid;
(b) a person to whom a prepayment has been made can be allowed a sum in respect of his expenses by the court. The sum must not exceed the prepayment nor the amount actually expended.
The Act even permits a sum in respect of valuable benefits in kind rendered before the frustrating event to be recovered.
Scots law achieved and achieves similar results at common law through its much more developed law of unjust enrichment: Cantiere San Rocco v. Clyde Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. 1923 SC (HL) 24.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

Where a serious event occurs which is both unexpected (so that any contractual force majeure provisions do not cover it) and beyond the control of the parties to a contract, and which will make performance of the contract in the changed circumstances fundamentally different from performance under the contract that the parties originally entered into. This is a common law principle and the courts apply it as narrowly as possible.
Related links

Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. . 2010.

n. Contract law: an inability to carry out a contract or perform a term of the contract due to supervening circumstances beyond the parties' control, such as an event of force majeure.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

In the law of contracts, the destruction of the value of the performance that has been bargained for by the promisor as a result of a supervening event.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

In the law of contracts, the destruction of the value of the performance that has been bargained for by the promisor as a result of a supervening event.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • FRUSTRATION — Le meilleur exemple de frustration est sans doute celui de l’enfant qui cherche à apaiser son désir de savoir en consultant une encyclopédie, et qui se sent frustré par le savoir, pourtant de bon aloi, que cette encyclopédie a pu lui fournir.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Frustration — is an emotional response to circumstances where one is obstructed from arriving at a personal goal. [A Bridge to Simplicity Through Diagrams by Thomas Fargnoli. Page 60] The more important the goal, the greater the frustration. It is comparable… …   Wikipedia

  • Frustration — Frus*tra tion, n. [L. frustratio: cf. OF. frustration.] The act of frustrating; disappointment; defeat; as, the frustration of one s designs. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Frustration — Frustration: Das seit der Mitte des 20. Jh.s belegte Fremdwort bezeichnet in der Fachsprache der Psychologie eine »Enttäuschung durch einen erzwungenen Verzicht, Versagung von Befriedigung«. Vermehrt lässt sich seine Verwendung in jüngster Zeit… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • Frustration — (v. lat.), Täuschung, Vereitelung …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Frustration — (lat.), Vereitelung, Täuschung …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • frustration — act of frustrating, 1550s, from L. frustrationem (nom. frustratio) a deception, a disappointment, noun of action from pp. stem of frustrari (see FRUSTRATE (Cf. frustrate)). Earlier (mid 15c.) with a sense of nullification …   Etymology dictionary

  • frustration — [n] disappointment, thwarting annoyance, bitter pill*, blocking, blow, bummer, chagrin, circumvention, contravention, curbing, defeat, disgruntlement, dissatisfaction, downer*, drag*, failure, fizzle, foiling, grievance, hindrance, impediment,… …   New thesaurus

  • frustration — Frustration, Frustratio …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • frustration — [frə strā′shən] n. [ME frustracioun < L frustratio] 1. a frustrating or being frustrated 2. something that frustrates …   English World dictionary

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