Vanderbilt Law Review


Merton Ferson

First Page



Conditions Precedent. Assume that a contract obligation has been created. When must the obligor perform? In some cases the performances become due by the mere passing of time. But in many cases the performances are not due until and unless certain other events have occurred. These other events are called conditions precedent. Until they come to pass the obligor may omit performance with impunity. He has an excuse that will stay the hand of the obligee. The case of Shadforth v. Higgin' will serve to illustrate the immunity of an obligor when a condition precedent has not come to pass. In that case Shadforth had promised to send, and did send, a ship from England to pick up a cargo in Jamaica. The defendant, Higgin, had promised to provide a cargo, and pay freight on it, on condition that the ship should arrive in Jamaica and be ready to load by the 25th of June. It turned out that the ship did not arrive in Jamaica until July 3d. There was thus a failure to satisfy the express condition precedent--viz, that the ship should arrive and be ready to load by June 25th. The result was that Higgin was excused permanently from his obligation to provide a cargo.

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Contracts Commons