Davis Contractors Ltd v Fareham UDC

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Davis Contractors Ltd v Fareham UDC
Court House of Lords
Full case name Davis Contractors Limited v Fareham Urban District Council
Decided 19 April 1956
Citation(s) [1956] UKHL 3, [1956] AC 696
Case opinions
Lord Reid
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Viscount Simonds, Lord Morton, Lord Reid, Lord Radcliffe, Lord Somervell

Davis Contractors Ltd v Fareham Urban District Council [1956] UKHL 3 is an English contract law case, concerning the frustration of an agreement.


Davis Contractors agreed with Fareham UDC to build 78 houses over eight months for £92,425. It ended up taking 22 months, because Davis was short of labour and materials. It cost £115,223. Davis submitted the contract was frustrated, void, and therefore they were entitled to quantum meruit for the value of work done.


The House of Lords held that although the performance of the contract had become more onerous it was not frustrated. Lord Reid argued that saying frustration was an implied term was fanciful, because people do not write about unforeseeable events. Instead he said the following.[1]

Lord Radcliffe concurred with the result.[2]

argument that failed as well was that an express term was incorporated that the agreed price was binding only if there were in fact adequate supplies of labour and materials.

Australian Law[edit]

Lord Radcliffe's test was approved by the High Court of Australia in Codelfa.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1956] AC 696, 721
  2. ^ [1956] AC 696, 728-9
  3. ^ Codelfa Construction Pty Ltd v State Rail Authority of NSW [1982] HCA 24, (1982) 149 CLR 337 (11 May 1982), High Court.


External links[edit]