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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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We are events company, and I have a client who cancelled their

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We are events company, and I have a client who cancelled their event at the last minute, and under our T&Cs this requires them to pay costs incurred

'If the Client chooses to cancel the Event the Client shall be liable to reimburse the Company for any reasonable expenditure incurred wholly in connection with the provision of the Services and management of the Event up to the date of cancellation that the Company cannot recover.'

They are claiming firstly force majeur and now frustration of contract on basis that their main speakers at the conference were Russian ministers involved in the Ukraine conflict, and were unable therefore to attend the conference.

I see this as failure to completely deprive the contract of its sole commercial purpose, so not fulfilling the criteria of frustration, and indeed as there is no state of war in the UK, or indeed any of the involved countries, there can be no application of force majeur??

I would appreciate a second (and professional) opinion on this before starting on a small claims application

Had they told you that the event was to host the Russian Ministers?

What was the reason for them having the event?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I wasn't aware of the potential involvement of Russian Ministers until the Monday prior to the event (due to happen on Wednesday morning).


I was not aware of the reason for the event, other than by virtue of the name of it

"Capitalizing on Russian Growth" and the potential presence of a Russian TV channel crew.


Please see further detail below


The whole ordering process was very short timescale - they made the first enquiry on Thursday 13th February, I provided a first quote on Friday 14th and attended a site visit and meeting on Monday 17th


The initial written confirmation was given on Wednesday 26th Feb, followed by another email on Thursday 27th saying that they might want to cancel and asking me to hold off on booking/incurring any additional charges.


Re-confirmation was provided on Monday 3rd, at 1pm, verbally, at which point I moved forwards in confirming sub hires and labour bookings etc.


Final cancellation was then made by email at 6pm on Monday 3rd, and then again by email from the next client level in the chain at 1.30pm on the 4th March. These two emails (see below) referenced the 'situation in the Ukraine' and then explicitly the failure of these Ministers to confirm their attendance.


Cancellation 1

Hi Pascale

I am really sorry but I have just been advised by my clients that this event is now definitely cancelled due to the current economic situation in Ukraine.

Please can you instruct all of your staff and suppliers and let me have the cancellation charges in the morning.

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news at this late stage. Please feel free to call me.


Cancellation 2


Dear Pascale,

It is with great regret that I must advise the cancellation of this event under the terms of Force Majeure.

As you are aware, the crisis in Ukraine has deeply disrupted Russian relations with the West and has resulted in cancellation of travel by our primary speakers, who are officials from the Russian Government.

Given the speed of these developments, we are unable to take any remedial action and have no alternative but to cancel due to the third party state of war and civil commotion that has emerged.



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

please also see the following email chain


Me to client: I do understand the difficulties that you are operating under, and the resulting cancellation of the event. Unfortunately due to the fact that we have incurred costs here in the preparation of your event, following the confirmation, we will have to prepare a new invoice to cover these.

As soon as I have full confirmation of the costs I will of course update you.

and then


Please find the invoice for your event attached. I have negotiated a 50% reduction on your behalf for the main invoice, and in addition, have secured a 100% fee waiver for the backdrop, despite the work already undertaken in respect of producing this.

As we received the cancellation for this less than 48 hours prior to the event, and had already confirmed and prepared equipment, crew and suppliers, we are unable to reduce this charge any further.

This is due for payment with immediate effect.

I do hope that we can look forward to working with you in the future, should this event go ahead.


Client to me:

I am in receipt of your invoice, but can only repeat that this cancellation was by no means a voluntary act, but was caused by an event over which we had no control and represents a frustration of contract.

Therefore I regret that I cannot make payment.

Thank you.

I am afraid that if the Russian Ministers were genuinely unable to attend the event as originally envisaged, they could rely on the "frustration of purpose" principle so that the contract is treated as discharged.

I do not know when excatly the Ukraine crisis started but it should have started after the contract was formed for them to rely on frustration.

However, you should not be left out of pocket as a result and should be reimbursed the reasonable expenses as per your terms and conditions which have been incurred up to the cancellation.

Whilst they are excused from future performance, they should still be liable for the charges you have incurred up to the cancellation. This article may help you understand the legal principles:

The easiest way to claim these expenses by court summons is to do so online at

Hope this helps
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