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Is the current pandemic an event which will allow me to argue that the lease has been ‘frustrated’?

This is unlikely. Frustration is a doctrine rarely used as a way of getting out of leases. It operates to bring a lease to an early end because of the effect of a supervening event. It is then not a concept readily applicable to a situation where one party is looking to get out of a lease. To be able to argue the doctrine of frustration, you must be able to demonstrate that something unforeseeable has happened that makes it impossible to fulfil the lease and unjust to hold a party to its obligations.

This is not something that can be demonstrated easily.

There was a case in the High Court last year when the doctrine of frustration was looked at in a case involving the European Medical Agency.

The court found that Brexit did not frustrate EMA’s lease. EMA was granted leave to appeal that decision to the Court of Appeal, but unfortunately, the parties settled out of court so the arguments were not tested in the higher court.

Another reason why frustration is likely to fail is an argument that, whilst the current lockdown may force closures to businesses and whilst such closures maybe for a lengthy period, such closures will only be temporary.