Condition precedent

Condition precedent

Condition precedent refers to an event or state of affairs that is required before something else will occur. In contract law a condition precedent is an event which must occur, unless its non-occurrence is excused, before performance under a contract becomes due, i.e., before any contractual duty arises.[1]

For instance, in the sentence "Jack will only go to heaven after he has died," the death of Jack is a condition precedent to Jack going to heaven (although it is also possible in this example for the occurrence of other conditions precedent to be needed before Jack goes to heaven: it is not stated that Jack will necessarily go to heaven if he dies).

In estate and trust law, it is a provision in a will or trust that prevents the vesting of a gift or bequest until something occurs or fails to occur, e.g. the attainment of a certain age or the predecease of another person.

For comparison, a condition subsequent brings a duty to an end whereas a condition precedent initiates a duty.


  • Poussard v Spiers and Pond (1876) 1 QBD 410

See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Condition precedent — Precedent Pre*ced ent, a. [L. praecedens, entis, p. pr. of praecedere: cf. F. pr[ e]c[ e]dent. See {Precede}.] Going before; anterior; preceding; antecedent; as, precedent services. Shak. A precedent injury. Bacon. [1913 Webster] {Condition… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • condition precedent — noun a condition imposed on an agreement that must be satisfied before property is transferred between parties …   Wiktionary

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  • remainder subject to a condition precedent — See: contingent remainder Category: Wills, Trusts & Estates Nolo’s Plain English Law Dictionary. Gerald N. Hill, Kathleen Thompson Hill. 2009 …   Law dictionary

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