Condition Precedent: Definition, Clause & Example

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Contractual Capacity: Definition & Cases

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:53 Clause
  • 1:31 Examples
  • 2:10 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Schubert

Jessica is a practicing attorney and has taught law and has a J.D. and LL.M.

This lesson will teach you about what constitutes a condition precedent. You will review the definition, examine a clause and look at examples where condition precedents are utilized.

Definition of Condition Precedent

Let's say that you want to buy a house. You enter into a contract for the purchase of the house. However, you want to make sure that the house is in good condition -- that it has a solid roof, good insulation, and definitely no asbestos -- so you hire an inspector to come and look at it. In your purchasing agreement, you include language which states that a condition of your purchase is that the property must pass inspection.

A condition precedent is a condition or an event that must happen before a contract is in effect. A condition precedent can also trigger what each person must do under a contract. For instance, in the example, the agreement to purchase the house does not become effective until the inspector determines that the property passes inspection. However, if the inspector indicates that the house fails inspection, then there is no binding agreement.


The condition precedent clause can be written in any variety of ways. There is no one correct way to draft a condition precedent clause.

Imagine the following: you will buy ten cars, but only when the cars arrive on November 1st at 3:00 p.m. at your residence, ABC Street. The condition precedent clause would typically look something like this: I agree to purchase ten cars from X, but only upon the arrival of said cars on November 1st, at 3:00 p.m. at ABC Street. Failure to meet this condition precedent will make the contract immediately ineffective.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account