What is Condition?

Legal Definition
Contracts, wills. In its most extended signification, a condition is a clause in a contract or agreement which has for its object to suspend, to rescind, or to modify the principal obligation; or in case of a will, to suspend, revoke, or modify the devise or bequest. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 730. It ii in fact by itself, in many cases, an agreement; and a sufficient foundation as an agreement in writing, for a bill in equity, praying for a specific performance. 2 Burr. 826. In pleading, according to the course of the common Iaw, the bond and its condition are to some intents and purposes, regarded as distinct things. 1 Saund. Rep. by Wms. 9 b. Domat has given a definition of a condition, quoted by Hargrave, in these words: "A condition is any portion or agreement which regulates what the parties have a mind should be done, if a case they foresee should come to pass." Co. Litt. 201 a.

2. Conditions sometimes suspend the obligation; as, when it is to have no effect until they are fulfilled; as, if I bind myself to pay you one thousand dollars ou condition that the ship Thomas Jefferson shall arrive in the United States from Havre; the contract is suspended until the arrival of the ship.

3. The condition sometimes rescinds the contract; as, when I sell you my horse, on condition that he shall be alive on the first day of January, and he dies before that time.

4. A condition may modify the contract; as, if I sell you two thousand bushels of corn, upon condition that my crop shall produce that much, and it produces only fifteen hundred bushels.

5. In a less extended acceptation, but in a true sense, a condition is a future and uncertain event, on the existence or non-existence of which is made to depend, eitther the accomplishment, the modification, or the rescission of an obligation or testamentary disposition.

6. There is a marked difference between a condition and a limitation. When a in is given generally, but the gift may defeated upon the happening of an uncertain event, the latter is called a condition but when it is given to be enjoyed until the event arrives, it is a limitation. See Limitation; Estates. It is not easy to say when a condition will be considered a covenant and when not, or when it will be holden to be both. Platt on Cov. 71.

7. Events foreseen by conditions are of three kinds. Some depend on the acts of the persons who deal together, as, if the agreement should provide that a partner should not join another partnership. Others are independent of the will of the parties, as, if I sell you one thousand bushels of corn,. on condition that my crop shall not be destroyed by a fortuitous event, or act of God. Some depend in part on the contracting parties and partly on the act of God, as, if it be provided that such merchandise shall arrive by a certain day.

8. A condition may be created by inserting the very word condition, or on condition, in the deed or agreement; there are, however, other words that will do so as effectually, as proviso, if, &c. Bac. Ab. Conditions, A.

9. Conditions are of various kinds; 1. as to their form, they are express or implied. This division is of feudal origin. 2 Woodes. Lect. 138. 2. As to their object, they are lawful or unlawful; 3. as to the time when they are to take effect, they are precedent or subsequent; 4. as to their nature, they are possible or impossible 5. as to their operation, they are positive or negative; 6. is to their divisibility, they are copulative or disjunctive; 7. as to their agreement with the contract, they are consistent or repugnant; 8. as to their effect, they are resolutory or suspensive. These will be severally considered.

10. An express condition is one created by express words; as for instance, a condition in a lease that if the tenant shall not pay the rent at the day, the lessor may reenter. Litt. 328. Vide Reentry.

11. An implied condition is one created by law, and not by express words; for example, at common law, the tenant for life holds upon the implied condition not to commit waste. Co. Litt. 233, b.

12 . A lawful or legal condition is one made in consonance with the law. This must be understood of the law as existing at the time of making the condition, for no change of the law can change the force of the condition. For example, a conveyance was made to the grantee, on condition that he should not aliens until be reached the age of twenty-five years. Before he acquired this age be aliened, and made a second conveyance after he obtained it; the first deed was declared void, and the last valid. When the condition was imposed, twenty-five was the age of majority in the state; it was afterwards changed to twenty-one. Under these circumstances the condition was held to be binding. 3 Miss., R. 40.

13. An unlawful or illegal condition is one forbidden by law. Unlawful conditions have for their object, lst. to do something malum in se, or malum prohibitum; 2d. to omit the performance of some duty required by law 3d. to encourage such act or omission. 1 P. Wms. 189. When the law prohibits, in express terms, the transaction in respect to which the condition is made, and declares it void, such condition is then void; 3 Binn. R. 533; but when it is prohibited, without being declared void, although unlawful, it is not void. 12 S. @ R. 237. Conditions in restraint of marriage are odious, and are therefore held to the utmost rigor and strictness. They are contrary to sound policy, and by the Roman law were all void. 4 Burr. Rep. 2055; 10 Barr. 75, 350; 3 Whart. 575.

14. A condition precedent is one which must be performed before the estate will vest, or before the obligation is to be performed. 2 Dall. R. 317. Whether a condition shall be considered as precedent or subsequent, depends not on the form or arrangement of the words, but on the manifest intention of the parties, on the fair construction of the contract. 2 Fairf. R. 318; 5 Wend. R. 496; 3 Pet, R. 374; 2 John. R. 148; 2 Cain es, R. 352; 12 Mod. 464; 6 Cowen, R. 627 9 Wheat. R. 350; 2 Virg. Cas. 138 14 Mass. R. 453; 1 J. J. Marsh. R. 591 6 J. J. Marsh. R. 161; 2 Bibb, R. 547 6 Litt. R. 151; 4 Rand. R. 352; 2 Burr. 900

15. A subsequent condition is one which enlarges or defeats an estate or right, already created. A conveyance in fee, reserving a life estate in a part of the land, and made upon condition that the grantee shall pay certain sums of money at divers times to several persons, passes the fee upon condition subsequent. 6 Greenl. R. 106. See 1 Burr. 39, 43; 4 Burr. 1940. Sometimes it becomes of great importance to ascertain whether the condition is precedent or subsequent. When a precedent condition becomes impossible by the act of God, no estate or right vests; but if the condition is subsequent, the estate or right becomes absolute. Co. Litt. 206, 208; 1 Salk. 170.

16. A possible condition is one which may be performed, and there is nothing in the laws of nature to prevent its performance.

17. An impossible condition is one which cannot be accomplished according to the laws of nature; as, to go from the United States to Europe in one day.; such a condition is void. 1 Swift's Dig. 93; 5 Toull. n. 242-247. When a condition becomes impossible by the act of God, it either vests the estate, or does not, as it is precedent or subsequent: when it is the former, no estate vests when the latter, it becomes absolute. Co. Litt. 206, a, 218, a; 3 Pet. R. 374; 1 Hill. Ab. 249. When the performance of the condition becomes impossible by the act of the party who imposed it, the estate is rendered absolute. 5 Rep. 22; 3 Bro. Parl. Cas. 359. Vide 1 Paine's R. 652; Bac. Ab. Conditions, M; Roll. Ab. 420; Co. Litt. 206; 1 Rop. Leg. 505; Swinb. pt. 4, s. 6; Inst. 2, 4, 10; Dig. 28, 7, 1; Id. 44, 7, 31; Code 6, 25, 1; 6 Toull. n. 486, 686 and the article Impossibility.

18. A positive condition requires that the event contemplated shall happen; as, If I marry. Poth. Ob. part 2, c. 3, art. 1, 1. 19. A negative condition requires that the event contemplated shall not happen as If I do not marry. Potb. Ob. n. 200.

20. A copulative condition, is one of several distinct-matters, the whole of which are made precedent to the vesting of an estate or right. In this case the entire condition must be performed, or the estate or right can never arise or take place. 2 Freem. 186. Such a condition differs from a disjunctive condition, which gives to the party the right to perform the one or the other; for, in this case, if one becomes impossible by the act of God, the whole will, in general, be excused. This rule, however, is not without exception. 1 B. & P. 242; Cro. Eliz. 780; 5 Co. 21; 1 Lord Raym. 279. Vide Conjunctive; Disjunctive.

21. A disjunctive condition is one which gives the party to be affected by it, the right to perform one or the other of two alternatives.

22. A consistent condition is one which agrees with other parts of the contract.

23. A repugnant condition is one which is contrary to the contract; as, if I grant to you a house and lot in fee, upon condition that you shall not aliene, the condition is repugnant and void, as being inconsistent with the estate granted. Bac. Ab. Conditions L; 9 Wheat. 325; 2 Ves. jr. 824.

24. A resolutory condition in the civil law is one which has for its object, when accomplished the revocation of the principal obligation. This condition does not suspend either the existence or the execution of the obligation, it merely obliges the creditor to return what he has received.

25. A suspensive condition is one which susends the fulfilment of the obligation until it has been performed; as, if a man bind himself to pay one -hundred dollars, upon condition that the ship Thomas Jefferson shall arrive from Europe. The obligation, in this case, is suspended until the arrival of the ship, when the condition having been performed, the obligation becomes absolute , and it is no longer conditional. A suspensive condition is in fact a condition precedent.

26. Pothier further divides conditions into potestative, casual and mixed.

27. A potestative condition is that which is in the power of the person in whose favor it is contracted; as, if I engage to give my neighbor a sum of money, in case he outs down a tree which obstructs my. prospect. Poth. Obl. Pt. 2, c. 3, art. 1, 1.

28. A casual condition is one which depends altogether upon chance, and not in the power of the creditor, as the following: if I have children; if I have no children; if such a vessel arrives in the United States, &c. Poth. Ob. n. 201.

29. A mixed condition is one which depends on the will of the creditor and of a third person; as, if you marry my cousin. Poth. Ob. n. 201. Vide, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Persons. The situation in civil society which creates certain relations between the individual, to whom it is applied, and one or more others, from which mutual rights and obligations arise. Thus the situation arising from marriage gives rise to the conditions of husband and wife that of paternity to the conditions of father and child. Domat, tom. 2, liv. 1, tit. 9, s. 1, n. 8.

2. In contracts every one is presume to know the condition of the person with whom he deals. A man making a contract with an infant cannot recover against him for a breach of the contract, on the ground that he was not aware of his condition.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
In the civil law. The rank, situation, or degree of a particular person in some one of the different orders of society. An agreement or stipulation in regard to some uncertain future event, not of the essential nature of the transaction, but annexed to it by the parties, providing for a change or modification of their legal relations upon its occurrence. Mackeld. Rom. Law, § 184. Classification. In the civil law, conditions are of the following several kinds: The casual condition' is that which depends on chance, and is in no way in the power either of the creditor or of the debtor. Civ. Code La, art. 2023. A mixed condition is one that depends at the same time on the will of one of the parties and on the will of a third person, or on the will of one of the parties and also on a casual event. Civ. Co.de La. art 2025. The potestative condition is that which makes the execution of the agreement depend on an event which it is in the power of the one or the other of the contracting parties to bring about or to hinder. Civ. Code La. art. 2024. A resolutory or dissolving condition is that which, when accomplished, operates the revocation of the obligation, placing matters in the same state as though the obligation had not existed. It does not suspend the execution of the obligation. It only obliges the creditor to restore what he has received in case the event provided for in the condition takes place. Civ. Code La. art. 2045; Moss v. Smoker, 2 La. Ann. 991. A suspensive condition is that which depends, either on afuture and uncertain event, or on an event which bas actually token place, without its being yet known to the parties. In the former case, the obligation cannot be executed till after the event; in the latter, the obligation has its effect from the day on which it was contracted, but it cannot be enforced until the event be known. Civ. Co.de La. art. 2043 : New Orleans v Railroad Co., 171 U. S. 312, 18 Sup. Ct. 875, 48 L. Ed. 178; Moss v. Smoker, 2 La. Ann. 991. In French law. In French law, the following peculiar distinctions are made:

(1) A condition is casuelle when it depends on a chance or hazard;

(2) a condition is potestative when it depends on the accomplishment of something which is in the power of the party to accomplish;

(3) a condition is mixte when It depends partly on the will of the party and partly on the will of others;

(4) a condition is suspensive when it ls a future and uncertain event, or present but unknown event, upon which an obligation takes or fails to take effort;

(5) a condition is resolutoire when it is the event which undoes an obligation which has already had effect as such. Brown. In common law. The rank, situation, or degree of a particular person in some one of the different orders of society; or his status or situation, considered as a juridicial person, arising from positive law or the institutions of society. Thili v. Pohlman, 76 Iowa, 638, 41 N. W. 385. ' A clause in a contract or agreement which has for its object to suspend, rescind, or modify the principal obligation, or, in case of a will, to suspend, revoke, or modlfy the devise or bequest. Towle v. Remsen, 70 N. Y. 303. A modus or quality annexed by him that hath an estate, or interest or right to the same, whereby an estate, etc., may either be defeated, enlarged, or created upon an uncertain event. Co. Litt. 201a. A qualification or restriction annexed to a conveyance of lands, whereby it ls provided that in case a particular event does or does not happen, or in case the grantor or grantee does or omits to do a particular act, an estate shall commence, be enlarged, or be defeated. Heaston v. Randolph County, 20 Ind. 398; Cooper v. Green, 28 Ark. 54; State v. Board of Public Works, 42 Ohio St. 615; Selden v. Pringle, 17 Barb. (N. Y.) 465. Classification. The different kinds of conditions known to the common law may be arranged and described as follows: They are either express or implied, the former when incorporated in express terms in the deed, contract, lease, or grant; the latter, when inferred or presumed by law, from the nature of the transaction or the conduct of the parties, to have been tacitly understood between them as a part of the agreement, though not expressly mentioned. 2 Crabb, Reni Prop. p. 792; Bract, fol. 47; Civ. Co.de La. art 2076; Raley v. Umatilla County, 15 Or. 172, i3 Pan. 890, 3 Am. St. Rep. 142. Express and implied conditions are also called by the older writers, respectively, conditions in deed (or in fact, the Law French term being conditions en fait) and conditions in law. Co.. Litt. 201 a. They are possible or impossible; the former when they admit of performance in the ordinary course of events; the latter when it is contrary to the course of nature or human limitations that they should ever be performed. They are lawful or unlawful; the former when their character is not in violation of any rule, principle, or policy of law; the latter when they are such as the law will not allow to be made. They are consistent or repugnant; the former when they are in harmony and concord with the other parts of the transaction; the latter when they contradict, annul, or neutralize ths main purpose of the contract Repugnant conditions are also called "insensible." They are affirmative or negative; the former being a condition which consists in doing a thing; as provided that the lessee shall pay rent, etc., and the latter being a condition which consists in not doing a thing; as provided that the lessee shall not alien, etc. Shep. Touch. 118. They are precedent or subsequent. A condition precedent is one which must happen or be performed before the estate to which it is annexed can vest or be enlarged ; or it is one which is to be performed before some right dependent thereon accrues, or some act dependent thereon is performed. Towle v. Remsen. 70 N. Y. 309: Jones v. U. S., 96 U. S. 26, 24 L. Ed. 644; Redman v. Insurance Co., 49 Wis. 431, 4 N. W. 591; Beatty's Estate v. Western Co.llege, 177 111. 280, 52 N. E. 482, 42 In R. A. 797, 69 Am. St. Rep. 242; Warner v. Bennett, 31 Conn. 475; Blean v. Messenger, 33 N. J. Law, 503. A condition subsequent is one annexed to an estate already vested, by the performance of which such estate is kept and continued, and by the failure or non-performance of which it is defeated; or it is a condition referring to a fufure event, upon the happening of which the obligation becomes no longer binding upon the other party, if he chooses to avail himself of the condition. Co.. Litt. 201; 2 Bl. Comm. 154; Civ. Co.de Cal. § 1436; Co.de Ga. § 2722; Goff v. Pensenhafer, 190 111. 200, 60 N. El 110; Moran v. Stewart, 173 Mo. 207, 73 S. W. 177; Hague v. Ahrens, 53 Fed. 58, 3 C. C. A. 426; Towle v. Remsen. 70 N. Y. 309; Chapin v. School Dist., 35 N. H. 450; Blanchard v. Railroad Co., 31 Mich. 49, 18 Am. Rep. 142; Co.'oper v. Green, 28 Aria 54. Conditions may also be positive (requiring that a specified event shall happen or an act be done) and restrictive or negative, the latter being such as impose an obligation not to do a particular thing, as, that a lessee shall not alien or sub-let or commit waste, or the like, Shep. Touch 118. They may be single, copulative, or disjunctive. Those of the first kind require the performance of one specified thing only; those of the second kind require the performance of divers acts or things; those of the third kind require the performance of one of several things. Shep. Touch. 118. Conditions may also be independent, dependent, or mutual. They belong to the first class when each of the two conditions must be performed without any reference to the other; to the second class when the performance of one condition is not obligatory until the actual performance of the other; and to the third class when neither party need perform his condition unless the other is ready and willing to perform his, or, in other words, when the mutual covenants go to the whole consideration on both sides and each is precedent to the other. Huggins v. Daley, 99 Fed. 609, 40 C. C. A. 12, 48 L. R. A. 320. The following varieties may also he noted: A condition collateral is one requiring the performance of a collateral act having no necessary relation to the main subject of the agreement. A compulsory condition is one which expressly requires a thing to be done, as, that a lessee shall pay a specified sum of money on a certain day or his lease shall be void. Shep. Touch. 118. Concurrent conditions are those which are mutually dependent and are to be performed at the same time. Civ. Co.de Cal. § 1437. A condition inherent is one annexed to the rent reserved out of the land whereof the estate is made, or rather, to the estate in the land, in respect of rent. Shep. Touch. 118. Synonyms distinguished. A "condition" is to be distinguished from a limitation, in that the latter may be to or for the benefit of a stranger, who may then take advantage of its determination, while only the grantor, or those who stand in his place, can take advantage of a condition, (Hoselton v. Hosel-ton, 166 Mo. 182, 65 S. W. 1005; Steams v. Gofrey, 16 Me. 158;) and in that a limitation ends the estate without entry or claim, which is not true of a condition. It also differs from a conditional limitation; for in the latter the estate is limited over to a third person, while in case of a simple condition it reverts to the grantor, or his heirs or devisees, (Church v. Grant, 3 Gray [Mass.] 147, 63 Am. Dec. 725.) It differs also from a covenant, which can be made by either grantor or grantee, while only the grantor can make a condition, (Co. Litt. 70.) A charge ls a devise of land with a bequest out of the subject-matter, and a charge upon the devisee personally, in respect of the estate devised, gives him an estate on condition. A condition also differs from a remainder; for, while the former may operate to defeat the estate before Its natural termination, the latter cannot take effect until the completion of the preceding estate.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A restriction; a circumstance as distinguished from a cause. See 29 Fla. 590, 10 South. 590.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary