contingency principle
An instrument will be subject to stamp duty by reference to its effect and to the circumstances as they exist at the time when it is executed. However, if at the time the relevant instrument is executed, it is not possible to determine the consideration, the Stamp Office will apply the contingency principle. Under this principle all contingencies are ignored and if the relevant instrument sets a maximum limit for the consideration, stamp duty will be payable on this amount. In circumstances where no maximum amount is stated but a minimum amount is set, then that figure will be taken as the consideration payable. Where the consideration is expressed as a formula or by reference to a benchmark figure, relevant case law will in most cases indicate the manner in which the Stamp Office might apply the contingency principle.
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Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. . 2010.

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