Understanding breach of contract

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Business And Commercial Law

A breach of contract occurs when one party does not fulfill their obligations under a contract’s terms.

This breach can vary in severity from minor to material, and understanding the nuances is important for businesses.

What is a breach of contract?

A breach of contract happens when one party in a contract does not perform their duties as specified in the agreement without a legitimate legal excuse. The breach could be anything from a late payment to a failure to deliver goods or services as promised.

Types of breaches

There are typically two types of breaches: material and minor. A material breach affects the contract’s core, such that the agreement’s purpose is undermined. The non-breaching party can seek damages and often has the right to terminate the contract. A minor breach, on the other hand, occurs when the infraction is less severe, possibly allowing the contract to continue while the harmed party seeks compensation for the breach.

Legal remedies

The main remedies for a breach of contract include specific performance, damages, or cancellation and restitution. Damages are the most common form of remedy and involve the breaching party paying monetary compensation to cover the harm caused. Specific performance may be an option if damages are not adequate; it requires the breaching party to fulfill their obligations under the contract. Cancellation and restitution return the non-breaching party to their position before the contract, canceling the agreement.

Preventing breaches

To avoid breaches, parties should draft clear, detailed contracts. They should understand all terms and conditions before agreeing, ensuring that obligations are realistic and within their capacity. Regular communication throughout the duration of the contract also helps manage expectations and address any issues as they arise.

Breach of contract is a significant risk in any contractual agreement, but understanding its dynamics can help you manage and mitigate potential problems and create and maintain stronger, more effective contractual relationships.