What is a breach of contract?
A breach of contract occurs when one party fails to fulfil the obligations specified in a legally binding agreement or contract. Contracts can take various forms, including written contracts or oral agreements, and they can include express or implied terms. When a breach of contract occurs, it means that one party has failed to perform the contract as agreed, leading to a violation of the terms and conditions laid out in the agreement.
There are several different categories of breach of contract, including:
- Material breach: This type of breach arises when a party fails to perform a significant or essential part of the contract, affecting the overall purpose of the agreement. In such cases, the innocent party may be entitled to terminate the contract and seek damages.
- Minor breach: A minor or partial breach happens when a party fails to perform a minor or less crucial part of the contract. The innocent party may still be entitled to damages, but the breach may not be significant enough to terminate the entire contract.
- Anticipatory breach: An anticipatory breach occurs when one party makes it clear, either through words or actions, that they do not intend to fulfil their contractual obligations. The innocent party can choose to treat the terminate the contract and seek other legal remedies such as damages.
- Fundamental breach: A fundamental breach of contract refers to a serious violation or failure to perform a key or essential part of the contractual obligations, striking at the heart of the contract and undermining its core purpose.
If you are involved in a breach of contract dispute and are looking for expert legal advice, then our firm of commercial solicitors are on hand to assist you.
Our team of specialist breach of contract solicitors at South Bank Legal have many years of experience and use the breadth of the law to achieve favourable outcomes for our clients.
What constitutes a breach of contract?
To make a breach of contract claim, there are certain criteria that must be met, such as evidence that a valid contract exists which is enforceable between the parties. Additionally, a specific breach of the contract must be demonstrated, such as failure to perform, failing to perform in the specified time frame or simply performing a duty incorrectly.
Before beginning the process of making a claim for breach of contract, the innocent party must generally give notice of the breach to the breaching party to give them an opportunity to remedy the breach. In some circumstances, the notice requirements may be specified in the contract itself.
The party bringing the claim must also be able to quantify the extent of damages they have suffered as a result of the contract being breached, such as loss of profits or the costs they have incurred to rectify the breach. There must be a direct link between the breach and the financial damages the innocent party has suffered and it must be shown that the damages would not have occurred if not for the breach of contract.
It’s essential to consult with professional breach of contract lawyers to understand the specific requirements and considerations applicable to your situation. The success of a breach of contract claim often hinges on the careful analysis of the facts and the terms of the contract.
How can breaches be resolved?
A breach of contract claim can be resolved through various means, depending on the nature of the breach, the terms of the contract, and the preferences of the parties involved.
Though a party can still make a claim for a minor breach of contract, a material or fundamental breach is far more likely to give rise to legal action.
The most common methods of resolution include:
- Negotiation: The parties can engage in negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. This may involve discussions, compromises, and modifying the terms of the contract to accommodate both parties.
- Mediation: Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process where a neutral third party, the mediator, helps facilitate communication and negotiations between the parties. The goal is to assist them in reaching a mutually agreeable settlement.
- Arbitration: Arbitration is a more formal alternative to mediation. The parties present their case to a neutral third party (arbitrator) who makes a binding decision. The process is often faster and less formal than going to court.
- Litigation: If alternative dispute resolution methods are unsuccessful, the parties may resort to filing a lawsuit in court. The judge will then make a determination based on the evidence presented, and if a breach is found, may award damages or other remedies.
Remedies for a breach of contract typically include claiming damages, specific performance, and injunctions. Damages aim to compensate for financial loss, while specific performance and injunctions compel parties to fulfil their contractual obligations or prevent further breaches.
The choice of resolution method often depends on factors such as the complexity of the issues, the desire for a quick resolution, the cost involved and the willingness of the parties to work together. It is essential to get advice from a legal professional experienced in contract law to ensure you are in the best position to be successful in your claim.
How can South Bank Legal’s breach of contract lawyers assist?
Our team of breach of contract lawyers are highly experienced in assisting in a range of disputes; whether you are bringing or defending a breach of contract claim, our solicitors can help.
South Bank Legal’s breach of contract lawyers can represent clients in commercial contract disputes involving:
- Contracts to buy a business
- Share purchase agreements (including post-completion warranty claims)
- Shareholder agreements and partnership agreements
- Contracts for the purchase of property (in particular where a buyer wishes to rescind prior to completion due to a misrepresentation by the vendor or vendor’s agent)
- Employment law contracts containing restrictive covenants
- Agency agreements
- Banking facility agreements
- Personal guarantees
- Loan agreements
If you would like to discuss the process of making a breach of contract claim, you can contact South Bank Legal via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0203 1266 584 for a confidential discussion with a breach of contract lawyer to find out how we can assist you.
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