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JC Smith's The Law of Contract

JC Smith's The Law of Contract (3rd edn)

Paul S. Davies
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date: 26 May 2024

p. 39226. Anticipatory breach of contractlocked

p. 39226. Anticipatory breach of contractlocked

  • Paul S. Davies


This chapter examines the doctrine of anticipatory breach, which occurs where, before the time comes for A to perform their part of the contract, A declares that A is not going to do so. This repudiation of the contractual obligation is itself a breach of contract. The innocent party may choose to either accept or reject an anticipatory breach. If they accept, the contract is terminated and the innocent party can sue for damages immediately. If the anticipatory breach is rejected, then the contract remains on foot. If the innocent party elects not to accept the breach and to keep the contract alive, then they may proceed to perform their side of the bargain and sue for the contract price. However, it appears that this action for the agreed sum, or action in debt, may not succeed if the innocent party had no ‘legitimate interest’ in taking such steps.

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