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(p. 473) Part VI Breach and remedies for breach 

(p. 473) Part VI Breach and remedies for breach
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‘What can I get if you break the contract?’

Introduction

In Part VI, we examine the end of the life of a contract. A contract may be lawfully brought to an end by:

  1. (i) full performance: the overwhelming majority of contracts are discharged by due performance, they are ‘spent’; the lawyer’s role in these contracts is in drafting the initial contract;

  2. (ii) agreement: this is a modification of the original contract and must normally be supported by consideration (see 3.1.5). If neither party has started or finished performance, consideration is provided by each party giving up his or her rights against the other;

  3. (iii) operation of a term in the contract: which stipulates that the contract will come to an end on the happening of an event (not amounting to breach), or that one party can serve notice to cancel or terminate the contract under certain conditions (see 12.2.3.2(ii)–(iii));

  4. (iv) operation of the law: as where contracts are frustrated (see Chapter 7);

  5. (v) termination for breach of contract: the scope of an innocent party’s right to terminate the contract for the defendant’s breach is discussed in Chapter 12.

Introductory Diagram A gives a brief overview of how contracts may be brought to an end.

Contract parties are entitled to performance in accordance with the terms of the contract (see Part V). Contracts that are made and performed simultaneously (eg buying a bus ticket) require little support from contract law while those involving a time lag between contract formation and performance (eg a building contract) are vitally dependent on contract law’s remedial regime. Breach of contract opens the gateway to a menu of remedies to innocent parties who meet the qualifying conditions. Introductory Diagram B gives an overview of these remedies. The innocent party may claim:

  • termination: call the contract off (Chapter 12);

  • damages: obtain monetary compensation for the breach (Chapter 13); (p. 474)

  • specific performance: compel the contract-breaker to do what he or she undertook in the contract (Chapter 14).

The relationship between these remedies can be complicated. A diagram in Chapter 14 (Diagram 14A) suggests an approach to problem questions on remedies for breach.


Part VI Introductory Diagram A: Overview of the end of a contract

Part VI Introductory Diagram A:
Overview of the end of a contract

(p. 475)

Part VI Introductory Diagram B: Overview of remedies for breach of contract

Part VI Introductory Diagram B:
Overview of remedies for breach of contract

(p. 476)