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Breach of Contract

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 25 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Breach Of Contract

Breach of contract basically means that one or more of the terms and conditions laid out in a contract has been broken. Breaching a contract may lead to the contract breaking down completely and can easily lead to legal action and claims for damages in a law court.

Common Breaches of Contract

When any contract is made an agreement is formed between parties to carry out a service and payment for that service. If one of the parties fails to carry out their side of the agreement then the party can be said to be in breach of contract. Breach of contract can also occur if work carried out is defective or if one party makes the other aware that they will not be carrying out the agreed work.

Breaches of contract can also include non payment for a service or not paying on time, failure to deliver services or goods, and being late with services without a reasonable excuse. Terms and conditions are a fundamental part of a legally binding contract and any broken terms can lead to breach of contract.

Types of Breach of Contract

The main types of breach of contract will be minor, material, fundamental, and anticipatory. Minor breaches can be, for example, a builder who substitutes his own type of materials for specified materials. The substituted materials may work just as well as the specified but it can still be seen as a minor breach of contract.

A material breach can be a breach that has serious consequences on the outcome of the contract. A fundamental breach would be one so serious that the contract has to be terminated. An anticipatory breach is one where one of the parties makes it known that they will not be carrying out agreed work, and the consequences can be termination of the contract and damages being sought in court.

Damages for Breach of Contract

Damages can be awarded to an innocent party if a law court upholds that a contract has been breached. Damages will be used to compensate the innocent party for their loss due to the breach. These damages are usually a remuneration that will reflect the loss. For example, if an employer dismissed an employee unfairly then the employee could claim damages for loss of earnings under breach of contract. Damages can be awarded even if there has been no actual loss, the innocent party will then usually be awarded nominal damages.

Proof of Breach

If a dispute does occur due to breach of contract then the judge will need to decide that a legally binding contract does exist and that it has been breached. In some cases the contract may only be a verbal contract and there may be no actual written evidence that a contract was formed. In such cases a judge will need to go over the terms and conditions of the contract and clarify what actually took place in practice.

Entitlement to damages may be awarded if the innocent party can prove that a breach of contract took place. The innocent party must prove that there was a loss due to the breach and that the nature of the loss would lead to compensation. Remoteness of loss will also be taken into consideration by the courts and may include future loss that could reasonably occur from the contract being broken.

Other Damages due to Breach of Contract

Other losses can include loss of profits, the cost of rectifying the breach and wasted expenditure. If disputes do end up in the law courts then the amount awarded may come down to how much documented proof the claimant has regarding financial loss. This can include actual records and document proof of financial loss due to the breach. However, if there is little proof, damages can still be awarded, this will be down to the judge ascertaining all of the facts of the case and not relying solely on documented proof.

Breaching a contract can be a serious offence and is a very common reason for lawsuits. Anyone considering court action due to breach of contract should seek expert legal advice before proceeding. Court disputes are a lengthy and costly procedure and the legal costs should be weighed up against the likely damages awarded.

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On a Monday evening I run a small auction at a local sports and social club. There has been an auction held at the club for over 30 years and I have been in charge for the past 12 months. I pay a £35 a week to hire the room and my customers buy drinks from the bar. Last Friday I was informed that the club committee had decided to end the auction. Although there is no written contract would I be able to prove breach of verbal contract in these circumstances?
mrsp - 25-Sep-18 @ 2:37 PM
Hello, when my husband received his wages yesterday, he was short pay and he checked with the payroll and ' they said the court brought a letter and asked for £185 plus to be paid to them from his wages and they paid the above amount without informing or seek the consent of my husband. Please is that not breach of contact? my husband was so upset and the employer are saying that he should not be. Please advice. Thank you for your time.
Omo - 23-Sep-18 @ 12:19 AM
@DGSH - you would have to apply to court, unfortunately.
EB - 17-Sep-18 @ 11:33 AM
A pony went on loan in Aug 17. The loaner was offered to purchase the pony towards the end of the loan in July 18. However, the loaner is refusing return the pony citing various inaccurate reasons. What do we need to do?
DGSH - 15-Sep-18 @ 10:06 PM
@Maripon - unfortunately, yes, it is tough luck for you. There is little you can do about this.
HanN - 13-Sep-18 @ 11:16 AM
I recently entered a contract with Oxford Motorrad. I agreed to buy a used motorcycle from them with a part ex. I paid my deposit and received relevant paperwork which I signed and returned. I was then contacted by the vendor to inform me that the Bike I was purchasing had already been sold. They returned my deposit. Is it a case of tough luck for me?
Maripon - 12-Sep-18 @ 4:34 PM
@Shazfane I guess they're not breaking their contract if you are in what is termed as a 'regeneration' site and also the HA cannot determine whether neighbours will cause trouble. Your only recourse is to complain again.
RicN - 17-Aug-18 @ 12:54 PM
Paulie - Your Question:
Hi I sold my house to my now ex in 2005 for half the valuation, thought then I would need to go bankrupt and trying to keep a roof over my children's heads. I didn't go bankrupt, the agreement I made with my ex was the equity in the property would be any maintenance payments if we ever did split up. We did split in 2014 and one of our children came to live with me. She has since made a claim with child maintenance who say any private contacts are only valid for 12 months. Long and short of it our contract was she had the house and everything in it and no further maintenance would be due. ( my house and she never worked or contributed to it from purchasing in 2000 thru to split 2104). Now I am arguing with cms 1. We have one child each so nothing is due, I work full time plus, to provide for the child with me. Long and short is I had a contract with my ex maintenance was paid in advance by way of 75k equity to provide for 2 children. One child lives with me £0 contribution from her. How do I move forward with breach of contract. Am I entitled to the equity I gave her for both children as we have one each and I neither want or need anything from her? Trying to articulate this think I need to drop the £££££ to legal advise.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, the personal agreement you made with your wife is not legally enforceable in a court of law and in fact (I'm sorry to say) is is possibly not worth the paper it is written on (especially with regards to CMS). Even if made in a court of law, child maintenance agreement agreements can be re-assessed after one year (in the view that circumstances change). However, if a court consent order was made before March 3, 2003 and it contained an agreed order for child maintenance then this is not subjected to the 12-month rule. Any consent order made by the courts after 2003 can. With regards to your one child coming to live with you, this would have to be assessed by CMS and if your ex is not earning a salary, then you would have to pay child maintenance to help support your child living with her. If she is earning a salary similar to you, then child maintenance can be negated (all things being equal). The equity your ex received from the property would be considered a different matter and therefore you would have to deal with this through court if you wished to try to claim it back (if your ex does not agree). However, it is unlikely a court would rule not to force your ex to sell the house if your children are still in full-time education. The court would have to judge whether the money can be split post- your children reaching 18. For this, you would have to seek legal advice to see whether you have a case. I hope this helps clarify your issue.
ContractsAndAgreements - 17-Aug-18 @ 11:38 AM
Ann - Your Question:
Hi, Bellway had agreed to provide rear turf as an incentive on my new build property. I moved in on the 25th May, after several requests this has not been completed. The rear garden has been condemned by landscapers due to bolders and tones in the garden and the builders have not requested the ground workers to remove them. Many properties that were occupied weeks after mine have been completed and there has been substantial landscaping on the site. I have put up with an unusual and actual dangerous back garden for 3 months , when it rains the silt runs all over the path which needs constantly cleaning. I am considering legal action and not sure which way to go, it appears to me they have breached the sales contract which has in writing the agreed incentive. Any thoughts? Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to complain directly to the contractor. A letter such as this may be suffice to get things moving, (please see link here. You may wish to omit paragraph 5. Court would be the next option.
ContractsAndAgreements - 17-Aug-18 @ 10:20 AM
Hi I sold my house to my now ex in 2005 for half the valuation, thought then I would need to go bankrupt and trying to keep a roof over my children's heads. I didn't go bankrupt, the agreement I made with my ex was the equity in the property would be any maintenance payments if we ever did split up. We did split in 2014 and one of our children came to live with me. She has since made a claim with child maintenance who say any private contacts are only valid for 12 months. Long and short of it our contract was she had the house and everything in it and no further maintenance would be due. ( my house and she never worked or contributed to it from purchasing in 2000 thru to split 2104). Now I am arguing with cms 1. We have one child each so nothing is due, I work full time plus, to provide for the child with me. Long and short is I had a contract with my ex maintenance was paid in advance by way of 75k equity to provide for 2 children. One child lives with me £0 contribution from her. How do I move forward with breach of contract. Am I entitled to the equity I gave her for both children as we have one each and I neither want or need anything from her?. Trying to articulate this think I need to drop the £££££ to legal advise.
Paulie - 17-Aug-18 @ 3:44 AM
Hi, Bellway had agreed to provide rear turf as an incentive on my new build property. I moved in on the 25th May, after several requests this has not been completed. The rear garden has been condemned by landscapers due to bolders and tones in the garden and the builders have not requested the ground workers to remove them. Many properties that were occupied weeks after mine have been completed and there has been substantial landscaping on the site. I have put up with an unusual and actual dangerous back garden for 3 months , when it rains the silt runs all over the path which needs constantly cleaning. I am considering legal action and not sure which way to go, it appears to me they have breached the sales contract which has in writing the agreed incentive. Any thoughts? Thanks
Ann - 16-Aug-18 @ 6:35 PM
Hi I agreed, in email, for a builder to so some work on my property so long as it could be done in August. I need the work done in August as I work in a school and am taking annual leave to be present when the work is being done. They replied that the scaffold would go up on the 25th July and work would start on the 1st August and requested a deposit which I duly paid. The scaffold didn't go up on the 25th and when I tried to contact the builder I got no response; it did go up the next day so I thought all was well. No workmen showed up yesterday or again today. I have been trying to get in touch with the builder and the officeby phone, texting and email of for over a week but had no response whatsoever. His mobile is now unavailable. So the position is that the scaffold is up but no work is being done. I sent a letter by recorded delivery to the business address and the registered office address which arrived today in which I stated that if I don't hear from them by 9am on Monday 6th August I will assume that they can't do the job (for whatever reason) and I will look to appoint another firm - there is one who could start at the end of next week. Where do I stand legally? Can I assume that the builder is in breach of contract as work didn't start when they said it would? If I appoint another builder could the initial builder sue me? Many thanks
Vicky - 2-Aug-18 @ 4:31 PM
Dan - Your Question:
Hi I’ve on going dispute with my car company. Back in March I took out a lease agreement for a vehicle. There was two requirements I wanted, cruise control and parking sensors, and I had this put into the contract. The car they provided did not provide me with parking sensors. They spent 2 months messing me about/ignoring emails/arranging appointments to have them fixed but then when I got there informed me they didn’t have enough time to do it so to rebook and would ring me - never did. I therefore got to the stage where I said enough was enough I did not want to continue the agreement with them and I said as they had failed in there contractual obligations the contract wasn’t valid and for the car to be returned and my money too. They disputed this with me saying basically as the car drove it wasn’t a breach despite it clearly (and they’ve acknowledged) it mentions the sensors in the contractual agreement (I’m paying extra for it as well) so I’ve tries going down the route of cba but they haven’t got back to me and just keep saying they are really busy, the ombudsman has acknowledged my complaint but it’s nearly 2 months and I’ve not heard anything. I want to take them to court but I don’t know how to, please can you advise? Regards dan

Our Response:
If you have specifically requested parking sensors and it the company has repeatedly refused to have them fittted, then you would really have to seek legal advice regarding this matter due to the complexity of the issue. The Citizens Advice Bureau or a legal adviser will be able to tell you whether you have a strong case with respect to the terms of the contract.
ContractsAndAgreements - 31-Jul-18 @ 3:28 PM
Gouchy - Your Question:
I have gone through a disciplinary procedure in work for an alleged security breach which I lost yet I was never shown the evidence so could not defend myself, after being accused more evidence was added by my Manager, a conflict of interest, who was also the decision maker and again I was never asked why?The Decision Manager was replaced, not at my request, who then went on to intimidate me so I asked for them to be removed, which under the company procedures I am allowed to do, they refused to remove themselves and found me guilty of actions which in the first case I was never shown and for the other accusation, I was never asked why.The penalty was that I was told that I was not allowed to apply for promotion for a year and it would remain on my file that I had breached securityI appealed on the facts that their own disciplinary procedures hadn't been followed, which they align with ACAS guidelines and again lost. Can I take this to civil court for breach of contract and if so how do I go about it please?

Our Response:
You can bring a claim to an employment tribunal within three months of when the act which you are complaining about happened, please see link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 31-Jul-18 @ 11:50 AM
Hi I’ve on going dispute with my car company. Back in March I took out a lease agreement for a vehicle. There was two requirements I wanted, cruise control and parking sensors, and I had this put into the contract. The car they provided did not provide me with parking sensors. They spent 2 months messing me about/ignoring emails/arranging appointments to have them fixed but then when I got there informed me they didn’t have enough time to do it so to rebook and would ring me - never did. I therefore got to the stage where I said enough was enough I did not want to continue the agreement with them and I said as they had failed in there contractual obligations the contract wasn’t valid and for the car to be returned and my money too. They disputed this with me saying basically as the car drove it wasn’t a breach despite it clearly (and they’ve acknowledged) it mentions the sensors in the contractual agreement (I’m paying extra for it as well) so I’ve tries going down the route of cba but they haven’t got back to me and just keep saying they are really busy, the ombudsman has acknowledged my complaint but it’s nearly 2 months and I’ve not heard anything. I want to take them to court but I don’t know how to, please can you advise? Regards dan
Dan - 31-Jul-18 @ 11:43 AM
I have gone through a disciplinary procedure in work for an alleged security breach which I lost yet I was never shown the evidence so could not defend myself, after being accused more evidence was added by my Manager, a conflict of interest, who was also the decision maker and again I was never asked why? The Decision Manager was replaced, not at my request, who then went on to intimidate me so I asked for them to be removed, which under the company procedures I am allowed to do, they refused to remove themselves and found me guilty of actions which in the first case I was never shown and for the other accusation, I was never asked why. The penalty was that I was told that I was not allowed to apply for promotion for a year and it would remain on my file that I had breached security I appealed on the facts that their own disciplinary procedures hadn't been followed, which they align with ACAS guidelines and again lost. Can I take this to civil court for breach of contract and if so how do I go about it please?
Gouchy - 30-Jul-18 @ 4:05 PM
I rent accommodation from swan housing association from 2011 - present day and have suffered considerable nuisance. Firstly in one flat I had trouble with the neighbor whom set 2 new cars on fire plus numerous other problems. Swan rehoused me with a priority move to a regeneration site. Demolition, building dust extreme noise etc which is unbearable. I have never lived comfortably or safe in either of my homes are they breaching their contract
Shazfane - 24-Jul-18 @ 2:21 PM
I am a teacher who did not receive work appraisals since 2012. Teacher appraisals are statutory regulations/legislation stated in the terms and conditions of my contract. I applied to move onto a higher pay range in September 2017 however after a lengthy appeals process I was refused. The appeals committee stated I did not meet the criteria for pay progression. The evidence for meeting this criteria should have been gathered through the appraisal process. But I wasn't given the opportunity to do this. Do I have a claim for breach of contract as the decision to decline my pay progression is a continuation of the school not following appraisal legislation and therefore breaching my contract and this has impacted me when the committee made a decision to refuse me pay progression?
DD - 14-Jul-18 @ 10:02 PM
Logical2 - Your Question:
My employment contract states that after 6 mths in my role I would be given a company car, I have been told I am now not getting one and will now jave to continue to drive a company van, is this breach of contract?

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here, which should help answer your question.
ContractsAndAgreements - 9-Jul-18 @ 2:53 PM
My employment contract states that after 6 mths in my role I would be given a company car, I have been told I am now not getting one and will now jave to continue to drive a company van, is this breach of contract?
Logical2 - 6-Jul-18 @ 6:20 PM
Hi there My father n law recently drew up a contract with a client for an extension to be built,they signed the agreement together and was due to start Monday 2nd July 18 and they have only just decided to pull out of the contract tonight 3days before start day. What are his rights in terms of a breech of contract and what route should we persue
Dougal - 29-Jun-18 @ 7:03 PM
Walker - Your Question:
I am an artist and decided to try and get more exposure through a gallery. Having shown them my work and being accepted to exhibit I joined. I would pay a membership fee every month on the basis they would hang my art, do social media outreach and advertising. I signed on the agreement it would be 12 months, with them offering 3, 6 or 12. They also said I would be on their website, it never happened. I sold art with them on at least 4 occasions meaning they got a commission on each sale. My final sale they decided to raise the commission they would receive without any notification or agreement by myself and of course I took exception. I then tried on numerous occasions to get clarification or an explanation and nobody would reply to me, the manager even saying he was only a volunteer. In my frustration I told them they broke the contract and also haven’t honoured it in regards to everything else they stated they would do. I asked for my commission they took from me without agreement and they now have terminated my membership without just cause or mediation. They eventually returned the extra they took from my sale. I told them they can’t do this and I want every penny of membership fee I’ve paid in the last 9 months back as they have broken the terms of the contract. They have since said that I am not entitled to this as it wasn’t a years contract but a rolling contract. I countered with saying if it was a rolling contract then why wasn’t I notified every 3 months to see if I still wanted to continue to be a member, instead they allowed the standing order to continue to pay them. As far as I can see they have broken and dishonoured the agreement on so many occasions and had it not been for the location of the gallery I would have left long ago.

Our Response:
In the first instance, you would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract with the gallery and then list where the gallery has not kept to the terms. The gallery would not be able to raise the level of commission above what is specified in the contract, unless there is a clause saying it could. If you feel you have a strong case, then please see link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 21-Jun-18 @ 12:09 PM
I am an artist and decided to try and get more exposure through a gallery. Having shown them my work and being accepted to exhibit I joined. I would pay a membership fee every month on the basis they would hang my art, do social media outreach and advertising. I signed on the agreement it would be 12 months, with them offering 3, 6 or 12. They also said I would be on their website, it never happened. I sold art with them on at least 4 occasions meaning they got a commission on each sale. My final sale they decided to raise the commission they would receive without any notification or agreement by myself and of course I took exception. I then tried on numerous occasions to get clarification or an explanation and nobody would reply to me, the manager even saying he was only a volunteer. In my frustration I told them they broke the contract and also haven’t honoured it in regards to everything else they stated they would do. I asked for my commission they took from me without agreement and they now have terminated my membership without just cause or mediation. They eventually returned the extra they took from my sale. I told them they can’t do this and I want every penny of membership fee I’ve paid in the last 9 months back as they have broken the terms of the contract. They have since said that I am not entitled to this as it wasn’t a years contract but a rolling contract. I countered with saying if it was a rolling contract then why wasn’t I notified every 3 months to see if I still wanted to continue to be a member, instead they allowed the standing order to continue to pay them. As far as I can see they have broken and dishonoured the agreement on so many occasions and had it not been for the location of the gallery I would have left long ago.
Walker - 21-Jun-18 @ 6:18 AM
Hi. I am currently working at a private institution and just signed my contract a week ago. I did also apply at a public school and passed. I am planning to choose public school over private institution. I even handed out resignation letter and would follow the notice date required by the company, however, the company would not allow me to resign and did not accept my letter for I have signed the contract already. I would like to know whether what consequences will I be facing if I quit my job at the private institution and work in the public school. Thank you.
TINE - 21-Jun-18 @ 4:19 AM
Lesa - Your Question:
Hi there we had a plot reserved with wyldecrest parks until 2021 with a deposit. We went to visit the plot today and they have sold the plot that was reserved for us. We have s contract which is signed and dated and states that the plot is ours till 2021 when we should have moved in. Have they breached our contract and can we sue them. Thanks lesa.

Our Response:
If you have signed and paid a deposit, then there has been a breach of contract so you should seek independent legal advice regarding this matter. Also, read the terms and conditions of your contract to see what both yourselves and the contractor have agreed to.
ContractsAndAgreements - 18-Jun-18 @ 10:22 AM
Hi there we had a plot reserved with wyldecrest parks until 2021 with a deposit. We went to visit the plot today and they have sold the plot that was reserved for us. We have s contract which is signed and dated and states that the plot is ours till 2021 when we should have moved in. Have they breached our contract and can we sue them. Thanks lesa.
Lesa - 16-Jun-18 @ 9:01 PM
Kaz101 - Your Question:
Hi council took a property over on a 5 year lease for us both parties signed it and we moved in next thinh we know we get a call from council to state they pulling the contract and we have to move out in 2 weeks time is this breach of a contract on half of the council

Our Response:
The council still has to stick to its side of the lease when giving you notice (which you may wish to read the terms and conditions). If you think the council is not sticking to the lease, then it is advisable to seek some legal advice.
ContractsAndAgreements - 3-May-18 @ 3:06 PM
Hi council took a property over on a 5 year lease for us both parties signed it and we moved in next thinh we know we get a call from council to state they pulling the contract and we have to move out in 2 weeks time is this breach of a contract on half of the council
Kaz101 - 2-May-18 @ 6:33 PM
My AST has laid out terms such as for the landlord to protect the deposit and to provide us with gas and electricity certificate. We have got no document to prove that the deposit was protected even though council mentioned this on the letter, and we asked for gas and electricity certificate over two months ago and still have not received it. The council gave an extension for the gas certificate, but they didn't care about the electricity one. The landlord said it will be provided 'in due course' but it has been over two months. We want to escape the property because it has been a nightmare living there but its on for another 5 months, we want to terminate the contract. Is there any chance we can terminate the contract due to this breach?
ksyhas - 27-Apr-18 @ 11:54 PM
@pat - as long as they give you the deposit back, there's not much you can do.
JojO - 27-Apr-18 @ 10:38 AM
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