Home > Understanding Contracts > Questionnaire: What To Do When a Contract is Breached?

Questionnaire: What To Do When a Contract is Breached?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 20 Dec 2016 |
 
Questionnaire: What To Do When A Contract Is Breached?

A breach of contract is defined as a failure by one party to perform its obligations as required under a contract. The requirement to perform may be expressly incorporated into the contract, whether in writing or orally, or may be implied by common law or by statute law. If a breach of contract is suffered by one party, they should be able to claim damages as long as the damages are proven. A breach of contract may be a breach of warranty, an intermediate breach of contract or a breach of condition.

People enter into contractual situations with the best of intentions but for all manner of reasons the terms of the contract can be broken. A breach of contract can be major, minor, intentional, accidental, capable or incapable of remedy. Contract terms can be broken as a result of an event or occurrence that was outside both parties’ control. So what happens when a contract is breached?

Is the Contract Verbal or Written Down?

If the contract is verbal, you should write to the breaching party informing them of the fact that they have breached the contract and stating the timescale within which you would like the breach put right.

If the Contract is in Writing, Does it Specify What to do in the Event of a Breach?

A lot of contracts will have clauses in them that dictate what the parties should do in the event of a breach of contract. There may also be classifications for what constitutes a ‘major’ or ‘minor’ breach of contract. Therefore the first thing to do if you consider that there has been a breach is check whether there are any such provisions. In most commercial agreements, the applicable section is called ‘breach of this agreement’ or ‘breach and termination’ or ‘procedure in the event of breach of contract.’

Is There a ‘Notices’ Section in the Contract?

You should then inform the breaching party that they have breached the contract. The way in which this should be communicated may be contained in the ‘Notices’ section of the contract. In the absence of any such section or specific requirement for a particular method of communication, it is always advisable to communicate the breach to the breaching party in writing.

What is the Nature of the Breach?

Depending on the nature of the breach of contract, it may be that the contract will simply be allowed to continue as usual. For example, if you have a contract with a broadband service provider and your service is interrupted for a few days, there is likely already to be a provision in the service agreement that allows for service interruptions which means that this will not make the contract void.

Are You Asking for Damages?

In some situations it will merely be a matter of notifying the breaching party who will then either admit or deny the breach. If the breach is admitted, damages may be payable to the aggrieved party. If the breach is denied, it may be appropriate to go to mediation or arbitration, if the issue cannot be settled amicably.

Was it the Other Party’s Fault?

Force Majeure is a contract law term that, simply put, provides a ‘get out clause’ for parties to a contract in the event that the contract is breached because of something out of their reasonable control. If this is a specific clause in the contract, then ‘force majeure’ will apply. In its most basic terms, force majeure seeks to exclude acts of terrorism, war, strikes, lockouts, floods, acts of God etc from being seen to be the fault of a party to a contract. Contracts sometimes contain a further clause that stipulates the timeframe within which one party should inform the other of the force majeure event, and the means by which they should do this. In the case of a genuine force majeure event, neither party will be liable for the failure of the other to perform under the contract.

If a contract does not contain a ‘force majeure’ clause, or if the contract is agreed orally, an event that is outside either party’s control may ‘frustrate’ the contract under the legal doctrine of ‘Frustration.’ Again, neither party will be liable for breaches which occur otherwise than within their reasonable control.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
joannab - Your Question:
I have been performing a research service in exchange for 'incentives' that are given out randomly. I was sent a prize letter and golden token 'by mistake' and they are refusing to send my incentive prize (£100 in shopping vouchers). There were no terms and conditions on the letter it just states 'lucky winners of the golden token receive £100 in vouchers'. Is it breach of contract for them to refuse to send my incentive?

Our Response:
It depends upon how it was sent in 'mistake' i.e awarding the incentives to a different person then you cannot expect to claim. You may have to seek legal advice here, as it is difficult to comment upon without knowing the full details of how you received the letter and why is was classed as a mistake.
ContractsAndAgreements - 20-Dec-16 @ 2:31 PM
I have been performing a research service in exchange for 'incentives' that are given out randomly. I was sent a prize letter and golden token 'by mistake' and they are refusing to send my incentive prize (£100 in shopping vouchers). There were no terms and conditions on the letter it just states 'lucky winners of the golden token receive £100 in vouchers'. Is it breach of contract for them to refuse to send my incentive?
joannab - 20-Dec-16 @ 1:19 PM
can i sell off my contract questionnaire ?
kola - 28-Feb-13 @ 12:12 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • CHIANINTHEVAPE
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    I wanted to post again for guidance in a verbal partnership agreement that was also has emails with plans moving forward that…
    22 March 2017
  • ContractsAndAgreements
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    Bernerd - Your Question:I recently paid for my brothers share of a solicitors fee to resolve a family issue. We discussed it…
    22 March 2017
  • N/a
    Re: Title Deeds: Who Keeps Them?
    Hi. After my wife mum died, her dad couldn't cope with her adopted disabled sister who was 16 at the time. She was awarded…
    22 March 2017
  • Kingkong
    Re: Broken Service Agreements
    I have rented a single room and the agreement was that I should pay 1,500ghc for four years and my items got missing frequently and I…
    21 March 2017
  • Bernerd
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    I recently paid for my brothers share of a solicitors fee to resolve a family issue. We discussed it on the phone, and via…
    21 March 2017
  • Obsolete33
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    Can you sue someone who made a verbal agreement to enter into a business partnership? Investments have been made and…
    18 March 2017
  • Obsolete33
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    Can you sue someone who made a verbal agreement to enter into a business partnership? Investments have been made and…
    18 March 2017
  • Clare
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    Hello, I have a signed agreement of operation to run a tea bar with a local members club. The agreement runs until the end of…
    18 March 2017
  • Chris
    Re: Legally Binding Contracts
    I am currently in court with a client of mine, I sent a quotation and my terms and conditions are set out below our quote, we…
    16 March 2017
  • Rich
    Re: Jurisdiction in Contracts
    can i sue a online retailer for failing to deliver an item in the specified,( and paid extra for) delivery time? they were 10 days…
    13 March 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ContractsAndAgreements website. Please read our Disclaimer.