Disputes stemming from a breach of contract can be harmful to both the party claiming that the contract has been violated and the one accused of the violation. These disagreements usually occur when one party alleges that the other has failed to fulfil one or more terms of the contractual agreement, typically leading to financial loss. Regrettably, such situations can cause professional relationships to disintegrate entirely, often exacerbating losses and possibly escalating damage claims.
Whether you are the aggrieved party or have been charged with a contract breach, we frequently advise seeking an amicable resolution as the primary course of action.
What is a Breach of Contract?
When a binding agreement is not adhered to, this is known as a breach of contract. Various circumstances might be considered a breach of contract, which will depend on the type of contract in question. Using an umbrella term, a breach of contract occurs when one of the involved parties fails to fulfil their obligations as outlined in the contract.
There are various breach of contract types, from minor and actual to material and anticipatory. Find out more about each of these below:
- Minor breach of contract– Where the contract breach is inconsequential, meaning that the contract can continue. Minor contract breaches are also sometimes known as immaterial or partial breaches.
- Actual breach of contract– Where the contractual obligations are not upheld by one of the parties after the due date or where the contractual obligations are not upheld to a sufficient standard.
- Material breach of contract– Where multiple breaches have occurred, or the singular breach damages the contract to the point where the contract can no longer be performed.
- Anticipatory breach ofcontract – Where one party foresees that they will not be able to comply with the terms of the contract and notifies the other party. In this case, the contract may be terminated, and damages sought.
Potential Damages Incurred
Depending on the nature of the claim, there will be various potential damages that might be incurred by the party in breach of the contract. Below are some common damages that are claimed for breaches of contract, including:
- Punitive damages are typically nominal and rarely claimed, most often found in criminal cases.
- Damages for loss of enjoyment/amenity depend on the claimant demonstrating the necessity of an additional monetary award and determining its amount; hence, such damages are awarded only in limited circumstances.
- Damages for distress aim to place the injured party in the same position they would have been if the tort had not occurred.
- Loss of reputation damage requires the claimant to first experience financial loss, as damages for loss of reputation cannot be claimed independently.
- Restitution damages are claimed when the defendant profits from the breach; the claimant can seek the acquired profit, provided they can demonstrate that the profit directly resulted from the breach.
Breach of Contract Disputes
No matter the nature of a contract, whether verbal or written, in a business setting or otherwise, it is possible for disagreements to arise. When a dispute does occur regarding a contract, it is essential to act quickly in seeking the appropriate legal support. Failure to do so could result in substantial repercussions, both financially and, if in a business setting, publicly.
Although having your business contracts checked by a solicitor before implementation is advisable, disputes are not always avoidable.
The first step in a dispute should always be to instruct legal support. Your solicitor will advise you on the best course of action. Depending on whether you are the party claiming that a contract has been breached or you are defending such a claim, different procedures must be considered and followed.
Solicitor for Breach of Contract
At Langley Wellington, we house a dedicated team of litigators equipped with the expertise and resources to support clients should they face or be faced with a breach of contract. Once familiar with your case, we will discuss your options and advise accordingly.
To speak to one of our friendly yet professional litigators about your contracts today, please call 01452 521 286 (Gloucester) or 01242 269 998 (Cheltenham). Alternatively, you can fill in this contact form and we will get back to you.
This blog is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with our team of solicitors.