A contract is a legally binding document that a minimum of two parties sign in order to make an agreement. There are many different types of contract with common ones including contracts of employment and commercial contracts.
If one party fails in its obligation it results in a breach of contract and may give rise to bring a claim for compensation depending on the impact on the other parties.
Contracts should not be entered into without taking into account the implications that a breach of the agreement may bring, it should always be remembered that contracts are designed to be binding.
Resolving Contract Disputes
Going to court can be very expensive. We work hard on behalf of our clients to try to resolve breach of contract disputes before the case goes to court. It is strongly advisable to attempt mediation to settle the matter. We will negotiate on your behalf with the purpose of reaching a settlement that is in your best interests.
Our contract lawyers offer legal advice across the board including but restricted to:
- Commercial property agreements
- Credit agreements
- Licensing agreements
- Joint venture & shareholder agreements
- Franchise agreements
- Partnership agreements
- Employment contracts
- Supplier/buyer agreements
How can Selachii help?
Whether you are a small start-up business or a large multinational, we can take on your dispute and work to resolve it as quickly as possible so you can concentrate on your day-to-day business.
If you are involved in a personal breach of contract, or other dispute, let us represent you: we will take the stress out of trying to work through a solution and bring it to a satisfactory conclusion swiftly so you can get on with your life.
Contact us for now urgent, strategic, calm advice and representation.
Telephone 02077925649 Email email@example.com
Contract Law Advice
What are your rights under Contract Law?
Contracts are everywhere. Almost every time you agree to do something for someone else in exchange for them doing something for you, you've made a contract.
A contract involves provision of value on each side. A mere promise is not a contract. So, for example, a friend's promise to give you his car, unless you have promised to do something in return, cannot be enforced under contract law.
Because there are so many contracts, breaches of contract are also frequent. Normally these are trivial and you ignore them, but when they are not, you need expert representation.
Find out more about the remedies available for a breach of contract.
What is a breach of contract?
When a contract is made, we call those making it the parties to the contract.
A breach of contract occurs whenever one party to a contract fails to perform their contractual obligations to the other party or parties, unless the failure does not constitute a breach.
There are many types of breach of contract and the entitlement to restitution ('the remedy' in legal terminology) depends in part on the type of breach of contract that has taken place.
What is not a breach of contract?
Not all contract failures involve breaches of contract. 'Frustration' is the legal term when something has happened which makes it impossible for the contract to be performed. When a contract is frustrated, it is simply cancelled and neither party can sue under it.
Most written contracts contain a 'force majeure' clause which cancels the contract in the event that something out of the control of the parties happens which prevents the contract being fulfilled.
Lastly, not all contract breaches are material. When the breach has little or no practical effect (such as using one brand of paint rather then another equivalent brand), it will not be worthwhile taking action over it.
What happens if a time limit is missed?
Unless a contract has specific time limits in it – as is common in many building contracts – the general rule is that it must be performed in a reasonable period. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances and the view of the judge!
Can I make an oral contract?
Although some contracts (eg for property purchase) can only be made in writing, most can be made verbally. However, it is in practice extremely difficult to enforce an oral contract in the absence of written evidence of its terms.
There are cases in the courts almost every month about the validity of oral contracts. It is always good advice to get contractual terms agreed in writing.
What is an unfair contract?
A contract can be inherently unfair, usually because one side to it 'holds all the aces' in the negotiation, it may be regarded as unfair. Unfair contracts are unenforceable in law and specific legislation (the Consumer Rights Act 2015) exists to regulate this area of law.
Can I add a penalty clause?
It is normal for a contract to contain a clause which sets out compensation to be paid in the event of a breach. However, the 'penalty' in the contract must be a genuine pre-estimate of the loss which would result. Where it is a true penalty clause, and the amount payable for breach exceeds the likely loss, it will be unenforceable under British law. Note that in some jurisdictions, penalty clauses are enforceable: just one reason why expert advice is doubly important if you are contracting with a foreign entity.
Can anyone make a contract?
Adults who are not suffering from a mental incapacity can make contracts. Persons under 18 years old can only make certain types of contract, and can specifically not make other kinds (eg they cannot contract to buy shares or freehold property).
What about a foreign contract?
It is normal to include a 'jurisdiction' clause in a contract setting out in which country's courts any dispute is to be settled. Contract law varies widely in different jurisdictions, and the rights of enforcement do also. British law is one of the preferred jurisdictions for settling contractual disputes, because it is highly developed. We would normally recommend stipulating British law as the applicable jurisdiction whenever possible.
Types of breach of contract
What are the different types of breach of contract?
There are many ways a contract can be breached. For example:
- One party can simply fail to do what they have agreed to do;
- The contract can be done wrongly or negligently; or
- The contract can be performed too late.
Where a breach arises out of a contract between two commercial parties, we will take full details both of the contract itself and what has happened. We will look at the terms of the contract and determine how the law will apply. A number of recent court rulings have helpfully clarified how the courts are interpreting commercial contract terms.
Factors that will be taken into account include the respective bargaining power of the parties, whether there is ambiguity, the business efficacy of the contract, and the loss suffered.
Business to consumer contracts
If the breach arises out of a contract for the supply of goods and/or services to consumers – we will take full details and explain carefully how the law applies. Note that the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 has introduced new rights and remedies for consumers which apply to all businesses selling and supplying to consumers.
Businesses, for instance, must now provide pre-contractual information to consumers – and this information will now be treated as an implied term of the contract. Consumers also now have 30 days in which to reject defective goods; and a wider range of remedies are available to consumers.
Personal breach of contract disputes can be particularly distressing, for instance, the loan of a cash sum to a family member that has not been repaid; or a broken promise of financial help that you have been relying on.
The emotional stress and implications for friendships and family relationships can be stretched to breaking point. We know the potential impact of personal disputes. However, if you contact us as early as possible, we can take all the relevant information from you and advise you on how best the dispute can be swiftly resolved.
Contact our Breach of Contact Lawyers in London
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How Selachii Can Help
Selachii is a dynamic litigation law firm based in Kensington, London. We put the best interests of our clients at the heart of everything we do. We work with both businesses and private individuals, giving them legal advice and support which is unique to them and their situation.
We don’t believe in simply handing out one-size-fits-all solutions to problems. We will focus on your specific circumstances before working out the best and most cost-effective way of helping you achieve your aims.