Bringing a breach of Contract claim

In order to be able to successfully sustain a breach of contract claim you must be able to prove three essential elements:

  1. That there is a legally enforceable agreement between you as the Plaintiff and the Defendant.
  2. That the Defendant has been guilty of a breach of one of the terms of the agreement.
  3. That you as the Plaintiff have suffered a loss as a result of this breach in respect of which you are seeking damages.

Possible remedies

 The possible remedies which a Plaintiff may seek are as follows:

Damages – this is the most often used remedy sought in circumstances where a breach of contract claim arises. Damages are designed to compensate the wronged party in as much as is possible for the loss suffered by him/her as a result of a breach of contract.

In certain cases, damages may not be a suitable remedy for the plaintiff and he or she may seek specific performance of the contract i.e. may want the breach to be put right so that the contract remains in place. Actions for specific performance will not be successful in the following circumstances:

    1. Where damages are deemed to be an adequate remedy.
    2. Where the remedy of specific performance will involve ongoing supervision by the Court.
    3. Where the contract in question is an open contract e.g. a construction contract where there may be provision for ongoing acts.
    4. The Plaintiff in the case of specific performance need to be careful that even if successful an action for specific performance may only result in defective performance.
    5. Sometimes Plaintiffs may seek to invoke a termination of the contract based on the Defendant’s breach. In order to be able to justify the right to terminate the plaintiff will need to show that the breach has been fundamental to the contract.

Defences to a breach of contract

 There are certain circumstances where a Defendant will seek to rely on certain defences in order to avoid liability. The normal defences are as follows:

  1. Undue influence/duress.
  2. The absence of independent advice.
  3. Public policy/illegality.
  4. Force majeure.
  5. Frustration.

 

If you require any advice in relation to any element in relation to a breach of a contract please do not hesitate to contact Brendan Dillon, Conor White or Donna Phelan on 01-2960666.