A contract is an enforceable agreement between two or more parties who promise to do or not do certain things.
For a contract to be enforceable, certain requirements need to be met. Generally:
- there must be an agreement between the parties;
- each party gives a benefit or suffers a detriment in return for the promise, known as consideration; and
- the parties show an intention to create legal relations.
Contracts take many shapes and forms – it can be written, oral, implied from the conduct of the parties or, in some cases, a mixture of all of the above.
What happens if a party breaches the contract?
A party breaches a contract if they fail to perform their obligations exactly as agreed between the parties.
The remedies available to the “innocent” party for a breach of contract will depend upon a number of factors such as the terms of the agreement and the nature of the breach but may include:
- the payment of damages to compensate the innocent party for losses suffered as a result of the breach;
- compelling the party in breach to perform their obligations under the contract;
- recovering an agreed amount due under the contract; and
- the right to terminate the contract.
If you are involved in a contractual dispute, our lawyers can provide you with advice as to your available options.
One of the most common forms of contracts involve the payment of an agreed sum of money to a party in exchange for that party providing goods or services to the other party. Disputes frequently arise in these types of contracts when the provider of the goods or services does not receive payment from the receiving party.
How Slater and Gordon can help
Our debt recovery lawyers can assist you with recovering debts owed to you, which can include taking various enforcement steps such as sending letters of demand, commencing legal proceedings and obtaining warrants to seize assets.
Our lawyers are experienced in a broad range of contractual transactions and disputes and can assist with:
drafting written contracts to formalise the agreement between the parties;
providing advice on your rights and obligations under a contract, including consequences flowing from a breach of contract; and
recovering debts owed to you or losses suffered as a result of another party breaching the contract.
Seeking legal advice early on can go a long way in resolving disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner. Strict time limits apply for pursuing claims for breach of contract. You must commence proceedings for breach of contract claims within 6 years of the date the contract was breached. If you do not commence proceedings within this time frame, your claim will expire.
If you are about to enter into a contract, or are involved in a contract dispute, please contact us via the form on this page.