If you manage or own a small business, you will be no stranger to the various types of contract that you engage in. They sometimes seem like a lot of hassle, but they set out the terms and obligations of your business relationship, so everyone knows where they stand. The good thing is that once you’ve agreed all the terms and signed on the dotted line, you can pretty much file the contract away and get on with life, right?
In an ideal world, that sounds great, and in the majority of cases, that’s what happens. But what if things go wrong and the other party doesn’t fulfil their part of the deal? For example, a developer agreed to have your great new business website fully functional in three months, and eight months later you’re still waiting. Let’s look into the murky world of contract breaches.
Lawyers consider four categories of contract breach:
Contract law is highly procedural and logical, so to prove a breach, you need to demonstrate four fundamental things:
Before you start taking formal legal action, you need to write a letter before action. The letter needs to be professional, accurate and thorough.
Include full details of the claim, summarising the contractual agreement that exists or existed, the nature of the breach and the damages that you suffered as a result. You should also include details of any interest you are seeking.
You must provide the other party with a reasonable period of time in which to remedy the breach – 14 days is normal. Also, highlight the fact that a failure to respond or remedy the breach will mean the commencement of legal proceedings.
A well-presented letter before action can resolve a contractual dispute before anyone needs to start incurring legal costs, so it is worth taking time to get it absolutely right.
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