At the heart of many business disputes is a contract that has been violated, or breached. However, proving that a contract was breached is not always as simple as it sounds. Knowing what needs to be proven and proving it clearly is critical to success in these cases.
Was There A Valid Contract?
On the surface, this seems like a very simple question, and often it is. However, proving that a valid contract exists may not always be as easy as showing a piece of paper with some signatures on it. Not all contracts are written.
Furthermore, there are some key elements that are required to make a contract valid, starting with an offer and acceptance of that offer. Also, issues of competence and capacity on either side can lead to challenges to a contract’s validity.
Did One Party Fail To Perform A Specific Duty That The Contract Required?
The actual language of a contract is crucial. Does it actually state that there was a specific duty to be performed, and did the allegedly breaching party truly not do it?
This is where matters often get complex. In many cases, the dispute has less to do with whether or not the specific duty was actually performed, but whether it was performed to one party’s satisfaction. There may also be issues regarding timeline. When did the contract require the specific duty to be completed? Is it still in progress?
Were There Damages As A Result Of The Contract Breach?
Showing that there was a valid contract and that it was breached is not enough to win a dispute. It must also be shown that the breach led to damages. What was lost due to the breach? What was the cost to the business?
Resolving Breach Of Contract Disputes
There are many options for resolving contract breach cases. The contract itself may stipulate the resolution method, such as arbitration. Businesses involved in these disputes should weigh their options carefully, not only based on their short-term goals, but also keeping in mind what is best for the business in the long-term.