Breach of Contract Elements: What is It and How to Form?
Several times in movies and even in a conversation, we have come across the term- “contract.” Courtroom dramas involving business parties are always something related to breach of contract. But what is the breach of contract elements? What factors must be proven to claim a contract in a court?
First and foremost, a contract is an agreement between two parties that is enforceable by law. To understand what makes the breach of contract, we need to know about what makes a contract in the first place. Once we understand all these, we can prove a claim in court.
3 Components of Forming a Contract
A contract is an agreement. The common law backs it up. However, the law will enforce the contract only when the 3 components of a contract are present. These components are- offer and acceptance, intention to create a legal relationship, and lawful consideration.
Offer and acceptance
Simply put, there must be an offer made by one party, and it is accepted by another party to form a valid contract. The offer can be expressed or implied depending on the circumstances. This offer should include terms, conditions, and certain proposals not to become void or null.
Moreover, the offeree must be aware that an offer has been made from an offeror. Just a mere statement will not count as an offer or acceptance. Once this is done, the parties go into a legal contract.
Intention to create a legal relationship
When an offer is made by one party and accepted by another, there should be an intent to enter a legal relationship. For instance, two parties agreeing to buy and sell products from one another indicates a clear intention to form a legal relation.
On the other hand, two friends agreeing to dine at a friend’s house is not an agreement. There is no intention to form a legal relationship there.
A valid contract is enforceable by law. However, this is only possible when each party gives something into the contract and gains something in return. When there is an agreement of doing something in return for nothing, that contract is not enforceable by law. Therefore, if a contract like that is breached, no party can claim a case in court.
4 Essential Breach of Contract Elements
When you claim a case of breach of contract in court, you must prove that you are right with evidence. These pieces of evidence must convince and accurately present your claim as true. As a result, you must be sure that the contract breach has these 4 elements included to present a strong case.
Proof of the existence of a contract
First and foremost, you must prove that there is a contract in the first place. In the previous section, we have mentioned the components of forming a contract. When an agreement followed and obliged to all the 3 components, you can show that as proof of a court contract. The agreement cannot be only oral, a signed piece of paper, or a handshake to show to the court.
The 3 components of a contract must be present to claim an agreement to begin with that the party has breached. In addition to this, the different state has different criteria for a valid contract in particular sectors. The proof of agreement must abide by those rules as well.
Proof of performance or non-performance from your side
The contract agreement must include all the necessary tasks to be performed under the contract. When you are claiming a contract breach, you must prove that you have performed all the contractual obligations from your side. In return, you did not receive the performance agreed by the other party. As a result, you can prove the validity of your claim.
Furthermore, if you have intentionally left out some of the performance from your side, you must provide an argument for that as well. For instance, you wanted a painter to paint your house a certain color.
Eventually, the painter painted a different shade of the color, and you decide to cut his pay slightly. As painting the house in that certain color is a major aspect of the agreement, you can prove your non-performance in the court through your point of argument.
Proof of non-performance from the other party
Once you have proved your side, now you should focus on providing evidence on the lack of performance from the other party. You may have obliged the contract but did not receive the performance according to the agreement in return. In situations like this, you will have to prove the areas that the party failed to oblige by the agreement.
This is a crucial part of the breach of contract. Non-performance is a common element in also every case of contract breach. One party may end up failing to oblige completely by the agreement despite the other party’s full support. The plaintiff should be able to show exactly what and how the defendant failed to perform.
Proof of damage from non-performance
Last but not least is the damage you have gone through because of the non-performance of the other party—another crucial element of a contract. Whenever a party cannot fulfill certain expectations and tasks of an agreement, another party faces significant damages.
The contract should include the promises of tasks to be completed by each party. Not fulfilling the tasks and causing damages to one party is a sure breach of contract.
The breach of contract elements is true in almost every situation. In general terms, these 4 characteristics make a person go to court and file a claim for contract breach by another party.
Therefore, a contract agreement must be prepared with precise and detailed inclusion of every task and compensation. A valid and descriptive contract is the most useful piece of evidence in such cases.