A breach of contract occurs when one party in a binding Agreement fails to deliver according to the terms of the Agreement. A breach of contract can happen in both a written and an oral contract.
BREACH OF CONTRACT
Though it is difficult to prove oral contracts unlike written contracts, however oral contracts are legally binding under Nigerian law. Oral contracts must be valid to be enforceable and for it to be valid there must be an offer, an acceptance, consideration and an intention to be legally bound.
SOME WAYS OF PROVING AN ORAL CONTRACT
Below are some ways of proving oral contract (This list is not exhaustive)
- Conduct of Parties:
Steps, Actions, circumstances etc of the parties involved can be proof of existence of a contract. These conducts may include cheques issued, payments made, works done etc.
- Evidence of Third parties:
A third party who is conversant with the terms and circumstances of the contract entered by the parties can be called as a witness in Court.
- Written Communication
This is a great way of proving oral contract, these days even though the contract was entered into orally, people still communicate through Whatsapp chats, text messages etc, these forms of communication can be used to substantiate the oral contract between Parties.
REMEDIES FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT
In litigation, a remedy is a court-ordered resolution to one party’s breach of contract.
SOME OF THE REMEDIES INCLUDE:
- AWARD OF DAMAGES
This is the most common remedy for breach of contract as one party seeks compensation for financial losses as a result of breach of Contract. In Court, the wronged party becomes the Claimant. The wronged party may recover damages in an amount that is equal to the sum or value they would have received had the Contract been fully performed by the Defendant.
Restitution is remedy designed to restore the wronged party to its state or position before the contract was created. Unlike an award of damages, parties seeking restitution may not demand compensation for lost profits or other financial losses caused by a breach. Instead, restitution is meant to return any money or property given to the Defendant under the contract back to the Claimant.
Rescission is a remedy used to terminate a contract when parties entered into a contract by way of fraud, undue influence or coercion. In the case of rescission, the contractual obligations of both parties are therefore terminated and the contract will no longer exist.
- SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE
Specific performance is a remedy for breach of contract in which the Court forces the breaching party to perform the services or deliver the promised goods in accordance with the contract. Specific performance is available when money damages are inadequate to compensate the Plaintiff for a breach.
COMMON RELATIONSHIPS WHERE BREACH OF CONTRACT OCCURS:
A breach can occur anywhere there is an express or implied contract, some of the Relationships where it can occur include:
- LANDLORD/TENANT CONTRACT
- EMPLOYER/EMPLOYEE CONTRACT
- INVESTOR/INVESTEE CONTRACT
- COMPANY/VENDOR CONTRACT etc.