Black`s Law Definition of Breach of Contract: An Overview
Contracts are legally binding agreements that govern the relationships between parties. When one party fails to perform their obligations under the agreement, it constitutes a breach of contract. The law provides remedies for such breaches, which aim to restore the non-breaching party to the position they would have been in had the breach not occurred. Black`s Law Dictionary provides a clear definition of a breach of contract.
Black`s Law Dictionary is a leading legal reference book that is widely used to define legal terms and phrases. Its definition of a breach of contract is concise yet comprehensive: “The failure, without legal excuse, to perform any promise that forms all or part of the contract.” This definition highlights two key elements that must be present for a breach of contract to occur.
First, there must be a promise. A promise is a commitment to do or not do something that is legally enforceable. For example, if Party A promises to deliver goods to Party B by a certain date, that promise forms part of the contract. If Party A fails to deliver the goods as promised, it constitutes a breach of the contract.
Second, there must be a failure to perform the promise. The promise must be central to the contract, and its non-performance must be without legal excuse. A legal excuse could be, for example, a force majeure event, such as a natural disaster, that makes performance impossible or impractical. In such cases, the promise may be excused, and there may not be a breach.
It is worth noting that not every breach of contract is material. A material breach is a failure to perform a promise that is so significant that it goes to the heart of the contract. For example, if Party A promised to deliver 100 widgets at a certain price, but only delivered 50 widgets, that would likely be a material breach. The non-breaching party would be entitled to seek damages for the shortfall in widgets.
In contrast, a non-material breach is a failure to perform a promise that is minor or inconsequential. For example, if Party A promised to deliver the widgets by a certain time but delivered them a day late, that may be a non-material breach. The non-breaching party may not be entitled to damages but may be able to seek other remedies, such as a price reduction.
In conclusion, Black`s Law Dictionary`s definition of a breach of contract provides a useful framework for understanding this essential legal concept. A breach occurs when there is a failure, without legal excuse, to perform a promise that forms all or part of the contract. Breaches can be material or non-material, and the law provides remedies to restore the non-breaching party to the position they would have been in had the breach not occurred.