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Efficient Breach of Contract

31. What is “efficient breach”?

Efficient breach occurs when a party makes a conscious decision to breach a contract after balancing the costs of complying against fulfilling the contractual obligation. This normally arises in situations where a party will incur fewer losses or make more money by breaching the contract than the party would suffer in compensatory or consequential damages if sued.

•    Discussion: How do you feel about the concept of efficient breach? Should the decision of whether to breach a contract simply be an economic consideration or is there a moral consideration involved? Should morality or ethics play a role in business transactions? If so, to what extent and why?

•    Practice Question: Wendy enters into a contract to sell a piece of equipment to Laura. Before the sale is finalized, Erwin offers to purchase the equipment from Wendy at a much higher price. Wendy evaluates whether to breach the contract with Laura and sell the equipment to Erwin at the higher price. What might Wendy consider in making her decision?

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