Waiver or Release from Contract
Waiver of Rights and Release from Duties
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What is waiver or release from a contract?
A waiver and a release serve to excuse one or both parties duty of performance. Each is discussed below.
Next Article: Breach of Contract Back to: CONTRACT LAW
What is a Waiver of Rights in a Contract?
When a party intentionally relinquishes a right to enforce the contract. A waiver is generally employed after a party fails to perform.
- Example: Per our contract, I am supposed to paint your house, but I fail to do so in the allotted time. You grant a waiver excusing my liability for failure to perform.
What is a Release from Obligations in a Contract?
When one party is relieved from her promise of performance. A release generally occurs before a contracting party has to perform.
- Example: We sign a contract where you agree to pay me to paint your house by the end of the month. Before my performance is due, I explain that I do not have time to paint your house. You sign a release that frees me of my duty to paint your house.
Waiver and release are often used synonymously to refer to a single document that simultaneously relieves a party from her duty to perform and excuses a non-performance or breach.
Discussion: What do you think is the justification for categorizing a release and waiver differently? Should the content of a release agreement be treated differently than the content of a waiver?
Practice Question: Pam enters into a contract with Lia to perform consulting services for her business. Pam has a great deal of work and is too busy to perform the contract. She asks Lia to let her out of the contract. What is Pam asking of Lia?
- In this case, Pam is asking for a release from her obligation to perform the contract. If she has already breached the agreement (by failing to perform in a timely manner), she would be asking for a waiver of potential liability. [/ht_toggle]