What is a Common Law Contract? Common law refers to case law or precedent where decisions are made, and there is no statute governing the particular action. In common law contracts, service contracts predominately stand out as an example because there is no statute that governs the rights and obligations of the parties.
In a common law contract, the terms and conditions of the written contract dictate the rights of the parties to the agreement. After many years of continued disputes in the courts, the legislature in various states developed statutes to various government actions.
A prime example is the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which regulates the sale of goods.
Common Law Breach of Contract Remedies
The breach definition of a contract generally occurs when one of the parties avoids or neglects their legal obligations under the agreement. When hearing cases involving common law contracts, courts also consider where the breach was a result of a legal excuse or defense. See also information independent contractor agreements in government contracting.
Under the common law breach of contract remedies, a party filing a lawsuit could ask a court to award specific performance remedies, compensatory damages, or remedies for unjust enrichment. In other situations, a party may seek liquidated damages. Find out more about covenant not to compete agreements.
Common Law Contracts Terms
Good faith and fair dealing: Another common contract law legal theory is a breach of contract case involving a party that fails to meet the common law duty of good faith and fair dealing. Even with federal government contracts, courts still apply this common law breach of contract theory when the agency, or the contractor, fails to act in good faith.
Unjust enrichment: Also adopt the common law breach of contract damages for “unjust enrichment”. This means that one contracting party should not get a windfall. When contracting parties from a common law contract, there should be a meeting of the minds. The expectation damages of both sides are established up front.
Other Differences: Comparing common law agreements to those governed by the UCC, you will find that there is not much room for a change. A UCC contract, on the other hand, allows for small changes, not material to the overall terms and conditions of the underlying contract.
When courts rule on common law contracts, there might be varying decisions. Also, when looking at the elements of a contract, common law mandate that you can only accept the offered conditions. People refer to this as the “mirror image rule. Also, see information about nondisclosure agreement drafting.
If you are a party to a common law contract and need legal representation during litigation, call our breach of contract lawyers at 1-866-601-5518 for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.