Remedies For Breach of Contract

Remedies For Breach of Contract



The law recognises a range of remedies for breach of contract. The type and extent of the remedies available will depend on a range of factors, such as:

  • the type of loss suffered;
  • the extent of the loss suffered; and
  • the interpretation of the contract more generally.

We have written in detail about breach of contract here. There we discuss:

  • what constitutes a breach;
  • when you can elect to terminate a contract and commence proceedings; and
  • the types of commercial and business contracts we can assist with.

Once you have established that a breach has occurred, you may wish to seek a suitable remedy. Our litigation lawyers can advise you on the remedies available to you. We can also represent you if you are being sued for breach of contract.

Damages For Breach of Contract

Damages will ordinarily be awarded where one party has suffered loss due to a breach of a contractual term.

It is taken that the parties entered into the contract in good faith, expecting the terms to be completed. As such, the parties could expect to find themselves in a specific position based on the contract.

The Court will, thus, award damages to the extent necessary to put the parties in that position.

Examples of loss suffered as a result of a breach of contract include:

  • the financial loss incurred due to the breach of contract;
  • loss in reliance on the contract being completed; or
  • a loss of chance that would have been available had the parties performed the contract.

Equitable (Fair) Relief

In certain cases, the Court can award relief other than monetary damages. This is usually in the form of an Order compelling a party to do a certain thing or refrain from doing a certain thing.

Equitable relief is entirely at the Court’s discretion. The relief awarded must also fall within their equitable jurisdiction. This means it is within the Court’s power to grant such relief.

The primary forms of equitable relief available for breach of contract are:

Specific Performance

In certain circumstances, a Court can enforce the completion of the contract. Both parties will be ordered to carry out the contract terms as originally agreed.

The Court may enforce the contract if damages are not seen to be an adequate remedy for the relevant loss. That is, even with an award of damages, the parties will not be put in the position they would have been under the contract.

Examples Of When the Court May Award Specific Performance

If the contract was for the sale of land, specific performance is the principal remedy for a breach. In this case, the parties may be directed to carry out the contract in a way specified by the Court. For example:

  • the title to the land is transferred into the name of the purchaser; and
  • the purchaser is given the right of possession of the land.

Another example includes a contract for the supply of unique or limited goods. It could also occur in relation to a contract relating to specialised services. This is as the party would be unable to source what was provided under the contract elsewhere.

When The Court Will Not Award Specific Performance

Certain requirements need to be met for the Court to award specific performance. There are also times when the Court will not award specific performance. Specific performance won’t generally be awarded if damages are an adequate remedy.

The Court will not award this as a remedy for breach of contracts relating to personal service. This is where to do so would require the parties to maintain a relationship.

An example of this would be an employment contract.


If the actions of one party are impacting the other, the impacted party may seek an injunction.

An injunction is a binding Court Order for a party:

  • to cease doing a certain thing;
  • not to do a certain thing; or
  • to do a certain thing.

An injunction is not necessarily a final remedy. It may be ordered at any stage during litigation.

A Court might prohibit a party from continuing to breach or further breaching a contract. This can prevent further loss while the matters in dispute are determined.

Contact us if a party, in breach of their contract, is taking action that is detrimental to you or your business. If an injunction is required to prevent them from doing this, you may need to apply on an urgent basis. Our litigation lawyers are highly experienced in:

  • preparing urgent Court applications; and
  • successfully advocating for our client to be granted an interlocutory injunction; as well as
  • defending applications for injunctions.

We can act quickly and strategically to protect your rights.

Limits To Damages: Remoteness and Mitigation

The law recognises limits to damages that can be awarded for breach of contract. Not all loss suffered as a result of a breach of contract is compensable.


A principle at common law is that damages claimed cannot be too remote from the breach of the contract. This relates to causation, i.e., did the damage or loss result from the breach?

There must not only be a factual link but also a legal one. Once a correlation is established, this must be determined. That is whether the law will attribute any loss suffered to that particular breach. Things to consider are whether:

  • the loss was a natural result of the breach; or
  • whether the parties could have foreseen that a breach would result in the loss suffered.

This does not mean that the party does not have a claim as they may still be able to claim some aspects of their loss.

Mitigating Your Loss

Due to a breach of contract, one party may suffer loss. Once this has become apparent, this party must take steps to mitigate their loss. This means they should take all reasonable steps to:

  • reduce the loss suffered; and
  • prevent further loss.

They cannot simply allow their losses to continue under the guise that the other party will pay for it.

For this reason, it is important to act quickly so that a Court will not attribute any of the loss:

  • to your actions; or
  • to your lack of action.

If you are unsure how to do this, the first step is often to seek legal advice. We work closely with experts across a range of fields who have experience in Court matters. This allows us to advise you on who to contact and what steps to take depending on the nature of your dispute.

Focused On Results

It is essential you have experienced lawyers when dealing with contract disputes. When it comes to commercial contracts, lengthy disputes can be costly to you or your business. We understand the importance of resolving a contract dispute quickly and efficiently.

We can assist you if the other party has not upheld their part of the agreement. You may well be entitled to a legal remedy to restore your position under the contract.

We can also assist if the other party is alleging you have not carried out the terms satisfactorily. In this case, we can analyse and consider the situation as a whole to provide you with legal advice on your options.

Speaking to a dispute resolution lawyer at an early stage can:

  • clarify your rights under the contract and the law; and
  • lead to a timely resolution without unnecessarily escalating the matter.

Aitken Whyte Lawyers Brisbane are focused on Results. Our lawyers can assist you with all commercial contract dispute matters. Call us today to discuss your options.

Office Location and Contact Details


Aitken Whyte Lawyers Brisbane
2/414 Upper Roma Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

Ph: 07 3229 4459
Fax: +617 3211 9311