Reasons for Termination of a Contract
A contract can be terminated due to various reasons; a few of such reasons are the following are as follows:
Breach of contract: When both or either party fails to fulfill the contract’s obligations or blocks the other from performing the obligation or violates contract’s terms and conditions, it leads to breach of the contract, and the contract stands terminated.
Illegality: If the terms or conditions of the contract are illegal or becomes illegal if the legislature passes such a law after the contract was formed, the “supervening illegality” leads to legally nonperformance of the contract resulting in termination of the contract.
Impossibility of performance: If it is impossible to perform the contract by both parties, it must be impossible for anyone to perform the contract. For example, a contract was between the parties to paint a house, but the house was destroyed in flood, it’s impossible to perform the contract, and the same gets terminated.
Fraud, mistake, or misrepresentation: If the contract was formed under the influence f fraud, mistake, or misrepresentation, the contract could be terminated. The meeting of minds, i.e., parties agreeing on the same thing simultaneously, was not present as facts were unknown or revealed.
Prior agreement: If there are prior agreed terms and conditions stating situations or causes to terminate a contract and such conditions exist, the contract can be terminated.
Termination of Contract by Death of a Party
Death of a party can make the performance of a contract impossible, whereas death voids specific contracts; there are also circumstances where the contract remains enforceable even if a party to the contract dies. For instance, there was a contract between Mr. X and Mr. Y for painting a portrait of Mr. X by Mr. Y, but before the portrait can be made, Mr. Y dies in an accident, which makes the performance of the contract impossible and therefore it stands terminated. Under specific Federal, State, or local laws, when any one of the main parties in a contract dies, the contract becomes void and stands terminated. Whereas under certain situations, the contract on the death of a party becomes voidable at the option of the other party or parties involved in the contract. The legal heir or legal representatives of the deceased party can also be made liable to perform the contract as per the terms and conditions stated in the contract or as per the circumstances at the other party’s option. Under an Escrow Contract, where the subject matter of the contract is to purchase or sell fundamental properties, on the death of any party, the contract fails to close, i.e., the performance is not possible, and the contract stands terminated. The registration of the property is made in the name of the legal heirs of the deceased, and the deceased’s name is removed from the same. A new contract has to be made between the legal heirs of the deceased party and the other party with the consent of both the parties involved. In a joint contract, even if the co-party dies, the contract continues in force with another living party and does not get terminated.
Effects of Termination of the Contract
Suppose the contract gets terminated due to the death of a party or any unavoidable circumstances. In that case, it does not attract a breach of contract, and therefore no legal remedy is required. However, if a contract gets terminated due to breach of contract on the part of nonperformance of the contract by any party, it attracts legal remedies as the following:
Specific performance: Where the court finds that monetary damages will not be sufficient for the aggrieved party, the court can order for specific performance of the contract to the breaching party.
Compensatory Damages: A breaching party will be liable to pay compensation in terms of money to the aggrieved party for the nonperformance of the obligation stated in the contract.
Restitution: Through restitution, it is intended to put the innocent party as far as possible in the same position as it would have been if the breach has not occurred.
Punitive Damages: These damages are only granted in extraordinary cases to penalize the party who has violated the rules.
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