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Breaching a contract

(8 Posts)
Namechangegamechange101 Wed 06-Apr-16 17:39:46

Hi I'm self employed and signed a contract to carry out work for an organisation for a specific period of time. Changes in my personal circumstances (elderly and disabled relative the other side of the country needs care, no other family to help) mean I may have to quit work for a while. Obviously this would be a breach of contract. Can anyone tell me what the ramifications of this could be?

I'm assuming they will take legal action? I have no savings and assets so don't know how I would pay.

flowery Wed 06-Apr-16 17:48:42

Is there no provision for you to terminate the agreement in the contract? Even if you're not able to give the requisite notice?

Will they incur financial losses as a result of you terminating the agreement?

Namechangegamechange101 Wed 06-Apr-16 17:51:10

I don't think so flowery, I'm going over the contract again this evening. I would give them an appropriate amount of notice as I would hate to leave them in a mess.

There is potential for financial loss, depending I suppose on how quickly they find somebody else.

Duckstar Wed 06-Apr-16 17:58:39

It is very difficult to say what the actual ramifications would be on the information provided. Very basic contract law is that if you breach a contract then you are liable to pay damages for the loss suffered by the other side. Can't say if they will pursue, generally you only pursue someone if they have some money.

Ultimately, if you can't do the work then you are going to have to breach the contract. Is there anyway you can minimise the loss they suffer? For example, is there a point in your work you could work to which it would be easy to hand over to another individual? Have you got any contacts who could step in and take over work?

Namechangegamechange101 Wed 06-Apr-16 18:16:13

Sorry there's not much detail don't want to risk outing myself.

The financial side is complicated. They have invested heavily into the project for specialist equipment etc. Obviously they would still own this and it would be used by the next contractor.

I haven't received money up front from them for the work, they pay on invoice the same way as my short term clients. The money I have received so far has been for work already carried out.

They definitely have the means to go down the legal route but as I said I don't have anything so I don't know what the outcome would be. Could I be jailed!?

I do have some contacts who may be interested so I will explore that further.

Thanks for the replies so far, I've never had to leave anyone down before and I feel terrible about it.

Namechangegamechange101 Wed 06-Apr-16 18:17:26

Sorry meant to say I would be able to carry on with the work for around 8-12 weeks until they find a suitable replacement.

Duckstar Wed 06-Apr-16 18:35:31

You can't be sent to prison. Breach of contract is a civil matter not criminal.

Totally understand you don't want to out yourself. I would recommend you consult a solicitor, if you can afford it. They should be able to advise you on the implications of breaching contract and best way to terminate. If you can't afford solicitor then CAB may be able to help.

Contracts do get broken and often there is a way you can terminate with out it getting messy. If they are a big company I would really recommend legal advice because you don't want to be bossed around/exploited by a big company. Yes you are breaching a contract, but they are only entitled to recover actual losses suffered.

Namechangegamechange101 Wed 06-Apr-16 18:45:48

Thank you so much for the advice. I'll check my contract tonight and maybe ring around some solicitors tomorrow.
Good to know I can't be jailed!

If I give enough notice then I can't see that they would actually suffer a loss, I would be happy to work until they find someone else and do a handover etc so there's no void.

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