That’s what you get when you sue on a contract. The Court doesn’t really do anything else, that’s it.
Often, it is thought that the role of the Court is to punish the offender. That’s in the criminal court. In civil courts, when suing on a contract, the only thing that the court will do is implement the consequences.
Here’s the analysis:
- A and B have a contract
- If A fulfills the contract, B will get “abc”
- If A breaches the contract, then B will get “xyz”
Essentially, the Court doesn’t really care one way or the other about the result, whether A fulfilled the contract, or failed to fulfill the contract. None of this, matters.
The role of the Court is to:
- Consider the facts
- Determine if A fulfilled, or breached the contract
- If A breached the contract, then there will be a Judgment for B awarding “xyz”
In essence, the Court will implement the consequence selected by BOTH parties to the contract. They both agreed that B would get “xyz”, in the event of A’s breach, so, that’s what B gets, nothing else.
Most of the time, the “xyz” consequence is expressed in terms of money, often referred to as damages in this circumstance.
There is no amount for hurt feelings, penalties or punitive awards to otherwise provide some additional compensation to B, and to punish A for bad behaviour. In the context of the law of contracts, there is no bad behaviour, we just have two choices: fulfillment or breach, two sides, so to speak of the same coin, heads or tails, “abc” or “xyz”, it doesn’t really matter.
This view of the law of contracts takes some of the sting out of being A and breaching the contract. No problem! A is not a bad person. A is not to be punished in any way.
The only role of the Court in a contract dispute is to give effect to and implement the consequence selected by the parties, A and B themselves. So, in this case, the Court would confirm fulfillment, that is, B received “abc”, or breach, and that is, B would receive a Judgment for “xyz”.
It should be emphasized that I am strictly speaking about the law of contracts, and not anything else.
There are, of course, other doctrines of law which will provide the same, similar and sometimes slightly different remedies, being the law of torts, the law of restitution, the law of unjust enrichment, the law of fiduciaries, the law of trusts, and the criminal law.
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker