Contractual rights are the set of rights guaranteed whenever people enter into a valid contract with one another. Contract rights usually involve business matters, including the provision of products and services. However, they can also involve other types of subject matter.
Examples of common types of contract rights may include:
- Rights to purchase a particular product or service
- Rights to be sell a product or service
- Rights to be the only seller or buyer
- Rights to delivery and timely payment
- Rights to refunds or repairs
- Various rights according to the specific intentions of each party
Besides the contract rights that are expressly stated in the contract, there are also "implied contract rights". These are rights that exist based on the existence of contract laws and policies. These do not need to be written in the contract terms (although they can), as they implied by state and federal contract laws. These include:
- Good faith and fair dealing: Each party in a valid contract is expected to operate according to "good faith and fair dealing" – that is they are not to act deceptively and should disclose all relevant information regarding the transaction.
- Rights to be free from duress: Contracts should only be formed out of the free, informed decision of each party. A contract that is formed under duress (i.e., forcing one party to sign) is invalid.
- Rights to be free from contract fraud: Likewise, the parties have a right to be free from fraudulent misrepresentation of information.
- Quasi-Contracts: When there is no actual enforceable contracts, courts may imply a contract to avoid unjust enrichment upon a benefiting party. This would arise if a party conferred a benefit to another party and the benefiting party knew or should know that the party giving the benefit expects compensation for the service. The courts will usually allow the party to recover reasonable value for his or her services even if no valid contract existed.
If you believe that your contract rights have been violated, you may have legal claim. You should review your contract and examine the specific provisions related to those rights. You can also compile other documents and witness statements that might help prove how your rights were violated. Also, you should create a short written account of what happened and how you believe that your rights were violated.
When a breach of contract happens, the non-breaching party may still enforce the contract, but may sue for damages caused by the breach. The non-breaching party may also be entitled to several types of remedies (1) damages (2) specific performance (3) cancellation of contract (4) restitution for any benefit conferred to breaching party.
The difference between contract rights and contract obligations is that one is a benefit you are receiving from the contract while the other is a duty or responsibility that you promised to perform under the contract. Contract obligations are those duties that each party is legally responsible to perform under a contract agreement. The obligation is either a type of service one has to perform, a payment that has to be made, or any other promise made to the other party. If either party fails to perform their contractual obligation according to the terms of the contract, the other party can bring a claim for breach of contract.
When entering into a contract, you may wish to hire a business lawyer for legal advice and support. Your attorney can help you draft, review, or edit a contract to ensure that your contract rights are being fully protected. Your lawyer will also be able to represent you in court if you believe that your contract rights have been violated.