What Is An Anticipatory Breach Of Contract?

Mar 11, 2018

Understanding the Concept

In the realm of law and business agreements, a breach of contract refers to any violation or non-performance of the terms outlined in a legally binding contract. However, when discussing breaches of contract, one term that often arises is an anticipatory breach of contract. This concept involves a party demonstrating clear and unequivocal intent to not fulfill its contractual obligations in the future. In simpler terms, it refers to a situation where one party declares that they will not be able to honor their contractual commitments before the actual breach occurs.

Identifying an Anticipatory Breach

Anticipatory breaches can manifest in various forms, such as explicit statements from the breaching party indicating their intention not to fulfill the contract, or their conduct implying the same. For example, if a party fails to make payments or starts exploring alternative options, it could signify their intent to breach the contract in the future.

However, it is important to note that not all statements or actions constitute an anticipatory breach. The party claiming an anticipatory breach must provide evidence that the breaching party's conduct is clear and unambiguous in expressing their intention to disregard the contractual obligations.

Legal Implications of an Anticipatory Breach

When an anticipatory breach occurs, the non-breaching party has certain rights and options available to them:

  1. Termination of the Contract: The non-breaching party can choose to terminate the contract immediately when faced with an anticipatory breach. This allows them to seek damages and explore other alternatives, such as entering into a new agreement with a different party.
  2. Claiming Damages: In addition to contract termination, the non-breaching party can also sue the breaching party for damages resulting from the breach. This may include compensation for financial losses incurred due to the breach or the costs associated with finding an alternate solution.
  3. Specific Performance: In certain circumstances, the non-breaching party can demand specific performance from the breaching party. This means that the non-breaching party can ask the court to order the breaching party to fulfill their contractual obligations as originally agreed upon.
  4. Rescission: Rescission refers to canceling the contract and returning the parties involved to their pre-contractual positions. This option is typically pursued when the non-breaching party no longer has faith in the breaching party's ability to fulfill their obligations.

Preventing and Addressing Anticipatory Breaches

It is crucial for parties entering into contracts to include clear terms regarding anticipatory breaches and their consequences. By including specific clauses addressing anticipatory breaches, parties can define the actions or statements that would constitute such a breach and outline the remedies available to the non-breaching party.

If faced with an anticipatory breach, it is recommended to seek legal advice promptly to understand your rights and the best course of action. Experienced legal professionals, such as those at Baytowne Reporting, can provide valuable guidance and representation in contract disputes.


An anticipatory breach of contract can have significant legal and financial implications for the parties involved. It is crucial to understand this concept and the available options when faced with such a breach. By being well-informed and seeking professional advice, individuals and businesses can protect their rights and navigate the complexities of contract law effectively.