The device of contract serves a pivotal role in our legal and economic systems. The promotion of clarity, security and the management of risk are among the many reasons why contracts (or indeed a complex matrix of contractual relationships) are often the preferred means of regulating business relationships and encouraging efficient business dealings. In the event of a commercial dispute, the best recourse is often to enforce the agreement by way of a claim for breach of contract.
However, in the event there is an incomplete agreement or there is simply no contract between the parties, how can you protect your rights and interests when a dispute arises?
Notwithstanding whether a contract has been in place, the Courts are more ready to infer, if possible, the existence of such through an examination of the parties’ conduct and correspondence. Even where the Courts do not recognise a binding contract, or where a contract is rendered unenforceable, aggrieved parties may be able to seek compensation from the wrongdoer by relying on economic torts.
There are several categories of economic torts.
The main economic torts include:
- Inducing or procuring a breach of contract
- Causing damage by unlawful means
- Conspiracy (lawful and unlawful)
Other torts which relate to receipt and disclosure of information include:
- Breach of confidence
- Malicious falsehood
- Negligent misstatement