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A legal doctrine is a framework, set of rules, procedural steps, or test, often established through precedent in the common law, through which judgments can be determined in a given legal case. A doctrine comes about when a judge makes a ruling where a process is outlined and applied, and allows for it to be equally applied to like cases. When enough judges make use of the process soon enough it becomes established as the de facto method of deciding like situations.
The following table lists examples of legal doctrines:
|Doctrine||Short definition||Definition and use|
|Fundamental Breach also known by Fundamental Term||Performance is so far below that which is required by the terms of the contract.||Under English Common Law, performance is so substandard that the party injured by the breach is to be exonerated from the performance, even if the contract specifically requires performance in the face of a breach.|
Also known as the repudiatory breach; it is an extension of the doctrine of deviation.
|Laches||Loss of rights through failure to act.||Under English Common Law, the unnecessary delaying bringing an action against a party for failure to perform is known as the Doctrine of Laches. The doctrine describes that a court may refuse to hear a case not brought before it after a lengthy period since the right of action arose.|
|Repudiatory breach||Substandard performance by one of the parties in a contract leading to a breach.||See Fundamental Breach.|
|Substantial Performance||English equity allowing partial execution to replace full performance.||Rule of law that may be applied where a contract has been substantially performed before a breach occurs. It is used by courts to prevent the injured party from taking unfair advantage of the party who breached after a percentage of the contract has been performed.|
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