Pre-estimate of loss. It is up to A to show that the individual damages are so uncertain that they cannot be calculated separately, and that the overall total sum of A$10,000 for one or more breaches is a genuine pre-estimate regardless of whether there is one or more breaches. Fladgate is an international multi-practice firm with deep expertise across a broad range of legal specialisms. It held that the sum was a penalty and "out of all proportion", on the basis that Landtec would suffer no financial loss as a result of the delay in practical completion by Speirs until the relevant condition was satisfied. : Grocon Constructions (QLD) Pty Ltd v Juniper Developer No 2 Pty Ltd & Anor 2015 QSC 102, Contract amendments may leave liquidated damages clauses vulnerable, U.K.’s revised law on liquidated damages clauses could mean similar changes for commercial contracts in Canada. This figure was the same for each of the five contracts even though the arrays being constructed under each of those contracts had a different output and were constructed at different times of the year, output obviously being affected by the weather. Factors to consider
The court will look at the individual circumstances of each particular contract at the time the parties entered into the contract (not when the breach occurred). This breadth of expertise enables us to provide clients with practical, ‘joined-up’ solutions in the following areas: We have the expertise to provide our clients with a wide range of commercially focused legal services and have in-depth experience of a number of industry sectors. Traditionally, a liquidated damages clause was an unenforceable penalty if the amount payable was extravagant in comparison to a genuine pre-estimate of the loss flowing from the breach. In drawing a distinction between primary and secondary obligations, the court held that it does not review the fairness of the parties’ primary obligations, such as the consideration promised for a given standard … For example, a clause says that B must do X, Y and Z; if B does not do X, Y and Z, B must pay liquidated damages of A$10,000 a day to A. In this case, the court found that: Leighton illustrates that the court will consider the circumstances surrounding the parties at the time the contract is entered into. For more information, please see our Terms of Business and our Personal data processing notice. The two disputes that were considered, Cavendish Square Holding BV v El Makdessi and ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis,could not be more different. Traditionally liquidated damages clauses (or "LDs") were defined as a genuine pre-agreed or pre-estimate of damages or a fixed sum of money (or other benefit) for the happening or non-happening of a specified event, typically that event is a breach of contract. It is common for drafters of liquidated damages clauses in commercial contracts to run a fine line between a genuine pre-estimate of damages and a penalty. Speirs argued that the provision was not a pre-estimate of the loss, but was in fact a penalty, on the basis that Landtec was required to satisfy a number of conditions before sub-dividing and selling the land, and that Landtec had not satisfied one of the conditions by the time that Speirs had reached practical completion. Between the decisions in Dunlop and AMEV-UDC, a number of cases diluted the standard imposed by Dunlop. The logic is that, following termination, the contractor has no control over the time it takes to complete the works and is therefore at the mercy of the employer and any replacement contractor. Formulating or reviewing liquidated damages clause
Courts do not like to interfere with the contractual freedom of parties and will be reluctant to step in and intervene in business dealings between large organisations. If the sum is an extravagant or unconscionable amount in comparison to the greatest amount that could conceivably be proved to have followed from the breach, the sum will be a penalty. Delay in the performance of the [contract between Speirs and Landtec] was incapable of causing any relevant financial loss to [Landtec] until [the condition] was satisfied…..Thus, the sum stipulated is extravagant in amount in comparison with the greatest loss that could potentially be suffered by delay in practical completion under the [contract between Speirs and Landtec].". We operate in small teams in which partners not only take the lead but also do a significant amount of the detailed work. Power up your legal research with modern workflow tools, AI conceptual search and premium content sets that leverage Lexology's archive of 900,000+ articles contributed by the world's leading law firms. However, a number of recent cases have reformulated the test for deciding whether a liquidated damages clause is a penalty. Specifically, the court held that: "the liquidated damages clause cannot be characterised as a genuine pre-estimate of the damages to which [Landtec] would be entitled under the general law. If the liquidated damages already reflect a genuine pre-estimate of loss, there will be no additional damages to claim, so the additional right to recover costs will never kick in. The case itself concerned an IT contract which provided for completion and handover of the work in stages. This is where the genuine pre-estimate of loss test holds firm: if the sums specified are genuine pre-estimates then they are highly unlikely to be penal. 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