A contractual agreement is a legal one. This means that the parties to the contract have agreement to be bound to each other by a promise which if breached would attract legal consequences. Therefore the defaulting party, i.e. the party that does not go along with the promise can be sued in a court of law. Depending where you are residing in the world, there is the most likely situation that your country will have specific laws relating to breach of contract and a legal process of how you can seek remedy in the court of your country. In some countries a breach can be settled by a mediation process whereby both parties to the contract in the event of a dispute will agree to meet a learned person or a village elder and ask the person to be a mediator. The role of the mediator is to hear both sides of the story and decide who is right and who is wrong and what compensation should be paid.
In many developed countries, there are well established legal systems that will provide the platform to bring a legal action. So for a broken contract the first thing you got to ask yourself is whether you really want to sue the breaching party or not. Sometimes it might not be worth the effort to sue as the amount or issue concern is so trivial that it would be a waste of the court’s time. Think about it – would you want to sue for being served your meal late in a restaurant? Or that the free gift that was promised when you made a sale turns out to be defective? The thing here is that you are within your right to sue, but life is too short to waste time and effort in these kinds of situation. Unless of course you really got nothing else to do in your life.
However if the contract that you are in consist of a substantial value or that you stand to lose lots of money then you should consider bring this case to court. This is where you might need to engage the services of a lawyer. Some lawyers might charge you a flat rate to handle your case. Others might want a percentage of the sum given to you if you win the case. Yet there are other lawyers who might handle a case on a pro bono basis. This means that they do it for you absolutely free of any charges. Of course, you might ask why would any lawyer be out of his mind to do such a thing? There are many reasons both personal to the lawyer and others. So if do have such a lawyer – ask him or her?
Otherwise, the lawyer will not assist you in bringing the case to court. But usually this is the last resort. What the lawyer will try to do is to see whether it would be possible to settle the issue out of court. This might involve some arm-twisting and tough negotiation. It is a likely chance that the other party might not have intended you to go this far and might quickly back out and settle the matter as amicably as possible. Then again the other party might also feel that he or she is in the right and may decide to take you on in the court of law. If this happens your lawyer might issue a writ of summon for a court proceeding. A date will be fixed for you and the other party to attend court and state your claim. There will be a presiding judge who will hear the case. Even at this stage it is not too late to change your mind and resolve the issue out of court. If this is not possible at all then a date will set whereby the lawyers for both side will built up the case against each other. This is where your lawyer will try to adduce evidences and information that will help your case. At this stage you have to work closely with your lawyer to give him/her all the information that is required to strengthen your case. Eventually the case goes to court at which stage the person suing will be referred to as the plaintiff and the person being sued being referred as the defendant.
In many countries there are different levels of courts. Some hearing cases amounting to a few thousand dollars to others which are higher up the ladder hearing cases that might go into millions of dollars. So depending the amount of compensation that you intend to claim the case will go to the appropriate court which your lawyer will recommend. Note that the higher up the court, the more expensive it will for you and if you lose then there is a lot of money you need to pay your lawyer and the winning party.
So you really need to consider all the possible scenarios before you embark on getting justice for your broken contract. Personally, I would prefer as far as possible to try to resolve the dispute without the need to go to court or engaging a lawyer.