What is Contract Litigation?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 01 March 2020
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Contract litigation is the pursuit in court of legal remedies when contracts are broken or otherwise become subject to dispute. People will make every effort to avoid going to court through negotiations and other avenues because lawsuits are expensive and experienced contract litigators are more likely to be successful when cases involving contracts go to court. Contract law is a very complex legal contract and firms specializing in contracts and offering litigation services can be found in many urban areas.

In contract litigation, attorneys for the plaintiff attempt to prove that the defendant has breached a contract, committing a civil wrong, and work to recover damages. The damages are usually designed to pay for the expenses associated with the breach and to offer some compensation. The defendant retains attorneys to argue the circumstances, defending against the charge that a breach occurred and fighting to keep damage compensation low if the court seems likely to rule in favor of the plaintiff.

The process of contract litigation requires carefully reviewing the contract in dispute, as well as considering the circumstances, and balancing this with the law. Creative interpretations of law are often presented in court by both sides as attorneys attempt to argue fine points of the contract to prove their cases. Sometimes, the threat of litigation is enough to get people to agree to negotiation meetings to resolve their differences outside of court.


Contract litigation can be used with a wide variety of contracts, ranging from government contracts for public works projects to employment contracts for private companies. Litigators specializing in contracts usually recommend use of their services before litigation comes up, ideally during the phase of developing the contract so they can spot problems with the contract and address them before the document is signed. In situations where people are concerned about the potential for a suit, as when someone is planning to break a contract, retaining a litigation specialist can help them strategize.

The stakes can be high when contract litigation goes to court and large sums are involved. Attorneys typically charge high fees for their services, especially when working with major companies and on large cases. Some may be willing to take a percentage of the damages, while others may charge hourly. People considering contract litigation should meet with several litigators before choosing one to work with, as different attorneys may have differing ideas on how to handle a case.


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Post 2

@JaneAir - You're probably right.

One thing about contracts most people don't realize is if a contract isn't legal, it's not enforceable. So if you get swindled into signing an unlawful contract, don't let the person who got you to sign it push you around. If a contract isn't lawful, a court won't enforce it.

The same thing goes for waivers-even if you sign a waiver you may still be able to recover damages. A lot of times half the purpose of a waiver is to make the person think they can't sue. But sometimes you can!

Post 1

My mom worked for a lawyer that did personal injury law, but it was kind of the same deal. No one wanted to actually go to court, so they tried everything to settle the cases outside of court. There was a lot of research, back and forth, and negotiating.

I imagine it's probably the same with contract law. Even if someone has breached a contract, the other party might take a legal remedy they offer just to avoid the hassle of going to court.

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