Anticipatory Breach Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Anticipatory Breach, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Anticipatory Breach?

n. derived from the french word, assez meaning enough that is, the word asset is used for the property in the hands of an heir, executor, administrator or trustee, which is legally or equitably chargeable with the obligations, which such heir, executor, administrator or other trustee, is, as such, required to discharge. In general sense the word stands for anything of commercial value possessed by a party, like stock in trade, cash, property, etc.

History and Meaning of Anticipatory Breach

Anticipatory breach is a specific type of breach of contract where one party to the agreement signals their intention to not fulfill their part of the deal before the actual performance is due. It is also referred to as an anticipatory repudiation. An anticipatory breach occurs when one party expresses an unwillingness or inability to perform their contractual duties before the time for performance occurs.

The doctrine of anticipatory breach has its roots in the common law system and works to help provide some certainty to contracting parties. It enables an innocent party to respond to the breach and take action to mitigate their losses.

Examples of Anticipatory Breach

  • Company A agrees to deliver goods to Company B on a specific date. Before that date arrives, Company A's financial situation drastically changes, and they inform Company B that they will not be able to fulfill the order. This is an anticipatory breach.
  • John agrees to mow Jane's lawn on a specific date. Before that date arrives, John tells Jane he won't be able to do the job. This is an anticipatory breach.
  • A contractor agrees to build a fence for a homeowner, but before construction begins, the contractor indicates they will not be able to complete the work. This is an anticipatory breach.

Legal Terms Similar to Anticipatory Breach

  • Breach of contract: A breach of contract occurs when one party fails to perform their obligations under the agreement. Anticipatory breach is a type of breach of contract, where the breach happens before the actual performance is due.
  • Repudiation: Repudiation is the act of rejecting or renouncing an agreement or obligation. Anticipatory breach is also known as anticipatory repudiation, as it involves a party indicating their intention not to perform their contractual obligations.