Five Things That Can be "Breached," Legally Speaking

Written by Christi Hayes and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

The law loves to talk about things being "breached." Literally meaning "a break," as in to breach (i.e., break through) a wall, a breach in legal parlance is a very important word. From breach of duty to breach of contract, there are a wide array of things that can be breached in the world of law. In many cases, to breach something can lead to legal and/or financial repercussions. Here is a look at five breaches that are especially important for anybody who works in the legal profession to understand.

Breach of Contract 

A contract lays out the terms of a relationship between two parties. Two spouses make a contract with one another when they get married as do two partners who decide to start a small business together. If any of the terms of a contract are broken, then a breach of contract has occurred. A breach of contract can lead to a lawsuit, such as, in the case of a marriage contract, a divorce.

Breach of Duty 

A duty of care may exist in some relations between people and/or companies. If either a person or company who owes a duty of care to another party fails to live up to that duty, then a breach of duty may have occurred. A doctor, for example, has a duty of care to his or her patients and failing to live up to that duty could result in accusations of negligence and malpractice.

Breach of Confidence

Some information is confidential, such as information a client gives to an attorney or information a patient gives to a doctor. Companies, too, have information that is considered confidential. If a person has a duty to maintain that confidentiality and then fails to do so, then he or she may be liable for a breach of confidence.

Breach of the Peace 

A breach of the peace is often used to describe actions or threats that result in a disturbance to public order. A breach of the peace can include, among other actions, threatening to do violence or carrying a weapon in public without having a lawful reason for doing so. Because a breach of the peace doesn't necessarily result in violence itself, it is often charged as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.

Breach of Warranty 

Breach of warranty is especially important in the world of product liability law. If a manufacturer or seller of a product makes an express or implied promise about a product, then that manufacturer or seller may be held liable if the product does not live up to those promises. A promise by the seller or manufacturer does not need to be written or verbal. A car dealer, for example, makes an implied promise that the brakes on any car it sells are in good working condition. If such a promise is broken, then a breach of warranty has occurred.  

The above is just a small sample of how breaches of various kinds can lead to many different legal and moral consequences. From marriage to business agreements to sales at the mall, countless relationships and transactions are impacted by the potential to be breached in a legal sense.

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