Q&As

Can a contract variation be used to rectify a mistake in a contract and does this have to be done by deed?

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Published on LexisPSL on 18/12/2018

The following Commercial Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can a contract variation be used to rectify a mistake in a contract and does this have to be done by deed?

We refer you to Practice Note: Contract variation.

A contract variation is a subsequent change to an original contract. Variations to contracts may arise and be proposed for many reasons. Some of the more common reasons include:

  1. changes in the scope of goods or services required

  2. changes in the contract charges or rates

  3. extensions of time

  4. changes in resources required to perform the contract

  5. clarification of issues which the original contract has not adequately dealt with, or

  6. other changes to the underlying needs of each of the parties

Not all changes to a contractual relationship amount to an effective or valid variation. Sometimes the changes are such that the end result is not a varied contract but a rescinded one, an assignment or a novation. For more guidance on rescission, assignment and novation, see Practice Notes: Rescission of a contract, Assigning contracts—common scenarios and considerations and Novation—why and how to novate a contract.

There are several methods of variation. A contract may be varied:

  1. in writing

  2. orally

  3. by conduct

  4. unilaterally (if permitted by the contract)

  5. by waiver, or

  6. by sustained minor breach

An existing contract may be varied in writing

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