Termination and expiry of contracts

The following Commercial practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Termination and expiry of contracts
  • Causes for termination
  • Effluxion of time
  • Contractual rights to terminate
  • Notice
  • Payment default
  • Breach of contract
  • Common law right to terminate for breach—repudiation
  • Contractual right to terminate for breach
  • Timing of notice
  • More...

Termination and expiry of contracts

This Practice Note provides an overview of contract expiry and of the different causes of termination and ways to discharge a contract, including their practical and legal consequences. It considers expiry, contractual rights to terminate (including common termination events), termination for breach of contract (including repudiatory breach), rescission, void contracts, discharge by agreement, frustration, force majeure, illegality, insolvency, discharge by other subsequent events (such as merger, alteration or death), and issues to consider in the context of terminating business-to-consumer contracts.

A contractual promise may be discharged either in accordance with the agreement (for example, by performing the agreement or on the occurrence of a stipulated event such as the expiry of a fixed term) or against the agreement (for example, termination for breach of contract or rescission for misrepresentation).

This Practice Note provides a brief overview of the different ways in which a contract may be brought to an end. The specific Practice Notes referenced in each section should be consulted for more detail.

Causes for termination

There are several ways in which a contract may be brought to an end, including:

  1. due performance—where the parties have completed their contractual obligations and are therefore discharged from further performance; the contract will automatically terminate, unless the parties agree to renew the obligations

  2. effluxion of time—where a contract has been put in place for a specific

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