The courts try to give effect to the principle of full restitution. The ideal is to restore the plaintiff to his position before he was wronged. Sometimes, damages will not be an adequate remedy.
The court may therefore give other remedies. Where there is a breach of contract, the court may enforce ‘specific performance’ of the contract. For example, if there is a contract to buy a house the purchaser may not be truly compensated by a return of his deposit.
There may be no substitute for the house which he particularly wished to live in. Therefore, he may obtain an order for specific performance. On the other hand, the vendor of the house stood to receive only cash had the contract been performed.
Therefore, he can be fully compensated by damages and would not be able to require specific performance. Specific performance is never enforced to make someone carry out a contract of personal services, such as making an actor fulfil his engagement.
Legal page last ppdated on December 14, 2020