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You do not need to have a contract to owe something to someone

30 Jun 2014

Individuals and companies often think they have obligations towards each other only pursuant to the agreements they enter into in the course of their commercial activities. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Over the centuries, the common law has established various extra-contractual duties (in legal parlance, “causes of action”), which are owed between members of society whether or not an actual agreement had been made.

Arguably the most commonly invoked extra-contractual obligation owed by individuals and companies is the existence of a duty of care. Companies or individuals who fail to perform within various legally established norms can become liable for significant monetary damages for being negligent.

Further, individuals and companies can often become subjected to various economic torts (prohibited economic conduct such as interference with a business’s economic relations), regulatory regimes such as the Workplace Safety Insurance Board and personal injury and intellectual property lawsuits.

Various causes of action apply to specific scenarios, depending on the circumstances of each particular case. When dealing with business and other disputes, we strive to look beyond contractual language, if any, so as to ensure that all of the law’s consequences in our clients’ case have been adequately taken into consideration. It is extremely important to be aware of all of the underlying nuances in a given matter.

If you or your company is or is about to become the subject of a legal proceeding, we invite you to contact us with a view to booking a consultation. Upon a review of your case we will advise you on the best way to move forward.

The above article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere.