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Foundational Principles of Contract Law$
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Melvin A. Eisenberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199731404.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

The Specific-Performance Principle

The Specific-Performance Principle

Actual and Virtual Specific Performance

(p.295) Twenty-Four The Specific-Performance Principle
Foundational Principles of Contract Law

Melvin A. Eisenberg

Oxford University Press

Chapter 24 considers the most prominent alternative to expectation damages—specific performance. Specific performance is a judicial decree that orders a promisor to render the performance she agreed to render, on pain of a penalty for contempt of court if she does not. The principle that should govern specific-performance—the Specific-Performance Principle—is as follows: actual specific performance should be awarded unless a special moral, policy, or experiential reason suggests otherwise in a given class of cases or the promisee can achieve virtual specific performance by acquiring goods or services in the market that are equivalent to the contracted-for goods or services. Under this principle specific performance should be liberally but not routinely granted.

Keywords:   specific performance, virtual specific performance, specific-performance principle, contempt of court, contracted-for performance

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