Can a buyer request specific performance of a purchase and sales contract?

Can a buyer force specific performance of a service contract?
February 23, 2016
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Occasionally there are situations where a seller refuses to hand over the purchased product even after the buyer has paid for it. In these cases, once the buyer has proved that the seller breached the contract, the buyer may have the option to enforce the seller’s performance of the contract. This is called “specific performance” of a contract and can be awarded as a remedy instead of money damages in certain cases.

When awarding specific performance, the court will order the seller to deliver the purchased item to the buyer in compliance with the terms of the contract. This remedy can be especially useful when an award of money damages will not provide adequate compensation to the buyer for the seller’s breach of contract, such as when the contract is for a specific piece of art or irreplaceable jewelry.

However, this remedy raises some ethical problems when applied to service oriented contracts. If a breaching party no longer wants to provide the personal service specified in the contract, a judge ordering that party to perform the requested action would be enforcing a form of mandatory labor or slavery. Instead, courts will try to appoint a substitute of equal skill to complete the task instead of the breaching party.

If you have any questions about contracting in Japan, please contact our office to set up a legal consultation.