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substantial performance

n. in the law of contracts, fulfillment of the obligations agreed to in a contract, with only slight variances from the exact terms and/or unimportant omissions or minor defects. A simple test is whether the omission, variance or defect can be easily compensated for with money. Examples: a) the contract is for supplying 144 pumps for $14,400, and only 140 were delivered; b) the real property was supposed to be 80 acres and only contained 78 acres. This constitutes substantial performance unless the loss of two acres is crucial to the value of the property (e.g. reduced the number of lots able to be subdivided); c) the product was to be delivered on October 25 and did not arrive until November 5. This constitutes substantial performance unless the product was required for a Halloween sale.

See also: contract  specific performance 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications