Specific performance (Ro.: executare silită, Fr.: execution specifique, De.: spezifisch Leistung, Gr.: καταδίκη σε εκπλήρωση συμβατικής υποχρέωσης) (See also: damages) = a court order under which the defendant is required to perform a specific act, usually as stated in a previously established transaction. The limits of specific performance are narrow and the remedy is preferred only when damages or an injunction would not adequately compensate the claimant. 

In civil law jurisdictions, specific performance has been considered the routine contract remedy – however, examination of recent case law casts doubt on this finding. In practice, specific performance is often used as a remedy in transactions involving land and in cases where the object of the contract is unique. 


Useful resources

Legislation - US Uniform Commercial Code [English] - UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods [English]

Case law - House of Lords (UK), Beswick v Beswick, 1967

High Court (UK), Sky Petroleum v VIP Petroleum, [1974] 1 WLR 576

High Court (UK), Patel v Ali¸ [1984] Ch 283 

House of Lords (UK), Co-op Insurance Society Ltd v Argyll Stores Holdings Ltd, [1998] AC 1

Online publications - Lando, Henrik and Caspar, Rose, 2004, On the enforcement of specific performance in Civil Law countries, International Review of Law and Economics 24 [English] - McKendrick, Ewan and Maxwell, Iain, 2013, Specific Performance in International Arbitration, The Chinese Journal of Comparative law [English] - Pipsou, Leda-Maria, 1991, Enforcement of Judgement to Abstain from Doing or Opposing an Act, Doctoral Thesis, National Documentation Centre [Greek] - Schwartz, Alan, 1979, The Case for Specific Performance, Faculty Scholarship Series Paper 1118 [English] - Shavell, Steven, 2005, Specific performance versus damages for breach of contract, The Harvard John M. Olin Discussion Paper Series [English] - Walt, Steven, 1991, For Specific Performance Under the United Nations Sales Convention, 26 Texas International Law Journal [English]


Eisenberg, Theodore and Miller, Geoffrey, 2015, Damages versus specific performance: lessons from commercial contracts, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 2015, 12(1), 29-69 [English]

Spry, I. C. F., 1990, The principles of equitable remedies: specific performance, injuctions, rectification and equitable damages, London, Sweet & Maxwell [English]

Van Kogelenberg, Martijn, 2014, Deliberate breach of contract and consequences for remedies: exploration of a neglected area in the law of contract, Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, 2014, 21(1), 141-161 [English]


By Sabina Aionesei