Assumpsit (Contract) - Explained
What is Assumpsit?
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What is Assumpsit?
In Latin, the term assumpsit means "he has undertaken". 'It is used in common law to define an action to recover damages resulting from a breach of contract. This action covers many types of agreements - although it was initially developed in the 14th century as a form of recovery for the negligent performance of an undertaking.
How Does Assumpsit Work?
A contract is an agreement between two parties where one party promises to do some act or pay something to the other. It may be in an oral form or writing, but it's not under seal. It is considered express if the promisor puts his promise in a distinct and definite language. It's deemed to be implied in the case where the law infers a commitment from the conduct of the party or the circumstance of the situation although a formal promise was not made.
In practice, an assumpsit is a form of action for the recovery of damages for the non-performance a simple contract (which is of neither recorded nor made under seal). This action is divided into two:
- Common or indebitatus assumpsit. Arises with an implied promise.
- Special assumpsit. This is founded on an express promise.
The action of assumpsit is different from trespass and trover because they are founded on tort and not on a contract. It is also different from covenant and debt because they are appropriate where the ground of recovery is a sealed instrument or a special obligation of paying a fixed sum. It is different from replevin which seeks the recovery of specific property instead of damages.
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