When entering into a contract, the parties in a contractual relationship always aim for certain interests and purposes. However, in reality, the contract is not always implemented seriously and in good faith. According to Vietnam laws, parties are entitled to cancel the contract to protect rights and interests. Therefore, it is not rare for a party to request to cancel the contract in order not to be bound by the contract. However, it should be noted that the right of cancellation is only applied in some certain circumstances which stipulated by the law. This is to limit arbitrariness of cancelling the contract.
The basic condition for cancelling the contract is the breach. However, it should be noted that not all breaches of contract will result in cancelling the contract. This is stipulated in both of general law and specialized law. According to Commercial law 2005 (“CL”), the sanction of cancelling the contract is applied in case of breaching act be a condition for the cancellation of the contract as agreed upon by the parties or in case of substantial breach of contractual obligations from a party. Specifically, contractual breach means the failure of a party to perform, to fully or properly perform its obligations according to the agreement between the parties or the provisions of CL. Substantial breach means a contractual breach by a party, which causes damage to the other party to an extent that the other party cannot achieve the purpose of the entry into the contract. Civil Code 2015 (“CC”) also stipulates correspondingly but it uses the term “serious breach”: “A party has the right to cancel the contract and shall not be liable to compensate for damage in the following cases: (i) A breaching act of one party is a condition for the cancellation of the contract as agreed upon by the parties; (ii) The other party seriously violates the obligations in the contract; (iii) Others circumstances as provided by law. Serious violation means the failure to fulfill obligations properly by a party which make the other party cannot achieve the purpose of the entry into the contract”. However, currently there is no specific guidance on identifying the substantial breach of contractual obligations and the serious breach of contractual obligations. Therefore, determining whether a party’s breach is considered as a substantial breach of contractual obligations or a serious breach of contractual obligations will be within the competence of the jurisdiction.
A lawfully concluded contract may be canceled when a party breaches its basic contractual obligations. After cancelling the contract, such contract shall be invalid from the time it is entered into, and the parties shall not have to continue performing their contractual obligations, except for their agreements on their post-cancellation rights and obligations and resolution of disputes. The parties shall have the right to claim benefits brought about their performance of their contractual obligations. If parties have indemnity obligations, their obligations must be performed concurrently. Where it is impossible to make the indemnity with benefits which one party has enjoyed, the obliged party must make the indemnity in cash. Breached parties are entitled to claim damages.
In conclusion, from the regulation of law, it can be seen that nature of contract is to benefit for the parties and not to be canceled. The cancellation is very serious so the contract can only be canceled in some certain conditions. The contract cannot be canceled as a sanction if there is no contract breach. Simultaneously, the party requesting cancellation also needs to know that such request is only accepted if there is enough foundation to affirm that the other party has substantial breach of contractual obligations or the serious breach of contractual obligations. Parties encountering potential dispute should consult with dispute lawyers in Vietnam for proper resolution.