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Assignment of Contracts: Transferring Rights and Obligations

Assignment of Contracts: Transferring Rights and Obligations

As a solicitor in contract law, it is important to understand the concept of assignment of contracts. This legal process allows for the transfer of rights and obligations from one party to another. It is a common practice in the business world, and knowing the ins and outs of assignment can be a valuable asset for any legal professional.

What is an Assignment of Contract?

Assignment of contract refers to the transfer of rights and obligations from the original party, known as the assignor, to a third party, known as the assignee. This transfer can occur for various reasons, such as the assignor wanting to pass off the responsibilities outlined in the contract to someone else or the assignor needing to sell their rights under the contract for financial or strategic reasons.

It is essential to note that when an assignment occurs, the assignee steps into the shoes of the assignor and assumes all the rights and obligations outlined in the original contract. The assignee becomes a party to the contract and is bound by its terms, just as the assignor was before the assignment took place.

Key Elements of an Assignment of Contract

When drafting or reviewing an assignment of contract, there are several key elements to consider:

  • Consent: The assignment must be agreed upon by all parties involved, including the original contracting parties and the assignee. Consent can be explicit, with all parties signing a formal assignment agreement, or it can be implied by the actions and conduct of the parties.
  • Notice: The assignor is generally required to provide notice to the other party involved in the original contract. This notice informs the other party that their rights and obligations will now be transferred to the assignee.
  • No novation: It is important to distinguish an assignment from a novation. In an assignment, the original contract remains intact, with the assignee simply taking over the rights and obligations of the assignor. In a novation, however, a new contract is created, extinguishing the original contract and replacing it with a new one.

Legal Considerations in Assignment of Contracts

When engaging in an assignment of contract, it is crucial to consider various legal aspects:

  • Transferability of rights: Some contracts contain clauses that restrict or prohibit assignment. It is important to review the original contract to ensure that assignment is permitted. If there are restrictions, obtaining consent from the other party may be necessary.
  • Liability: The assignor is typically not relieved of liability by assigning the contract. They may still be held responsible for any breaches or outstanding obligations that existed at the time of assignment. Therefore, it is crucial to include appropriate indemnification clauses to protect the assignor.
  • Governing law and jurisdiction: Consideration must be given to the governing law and jurisdiction that will apply to the contract. This is crucial if any disputes arise, as it determines which laws and courts govern the resolution.


Assignment of contracts is an essential part of contract law, allowing for the transfer of rights and obligations from one party to another. Understanding the key elements and legal considerations involved in the assignment process is vital for any solicitor practicing contract law.

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These articles will provide you with valuable resources and information to help you succeed in your exam preparation and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in contract law.