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What is "Specific Performance" as a Legal Remedy?

"Specific performance" is a specialized remedy used by courts when no other remedy (such as money) will adequately compensate the other party. If a legal remedy will put the injured party in the position he or she would have enjoyed had the contract been fully performed, then the court will use that option instead. The most common reason courts grant specific performance is that the subject of the contract is unique. When a contract is for the sale of a unique property, mere money damages will not remedy the purchaser's situation.

Example: Rina offers to buy Beth's house and Beth accepts, but later decides to keep the property. Real estate is considered to be unique. Since there is no other piece of property or house exactly like Beth's, Rina may be entitled to specific performance on the contract. Beth would be compelled to go through with the sale.

Courts will enforce specific performance only if the underlying contract was fair and equitable. Other commodities that courts have found to support specific performance include works of art, custom-made products, and goods in short supply.

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