Legal doctrine

A legal doctrine is a framework, set of rules, procedural steps, or test, often established through precedent in the common law, through which judgments can be determined in a given legal case. A doctrine comes about when a judge makes a ruling where a process is outlined and applied, and allows for it to be equally applied to like cases. When enough judges make use of the process, it may become established as the de facto method of deciding like situations.


Examples of legal doctrines include:

Doctrine Short definition Definition and use
Faithless servant An employee who acts unfaithfully towards his employer must forfeit all of the compensation he received during the period of his disloyalty. Under the laws of a number of states in the United States, and most notably New York State law, an employee who acts unfaithfully towards his employer must forfeit all of the compensation he received during the period of his disloyalty.[1][2][3][4][5] It is a very old common law doctrine that springs out of agency law.[6][7][2][8]
Fundamental breach, also known as fundamental term or repudiatory breach Performance is so far below what is required by the terms of the contract. Under English common law, performance is so substandard that the party injured by the breach is to be exonerated from the performance even if the contract specifically requires performance in the face of a breach.[9]
It is an extension of the doctrine of deviation.[citation needed]
Laches Loss of rights through failure to act. Under English common law, the unnecessary delaying in bringing an action against a party for failure to perform is known as the Doctrine of Laches. The doctrine describes that a court may refuse to hear a case not brought before it after a lengthy period since the right of action arose.
Substantial performance English equity allowing partial execution to replace full performance. Rule of law that may be applied if a contract has been substantially performed before a breach occurs. It is used by courts to prevent the injured party from taking unfair advantage of the party that breached after a percentage of the contract has been performed.[9]
Attribution Series of doctrines allowing an actor to be held liable for actions he did not actually commit.
Tipsy Coachman A rule of law that upholds, in a higher court, a correct conclusion despite flawed reasoning by the judge in a lower court. This longstanding principle of appellate law, sometimes referred to as the ‘tipsy coachman’ doctrine, allows an appellate court to affirm a trial court that reaches the right result but for the wrong reasons so long as there is any basis which would support the judgment in the record." Robertson v. State, 829 So. 2d 901, 906 (Fla. 2002)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Glynn, Timothy P.; Arnow-Richman, Rachel S.; Sullivan, Charles A. (2019). Employment Law: Private Ordering and Its Limitations. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business. ISBN 9781543801064 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b Annual Institute on Employment Law. Vol. 2. Practising Law Institute. 2004 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ New York Jurisprudence 2d. Vol. 52. West Group. 2009 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Labor Cases. Vol. 158. Commerce Clearing House. 2009 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Ellie Kaufman (May 19, 2018). "Met Opera sues former conductor for $5.8 million over sexual misconduct allegations". CNN.
  6. ^ Saxe, David B.; Lesser, Danielle C. (May 29, 2018). "The Ancient Common Law Faithless Servant Rule: Still Relevant in New York". New York Law Journal.
  7. ^ Manning Gilbert Warren III (2010). "Equitable Clawback: An Essay on Restoration of Executive Compensation," 12 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law 1135.
  8. ^ Frank J Cavico, Bahaudin G Mujtaba, Stephen Muffler. (2018). "The Duty of Loyalty in the Employment Relationship: Legal Analysis and Recommendations for Employers and Workers," Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, Vol. 21, Issue 3.
  9. ^ a b Willes, John A; Willes, John H (2012). Contemporary Canadian Business Law: Principles and Cases (9th ed.). McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

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