This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Understanding Liquidated Damages in Contracts

Question from Ishi, Understanding Liquidated Damages in Contracts

Answer from AI:

When it comes to contracts, the terms and conditions laid out within them are crucial for both parties to understand and agree upon. One such term that often causes confusion is “liquidated damages.” This concept is particularly important in service contracts where the performance standards and penalties for non-compliance are specified. Let’s delve into the concept of liquidated damages, using a specific example to clarify how they are calculated and applied, and discuss whether there might be a mistake in the phrasing regarding their calculation on a per-month basis.

What Are Liquidated Damages?

Liquidated damages are a predetermined amount of money that a party agrees to pay if they breach certain terms of a contract. This concept is used to estimate in advance the financial harm one party would suffer due to the breach. It’s important to note that for liquidated damages to be enforceable, they must represent a genuine attempt to estimate the loss in advance and not serve as a penalty.

Example Scenario

In the provided scenario, the contract specifies liquidated damages of Rs 1000 per staff per day for non-satisfactory services, with a cap of 10% of the contract price for the entire contract duration. The monthly contract price is Rs 105,225 (inclusive of VAT) for the period from January 1, 2024, to June 30, 2024.

Is There a Mistake in the Phrasing?

The concern raised is whether there’s a mistake in the phrasing regarding the calculation of liquidated damages on a per-month basis. To assess this, let’s break down the components:

  1. Per Staff Per Day Charge: The contract specifies a daily charge for each staff member if the services are not satisfactory.
  2. Maximum Cap: The maximum amount of liquidated damages is capped at 10% of the contract price.
  3. Contract Duration: The contract covers a six-month period.

Given these points, the calculation of liquidated damages does not explicitly mention a monthly basis but rather a daily rate per staff member. The confusion might arise from how the daily rate accumulates over the month and how it relates to the overall cap of 10% of the contract price.

Clarifying the Calculation

To clarify, the liquidated damages are calculated based on the daily rate per staff member. However, the total amount of liquidated damages that can be claimed is limited to 10% of the contract price over the entire contract duration. This means that regardless of the daily charges accumulated, the total cannot exceed this cap.

It’s possible that the contract intended for the liquidated damages to be assessed on a per-month basis within the context of the overall cap, but the phrasing does not explicitly state this. This could lead to ambiguity in interpreting the contract terms.


  • If you’re a party to this contract and find the terms unclear, it’s advisable to seek clarification or amendment from the other party to explicitly state how liquidated damages should be calculated and applied on a per-month basis, if that was the intent.
  • Consulting with a legal professional who specializes in contract law can provide personalized advice and help navigate the potential for disputes over contract interpretation.


While the concept of liquidated damages is straightforward, the specific application and calculation can vary significantly from one contract to another. In the scenario provided, the ambiguity in phrasing regarding the monthly calculation of liquidated damages could lead to misunderstandings between the parties involved. It’s crucial for contract terms to be clear and unambiguous to avoid such issues. When in doubt, seeking legal advice is always a prudent step.

For more information on liquidated damages and contract law, you might find resources like the Indian Kanoon or the Ministry of Corporate Affairs helpful.

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