Breach of Agreement - ISDA Provision

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2002 ISDA Master Agreement

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ISDA Text: 5(a)(ii)

5(a)(ii) Breach of Agreement; Repudiation of Agreement.
(1) Failure by the party to comply with or perform any agreement or obligation (other than an obligation to make any payment under this Agreement or delivery under Section 2(a)(i) or 9(h)(i)(2) or (4) or to give notice of a Termination Event or any agreement or obligation under Section 4(a)(i), 4(a)(iii) or 4(d)) to be complied with or performed by the party in accordance with this Agreement if such failure is not remedied within 30 days after notice of such failure is given to the party; or
(2) the party disaffirms, disclaims, repudiates or rejects, in whole or in part, or challenges the validity of, this Master Agreement, any Confirmation executed and delivered by that party or any Transaction evidenced by such a Confirmation (or such action is taken by any person or entity appointed or empowered to operate it or act on its behalf);

Related agreements and comparisons

Click here for the text of Section 5(a)(ii) in the 1992 ISDA
Click to compare this section in the 1992 ISDA and 2002 ISDA.

Resources and Navigation

This provision in the 1992

Resources Wikitext | Nutshell wikitext | 1992 ISDA wikitext | 2002 vs 1992 Showdown | 2006 ISDA Definitions | 2008 ISDA | JC’s ISDA code project
Navigation Preamble | 1(a) (b) (c) | 2(a) (b) (c) (d) | 3(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) | 4(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) | 55(a) Events of Default: 5(a)(i) Failure to Pay or Deliver 5(a)(ii) Breach of Agreement 5(a)(iii) Credit Support Default 5(a)(iv) Misrepresentation 5(a)(v) Default Under Specified Transaction 5(a)(vi) Cross Default 5(a)(vii) Bankruptcy 5(a)(viii) Merger Without Assumption 5(b) Termination Events: 5(b)(i) Illegality 5(b)(ii) Force Majeure Event 5(b)(iii) Tax Event 5(b)(iv) Tax Event Upon Merger 5(b)(v) Credit Event Upon Merger 5(b)(vi) Additional Termination Event (c) (d) (e) | 6(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) | 7 | 8(a) (b) (c) (d) | 9(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) | 10 | 11 | 12(a) (b) | 13(a) (b) (c) (d) | 14 |

Index: Click to expand:



Note the addition of Repudiation of Agreement to the 2002 ISDA. Common law purists like the JC will grumble that you don’t really need to set out repudiation as a breach justifying termination of a contract, because that’s what it is by definition but stating the bleeding obvious has never stopped ISDA’s crack drafting squad™ before. Also, an interesting question: if you do feel the need to provide for what is in essence an evolving common law remedy, then, to the extent your draw that remedy inside the cope of the common law remedy — or the common law evolves some new different and remedy that no-one had thought of before — then what? Section 9(d) has you covered. Woo-hoo.



A failure to perform any agreement, if not cured within 30 days, is an Event of Default, except for those failures which already have their own special Event of Default (i.e., Failure to Pay or Deliver, under Section 5(a)(i)), those that relate to a pre-existing default (for example, default interest on unpaid amounts) and those that only bear on the “defaulting” party’s tax position, meaning that non-performance is punishment enough in itself (and does not affect the “non-defaulting” party) — that is, the non-compliant party will just get clipped for tax it could have avoided had it performed.

These are the boring breaches of agreement: those of a not immediately existential consequence to a derivative relationship (like Failure to Pay or Deliver, or a party’s outright Bankruptcy), which are not therefore hugely time critical, but which, if not promptly sorted out, justify shutting things down with extreme prejudice. Note that, while the 2002 truncates a bunch of other grace periods in the agreement (notably for a Failure to Pay or Deliver, and for discharging a Bankruptcy petition) it does not truncate the grace period for “boring” defaults, which stays at the glacially long 30 days.

All rendered in ISDA’s crack drafting squad™’s lovingly tortured prose, of course: note a double negative extragvaganza in 5(a)(ii)(1): not complying with an obligation that is not (inter alia) a payment obligation if not remedied within a month. High five, team ISDA.


New in the 2002 ISDA: repudiation of contract. Not actually breaching it, per se, but high-handedly saying that you are going to. In writing. Could you argue that by codifying that a repudiation must be in writing to count, in a counter-intuitive way this new clause dilutes the common law rules, rather than reinforcing them? A common law repudiation can, if clear enough, be oral, by conduct, body language, morse code, semaphore and so on,

So rather than empowering a Non-defaulting Party, the addition of a narrow definition of what counts as repudiation makes their avenue of redress that teeny bit narrower. Doubtful it has ever made a difference, but — well, they said that about LIBOR didn’t they.

Hierarchy of Events

Note that a normal Section 5(a)(ii)(1) Breach of Agreement that also amounts to a Section 5(b)(i) Illegality or a Section 5(b)(ii) Force Majeure Termination Event will, thanks to section 5(c), be treated as the latter, but a repudiatory Breach of Agreement under section 5(a)(ii)(2) willl not enjoy the same leniency. If you have repudiated your contract, the fact that there happens to be a concurrent Illegality — it is hard to see how a repudiatory breach could be an Illegality in itself — will not save you from the full enormity of section 5(a)(ii) Event of Default style close out.

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See also