SUBSTANTIAL-PERFORMANCE DOCTRINEsubstantial-performance doctrine. The rule that if a good-faith attempt to perform does not precisely meet the terms of an agreement or statutory requirements, the performance will still be considered complete if the essential purpose is accomplished, subject to a claim for damages for the shortfall. ? Under the Uniform Probate Code, a will that is otherwise void because some formality has not been followed may still be valid under the substantial-performance doctrine. But this rule is not widely followed.
¡ª Also termed substantial-compliance rule. Cf. PERFECT-TENDER RULE. [Cases: Contracts 294. C.J.S. Contracts ¡ì¡ì 433, 589.]
¡°There has arisen in the United States an indefinite doctrine sometimes referred to as that of substantial performance. It is a doctrine that deals not with performance of a duty as a discharge thereof but with performance by the plaintiff as a condition precedent to the active duty of performance by the defendant. Where a defendant is sued for non-performance he cannot avoid paying damages by showing that he substantially performed or came near performing or gave something equally good; but he can always successfully defend if in fact some condition precedent to his own duty has not been fulfilled by the plaintiff.¡± William R. Anson, Principles of the Law of Contract 422 (Arthur L. Corbin ed., 3d Am. ed. 1919).