|Part of the common law series|
|Defenses against formation|
|Excuses for non-performance|
|Rights of third parties|
|Breach of contract|
|Related areas of law|
|Other common law areas|
In contract law and administrative law, delegation (Latin intercessio) is the act of giving another person the responsibility of carrying out the performance agreed to in a contract. Three parties are concerned with this act - the party who had incurred the obligation to perform under the contract is called the delegator; the party who assumes the responsibility of performing this duty is called the delegatee; and the party to whom this performance is owed is called the obligee.
A delegation will be null and void if it poses any threat to the commercially reasonable expectations of the obligee. For example, a task requiring specialized skills or based on the unique characteristics of the promisee can not be delegated. If a specific celebrity was hired to make a speech, they could not delegate the task to another person, even if the other person would give the same speech, word for word. However, a delegation of performance that does not pose such a threat will be held to be valid. In such a case, the obligee will be under an affirmative duty to cooperate with the delegatee to the extent necessary for the fulfillment of the delegator's obligations
Breach of a delegated contract
If the delegatee fails to perform satisfactorily, the obligee may elect to treat this failure as a breach of the original contract by the delegator or may assert himself as a third party beneficiary of the contract between the delegator and the delegatee, and can claim all remedies due to a third party beneficiary.
If the delegation is without consideration, the delegator remains liable for nonperformance, while the delegatee will not be liable to anyone for anything. Unlike an assignment, a delegation is virtually always for consideration, and never donative - few people are going to accept the charitable offer to perform a task contracted to someone else.
A parallel concept to delegation is assignment, which occurs when one party transfers his present rights to receive the benefits accruing to the assignor under that contract. A delegation and an assignment can be accomplished at the same time, although the right to sue for nonpayment always stays with delegator. Under the common law, a contract clause prohibiting assignment also prohibits delegation. Another common law rule requires that a party to a contract can not delegate performance that involves special skills or reputation (although it is possible to have a novation under such circumstances).