A decree for specific performance is not granted for contracts of every description. It is only where it is just and equitable so to do, i’. e., where the legal remedy is inadequate or defective, that the courts issue a decree for specific performance. It is usually granted in contracts connected with land, buildings, rare articles and unique goods having some special value to the party suing because of family association. Notice that in all these contracts monetary compensation is not an adequate relief because the injured party will not be able to get an exact substitute in the market.
Specific performance is not granted, as a rule, in the following cases: (i) Where monetary compensation is an adequate relief. Thus the courts refuse specific performance of a contract to lend or to borrow money or where the contract is for the sale of goods easily procurable elsewhere. (ii) Where the court cannot supervise the actual execution of the contract, e.g., a building construction contract. Moreover, in most cases damages afford an adequate remedy.
(iii) Where the contract is for personal services, e.g., a contract to marry or to paint a picture.
In such contracts ‘injunction’ (/’.e., an order which forbids the defendant to perform a like personal service for other persons) is granted in place of specific performance.