- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 15 Jan 2018
Assignment of choses in action
Choses in action are ‘…all personal rights of property which can only be claimed or enforced by action and not by taking physical possession.’ (ref Torkington v Magee). The term includes the benefits arising under a contract and, subject to certain qualifications, rights of action arising by reason of a breach of contract.
Choses in action can be assigned or transferred unilaterally, for example A the employer enters into a construction contract with B the contractor, requiring B to construct a building to a quality set out in the specification. A can, without the consent of, or indeed knowledge of B, transfer the benefit of that contract to a third party C. A is known as the assignor, B the debtor and C the assignee. Only the benefits of a contract can be assigned, not the burdens (see Nokes v Doncaster Amalgamated Collieries). The burden must be novated.
It is important to understand that the right to assign a chose in action is not derived from contract. It is a statutory right, alternatively a right arising from the rules of equity. Express conditions are commonly found in collateral warranties purporting to grant rights of assignment; these conditions are unnecessary and may actually have the effect of restricting the rights to assign.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
How does EVA rate a project's progress?
How can it benefit the built environment?
The benefits of early contractor involvement.
Why it is so important for health and wellbeing.
A highly effective method of managing supply chains.
How it can benefit construction.
Free guide to commissioning for site managers published by NHBC and BSRIA.
Resolving quickly to minimise delay and costs.
Tackling domestic abuse.
Disallowed costs vs. defined costs. Which is which?