The rule of privity of contract is the principle that a third-party cannot sue for damages on a contract to which he is not a party. This rule has been criticised particularly in cases where the contract is for the benefit of the third-party. At this time there has been no statute introduced and the rule persists in Malaysian Law to prevent a third-party enforcing contractual provisions made in their favour.
The existence of this rule is the reason behind the rise in the use of collateral warranties. Collateral warranties bypass the rule by creating separate independent contracts collateral to the consultancy or construction contract. It allows future owners of developments to sue consultants or contractors for defects in the design or construction under the collateral warranty. There would be no cause of action under the original consultancy or construction contract.
A further fundamental principle is that the assessment of damages for breach of contract is meant to be compensation for damage, loss or injury suffered through the breach. It therefore allows the party to the contract to sue for his loss but does not allow him to sue for the loss caused to a third-party. (more)