Secondary Blocks

Step-in rights

This guide explains the different parts that make the block relating to step-in rights.


Step-in rights

Step-in rights are contractual provisions that allow one party to take over the performance of obligations, usually services, from another party in the event of a material failure by the latter to fulfill its contractual duties. These provisions are designed to protect the interests of the non-defaulting party and ensure the continuity of services or project completion, minimizing disruption and potential financial losses.

A practical example of step-in rights could be found in a software development contract. Imagine Company A hires Company B to create a custom software solution. The agreement includes deadlines and performance requirements. However, Company B experiences significant delays, fails to deliver the software on time, and does not adhere to the performance standards specified in the contract. As a result, a step-in event is triggered.

With step-in rights in place, Company A can exercise these rights, taking over the development and completion of the software project. Company A may choose to use its own resources or hire a third-party provider to ensure timely delivery and compliance with performance requirements. This helps Company A mitigate the risks and potential losses associated with Company B’s failure to perform its contractual obligations.


Step-in event

A step-in event occurs when there is a material failure by one party to fulfill its obligations under the agreement. Examples include non-performance or inadequate performance needs to be defined in the agreement and generally include inadequate performance, non-compliance with laws, fraud, negligence, or insolvency.

Step-in rights

This part determines that if a step-in event occurs, the other party has the right to assume the performance of the services, either in whole or in part

Step-in period

This part determines the period during which the non-defaulting party may exercises its step-in rights. It generally begins when the non-defaulting party notifies the defaulting party of its intent to exercise the rights and ends when the step-in event is resolved, the contract is terminated, or both parties agree to end the step-in period.


The part determines that the defaulting party must provide the non-defaulting party with all necessary information, documentation, materials, and access to personnel and systems within a provided number of days of receiving notice of the exercise of step-in rights.

Performance of services

This part provides that during the step-in period, the non-defaulting party may choose to perform the services themselves or engage a third-party to do so.


This part generally determines that the defaulting party must pay all reasonable costs incurred by the non-defaulting party as a result of exercising its step-in rights. This includes costs for engaging third parties to perform the services and any additional costs arising from the defaulting party’s failure to perform.


This part provide the non-defaulting party with the right to offset any costs incurred due to the exercise of step-in rights against any amounts payable to the defaulting party under the agreement or recover such costs as a debt due and payable by the defaulting party.

Resumption of services

This part determines that once the step-in period ends, the defaulting party must resume the services as soon as reasonably possible, unless the agreement has been terminated due to the step-in event.

No waiver

This part provides that the exercise of step-in rights by the non-defaulting party does not waive any of its rights or remedies under the agreement.

No release

This part ensures that the exercise of step-in rights by the non-defaulting party does not release the defaulting party from any obligations or liabilities under the agreement. The defaulting party remains liable for any loss or damage suffered by the non-defaulting party due to the step-in event.

Important considerations

When to include a step-rights block

The inclusion of step-in rights provisions is particularly important in the following situations:

  1. Complex or critical projects: For projects with significant operational, financial, or reputational impact, step-in rights provide a safeguard to ensure the project’s continuity in case the service provider fails to deliver.

  2. Long-term contracts: In long-term contracts, the risk of service provider failure may increase over time. Including step-in rights provisions can provide a layer of protection for the customer throughout the contract duration.

  3. Regulated industries: In industries with stringent regulatory requirements, such as banking, healthcare, or utilities, step-in rights can help ensure that services continue to meet compliance standards even if the service provider fails to perform.

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