Difference Between Assignment and Delegation

Assignment vs Delegation

Contracts law has many important concepts. Two complimentary concepts in these are delegation and assignment. A very thin line divides assignment and delegation. This article attempts to highlight the differences between assignment and delegation by discussing the features of both.


In any contract, there are rights held by a party. When this party, called assignor, transfers his rights to another party called assignee, the process is called an assignment. Let us assume you are a painting contractor and have made a contract to paint a house for $200. Now you can transfer your right to receive this money to another person, which implies you have assigned contract rights to another person. Here, it is important to remember that it is rights that can get transferred by the process of assignment, and not obligations. This means you can transfer your benefits to another party under a contract but not the obligations. It is possible to prohibit assignment under any contract by specifically mentioning this prohibition.


Delegation is a process of transferring obligations to another party under as contract. Therefore, when you transfer your duties that you are under a contract to perform, you are delegating your obligations and not assigning your rights to another party. Taking the same painting contract, you are under the obligation of painting the entire house, and you can pass on this responsibility to another party or person which is termed as delegation. The point to remember is that it is only responsibilities or obligations that can be transferred this way and not the rights, which in this case were $200 that you were to receive in lieu of painting job.

Delegation is not always possible. Take, for example, a famous caterer who has been given the contract for arranging food at a function. He possibly cannot transfer his responsibility of supplying food to any other caterer as this changes the nature of agreement or contract.


What is the difference between Assignment and Delegation?

• Transfer of right under a contract to a third party is called assignment while transfer of responsibility or obligation to a third party is referred to as delegation

• Both assignment and delegation are possible under a contract

• It is possible to prohibit assignment or obligation by specifically mentioning in a contract