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Pro tanto: Definition, Example and Related Terms

What is Pro tanto ?

The term 'Pro tanto' is a Latin phrase that means 'for so much', 'to that extent', or 'only to that extent'. In the world of commercial contracts, it implies a partial payment or partial fulfillment of an obligation. It's like saying, 'I have done my part or paid my share for now, but I still owe you more.' This term is often used in situations where a contract cannot be fulfilled in its entirety at once. Instead, the obligations under the contract are met gradually, in parts, over a period of time.


  • Scenario Description
    A company signs a contract to deliver 1000 units of a product to another company. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, they are only able to deliver 500 units at the agreed time. In this case, the term 'Pro tanto' applies. The supplying company has fulfilled its obligation 'pro tanto' – that is, it has delivered 500 units out of the 1000 agreed upon. They still owe the buying company 500 more units to fully fulfill the contract.
    A business agrees to provide certain services to another party over a period of six months. However, they are only able to provide these services for three months. In this situation, the service-providing business has fulfilled its obligation 'pro tanto'. They have provided the agreed services for three months, but they still owe three more months of service to fully meet the terms of the contract.