Discuss the requirements for a valid contract.
A contract is an exchange of promises between two or more parties to do or refrain from doing an act which is enforceable in a court of law.
A contract is a binding agreement between two or more people stating to do something or refrain from doing something. Not all agreements are classified as contracts. A contract is known as an acceptance or offer enforced by law between two or more people. When creating a contract all people or parties involved must intend to create a legal relations. Parties must give or promise something as consideration in return for the benefit they receive. Contracts can be defined as agreements or bargains which may give rise to legal enforceable obligations on the parties involved. A contract is an agreement based on the promise of two or more parties, contracts such as a will is a binding promise of one party.
Content of a contract
It is based on an exchange of promises
It is executory this means that the contract is formed and obligations under it arise before either side has performed any part of it. 3.
It involves an 'exchange' so that each side is giving something in return for the other's promise. It is the existence of this mutuality (given effect through the doctrine of 'consideration) which generally gives rise to enforceability 4.
The content of the contractual obligations is determined by deciding what the parties agreed, or what reasonable parties in their position would have agreed, at the time the contract was made. Later developments are of no significance. Modern Law Of Contract, Richard Stone
A valid contract is a legally binding agreement and this has a number of elements there must be agreement and the agreement must be legally enforceable.
Contract Law 7th Edition, Jill Poole
Requirements for a valid contract can be broken down into four different elements which are:
Offer- An offer must clearly state the terms of which are to be followed through in the agreement. An offer can be made by on party or person to the other which must be communicated well this can be done in writing or before the contract is made up. However if the contract has not been made up the party who may accept the offer must read carefully through its content to make sure that the offer is what they think it is and that there are no additional parts (known as small print) or missing parts. An offer is an expression of willingness to a contract on terms an invation to treat is not an offer. An example would be the case GB v Boots (1953) - priced goods on shelf is an invitation to treat, shop offers to sell at that price which a customer accepts when purchasing items at the till. 2.
Acceptance- Once an offer has been made the person can decide to accept or decline. If the person accepts the offer they must sign a contract or give their word to the other party or person. Both must agree and the contract must be firm, communicated well and a mirror image of what they have agreed on. Silence can some times mean acceptance 'caue at emptor' buyer beware no obligation to volunteer information can lead to an acceptance of a contract or agreement. However silence is not an acceptance to a contract. An example of silence is the case Felthouse v Bindley (1863) where felthouse stated that if he didnt hear the opposite, he would assume the horse was his. And the horse was sold to another. Court ruled that no contract had been made. www.economic truth.co.uk 3.
Consideration- A consideration is the price for which the promise of the person or parties have agreed on. It must be sufficient and something of 'value' from both parties, which will be recognised by the courts as amounting to consideration. Consideration- price of other parties obligation- something given or done in exchange. Must match the promise in time later promise is not consideration. 4.
Poole, J, 2004, Contract Law 7, Part1 pg29, GB, Oxford Press
Richards, P, 2007, Law of Contract 8, Ch7 pg158, England, Pearsonbooks
Stone, R, 2005, Modern Law Of Contract 6,Ch1 pg2, Australia, Cavendish Publishing
Turner, C, 2007, Unlocking Contract Law 2, Ch6.4.1 pg155, Malta, Hodder Arnold
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