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Greanya Legal Services

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What is a Contract? Must it be Written?

Posted on 13 May, 2015 at 22:05

By Daniel Greanya.

 

The term contract is a misunderstood term. Many laypeople understand a contract as a numbered document that lists things that both parties agree on in a rather formal manner, and which is usually drafted by a paralegal or lawyer. This understanding impacts their understanding of contract law and civil law as a concept, and their understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities. In reality, the term contract has a meaning far beyond the limitations of a formal written document. In this article I will provide a brief overview.

 

A contract refers to the legally recognized agreement between two or more individuals (corporations are considered a legal person in this case), which binds them to a particular obligation(s) or courses of action which may be enforced by the Courts. A contract need not be in writing, and refers more to the relationship between the parties created by their mutual exchange of promises. While it is often a good idea to get an agreement in writing, and a written agreement is properly called a contract, there is no requirement of writing in most cases (an ancient law known as the Statute of Frauds makes some exceptions). A contractual relationship may be created by an oral, written, or implied agreement. A written agreement need not be very formal, quite often a letter outlining the intention of the parties, or even a series of written correspondence will outline a contractual arrangement. One less formal type of contract is known as a standard form contract. These are typically tickets or invoices that have terms that the customer does not negotiate. A rail or intercity bus ticket is a great example. Most people would not consider this a contract, but a contractual relationship is created nevertheless.

 

Of course it is often advisable that a contract be in writing. As a paralegal, I advise clients to put contracts in writing for a number of reasons. A written contract prevents misunderstandings that may arise later on in the contractual relationship, after the terms may be forgotten or misconstrued. It also makes the terms of the contract easier to prove in court, should it become necessary to start proceedings in Small Claims Court. Establishing that something is implied is not an easy task, and it is also not easy to prove a contract where two parties have conflicting accounts of an oral agreement between them. It is also a good idea to get a contract reviewed by a paralegal. At Greanya legal Services, we will gladly do this for you at a fraction of the cost that will occur if you get into problems later on.

 

The persons agreeing to a contract are bound by what they have agreed to. This applies equally to oral, implied, and written contracts. If one of them does not follow what was agreed, it is a breach of contract and entitles the innocent party to sue for damages. This means that they go to court to recover the cost to them of the other party’s breach of the contractual relationship. A major breach entitles the innocent party to treat the contractual relationship as having ended. When a breach of contract is involved, a paralegal or lawyer is involved to commence a civil law claim. At Greanya Legal Services, we will handle your civil law claims under the jurisdiction of the small claims court, which is $25,000.00. We will also assist with claims that are slightly above this amount where it is not worthwhile to bring the claim to Superior Court. The Superior Court is a very costly and time consuming process where assistance of a lawyer is a must, and it is often beneficial to waive the amount over $25,000.00 rather than take a claim to Superior Court. For advice on your contract, or to deal with a breach of contract, call Greanya Legal Services. We are happy to assist you. You can reach us at 289-631-1504, 647-701-5589, or [email protected].

 

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended as general information, and does not replace the advice of a Licenced Paralegal or Lawyer. For advice on your specific case, contact Greanya Legal Services directly.

 

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