When people hear the word contract law it is inevitable that they will think of major business deals and a lot of money involved. However, this is not always the case. Someone that has an agreement for their newspaper to be delivered to their home every day has a contract. The newsagent has an agreement to deliver the newspaper and you have an obligation to pay for it. This may be the simplest form of contract agreement but in essence, it is the basis of every agreement. Someone has agreed to supply a good or service and the other party has agreed to pay for it. However, there can be many complicated clauses and issues involved with contracts, so it is important to ensure that your contract is legal.
This is where contract law is crucial and you want to make sure that you meet the terms and agreements of contract law. However, the law is not just in place to limit the things that you can do, it is also in place to ensure that you are protected from the other party breaking the contract. Contract law is there for the safety and protection of all parties and there are a number a key points to contract law.
Lease Agreements & Contracts be Careful What you Sign
A key issue of contract law is that it is only the people who are party to the contract that can enforce the terms that have been agreed. If Mr Smith orders the newspaper but primarily gives it to his neighbours Mrs Jones to read, Mrs Jones cannot sue the newsagent if the newspaper does not arrive. This can only be undertaken by Mr Smith as the agreement is in his name.
When it comes to contract law, you may hear people talk about a verbal contract but as the old saying goes, “a verbal contract is not worth the paper it’s written on”. A contract which contains a guarantee must be provided in writing. It is also recommended that a contract which relates to a sale, a transfer, an option or a lease of land should be conducted in writing. In modern terms, intellectual property rights have become important and it is also recommended that all contracts relating to these matters are placed in writing.
The signatory must have the authority to do so
In contract law, it is important that the person signing the contract actually has the authority to do so. This is something where many businesses fall foul of not knowing whether the person signing the contract is actually legally authorised to do so. In common terms, the person signing the contract is usually a director, a manager or a solicitor. The name of the firm or people involved should also be clearly stated on the contract and on any invoices that follow. This is important when acting as a Limited Company because if the full title is not included, this could lead to individuals being liable for the costs involved.
Following on from people being authorised to sign a contract, it is important that the person has the capacity to sign the contract as well. In English law, this means that people under the age of 18 are not considered to have the capacity to sign a contract. It is also found that people who are mentally ill, certifiably insane or even drunk do not have the capacity to sign a contract and these contracts can actually be declared void by a court of law.
If a contract has been breached, which means that the agreed terms have not been met, the party that has not breached the contract should provide the breaching party with a written notice of their intentions before actually submitting court proceedings. Courts are increasingly trying to put firms together into a mediatory position as opposed to resolving issues for them but sometimes the threat of court action is required to force a firm or person to act.
For further advice and help on contract law click here