Evidence Breach of Contract
You can ask our solicitors online for legal advice on evidence breach of contract using the question box on the front of our website or the following free legal advice guide may answer your questions.
Establishing evidence breach of contract can be a complex task but there are certain elements that you must prove for your claim to be successful. There is a common misunderstanding that an official, written contract must be in place and that contract has been signed by the parties involved for it to be legally binding.
However, this is often not the case. In the majority of situations, a formal written contract will form the strongest evidence to demonstrate that a contract and its related terms exist, these two elements can be established in many different ways.
At the most basic level, a contract is an agreement that has been reached by two or more parties. For an agreement to be legally binding several elements must be present.
These will include:
- An Offer – One or more people involved in the contract must offer something to the other party. This could for example be an offer to sell goods or the provision of services.
- Acceptance of the Offer – Secondly, the parties involved must accept the offer in its entirety. Although the offer doesn’t have to be expressly accepted, it can be implied through conduct, provided that it is clear to everyone that this will constitute acceptance of the offer.
- Consideration – All parties involved in a contract must have something to give. This could be products, services or something of monetary value.
- Intention – When a contract is created, there must be an intention to enter into a legally binding agreement.
Establishing Breach of Contract
If you believe that you have entered into a contract and there has been a breach, you will have to provide strong enough evidence to the judge to support your claim. This evidence should clearly identify that the other party did not fulfil their obligations under the contract that you agreed.
The burden of proof is squarely on the claimant. There are several ways in which a breach of contract can be proved but the laws surrounding breach are complex. In the next sections we have outlined just some of the ways that you can provide proof of a breach.
Usually written evidence will be the contract itself and associated terms. Contracts can be formed in many ways not just in the usual written form of a contract that you may first think of. Evidence can be supplied through faxes, letters or emails. Even where a formal contract exists, the correspondence between the parties is a crucial aspect of the case.
This documentation can offer useful evidence to demonstrate the intention of the parties, particularly if there is a question as to clarity in the formal contract or if it doesn’t cover a specific point that was covered since the contract was established.
More often than not, a contract will be ruled by standard terms and conditions which are set by the party who drafts the contract. In these cases, these terms and conditions will be used as evidence to identify what was agreed in the contract itself.
Anyone who relies upon standard terms and conditions must provide evidence that these terms were included in the contract. In the majority of cases, it would suffice to show that the other party was aware of the existence of the standard terms and conditions. This evidence is usually provided in accompanying correspondence or within order forms.
Where no written evidence exists, the claimant will need to look elsewhere for evidence. The parties must rely on their own verbal evidence. Where a written contract doesn’t exist, the verbal evidence of the parties will be used to decide on the merits of the claim. Success in a civil case rests on which party presents a more convincing argument for their version of events.
In some cases, it may be necessary to call on an expert for their opining on the facts of the case using their knowledge and expertise. This would assist the court in a particular field to explain technical aspects of the case and it is common for a technical expert to give evidence in court, usually in the form of a detailed written report. As an example, in a property dispute, evidence may be used from a qualified surveyor.
As well as the above types of evidence, there are other things that can be used too. Photos and videos can also prove useful evidence to support the points that you are raising for your breach of contract claim.
Proving a breach of contract has taken place is a difficult task and one that should be approached with the correct application of the law. What may seem straightforward and simple on the surface, may in fact result in a long and complicated case which can turn out to be very difficult to prove. Application of the law is important and in a civil case you will have to provide strong enough evidence that on the balance of probabilities there was a breach of contract. online