8th of February 2022
Do I have a contract?
Published by Greg Bee
A common legal dispute which arises relates to whether a party has entered into a valid contract and, if they have, what the terms are.
Contracts can be formed in a number of ways. They are traditionally seen in paper form, but may be digital or verbal. With a verbal contract, there is likely to be an argument about whether a contract was formed and what the terms were.
A Court will interpret a contract based on the intention of the parties. The Court will consider this objectively and will give effect to what the contract means based on the ordinary meaning of its words.
A business may have terms and conditions to be applied. They need to be incorporated and the customer needs to be aware of them at the time of contract formation, and not afterwards.
Implied terms may apply, for example under the Consumer Rights Act. If the Act applies in a trader/consumer contract, it will be implied that goods are fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality.
A Court may imply a term into a contract if it is necessary to do so in order for it to be effective and on the basis that the parties must have intended for the term to have been part of the contract.
Exclusion of liability clauses are common. Validity may depend on who the contracting parties are (businesses or consumers) and whether the clause is reasonable.
In a breach of contract situation, it may be possible to terminate the contract or to claim damages for losses arising. Damages are intended to put the innocent party either in in the position they should have been in if the contract had been properly performed, or in the position they were in before the contract was breached. A Claimant has to take reasonable steps to minimise losses which is known as mitigating your loss.
For information about civil litigation matters, please contact Greg Bee of Oldham Marsh Page Flavell on 01664 563162 or email [email protected]