Verbal Contracts

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BlueHeaven | 12:54 Fri 05th Jan 2007 | Law
6 Answers
If you verbally agree to something over the telephone, is that then a legally-binding contract?


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There may be get-out clauses in some circumstances but a verbal contract is in principle perfectly valid.

Proving the existence of the contract can also be a problem.
In general a verbal or oral contract should have the same weight as a written contract. However, should a dispute arise, the nature of the contract is much more difficult to prove and it can become a case of your word against another's. It is never a bad idea to follow up such a verbal agreement with a letter of confirmation, stating briefly what was agreed. Post this by recorded mail and keep a copy. The other party should respond in writing that they accept the terms but, even if they don't, the fact that they received your letter and did not rebut the contents would help prove your case.
Question Author
Thank you both for your help, you have answered my question excellently.
Be careful, it also depends on what you agree to do, how you will be paid, and in what context the agreement is made. Nothing is ever so simple.
Basic requirements for contract:
1. Offer.
2. Acceptance.
3. Intention to create legal relationship- evidenced by value passing (called "consideration") or by recording contract in a formal deed (NOT just in writing).

Special added requirements if contract relates to land or interests in land.
I would suggest that 'intention to create legal relations' arises more out of social situation and context rather than consideration (Which I would put as a separate entity ingredient). You can have the intention to create legal relations without consideration (and ignoring estoppel) no contract arises. The opposite is also true.

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