Discuss the essential elements

Discuss the essential elements of an enforceable contract andthe significance of each element. Describe a contract, possibly onein which you were a party, were involved, or of which you havepersonal knowledge, indicating whether the contract was express,implied, written or oral, and whether it was it breached ordisputed. Did it contain the essential elements of enforceability?Did you learn anything from this experience, and if so, what wouldyou do differently in entering into future contracts?

Answer:

In day to day life, people make contracts like rentalagreements, selling properties, employment contracts etc. In orderto be enforceable, a contract must have the essential elements. Itcan be oral or written. The most important difference between oraland written contracts is the limitation of deadlines for filinglawsuits about the contract. It may be difficult to enforce averbal or oral contract unless the terms can be proved or areagreed by both parties. The provision of the written contract witha signature that contains the essential elements minimizes thisrisk.

Types of Contracts

  • Contracts under Seal
  • Express Contracts
  • Implied Contracts
  • Executed and Executory Contracts
  • Bilateral and Unilateral Contracts
  • Unconscionable Contracts
  • Adhesion Contracts
  • Aleatory Contracts
  • Void and Voidable Contracts

The Essential Elements of an EnforceableContractThere are six basic requirements/ elements in a legally enforceablecontract:

·        An offer

·        An acceptance

·        Competent partieswho have the legal capacity to contract

·        Lawful subjectmatter

·        Mutuality ofobligation

·        Consideration.

Offer

An offer is a commitment that expresses the willingness of oneparty on certain terms and conditions to contract with anotherparty and will become binding when accepted by the person to whomit is offered. It can be made by a letter, email, or verbally. Anoffer must contain the intention to enter into the contract and itscommunication to the prospective offeree.

AcceptanceAcceptance is the final and unqualified expression of consent toaccept the terms of an offer. It must be done by the person to whomit is made unless an authorized agent is appointed and must be madein the manner requested by the offering party. If the party to whomthe offer is made is not agreeing with it she/he can reject theinitial offer and can make a counteroffer that may or may not beaccepted by the other party.

Competent PartiesBoth the parties to a contract must be competent to enter into anenforceable contract. They are deemed to have the capacity tocontract.

Lawful Subject MatterThe subject matter should be lawful or it should not violate publicpolicy. Example: the contract must not be on a trade ofhabit-forming drugs or goods.

Mutuality of ObligationBoth the parties must assent to the same matter, in the same sense,and at the same time. If any party has been fraudulently misledabout the terms and conditions of the contract by the other party,the contract is voidable.

ConsiderationConsideration can be money or a promise and it must be clearlyagreed upon by both parties to the contract. It can be anything ofvalue, tangible or otherwise, received from a recipient of thepromise. Any enforceable contract requires consideration. Theprovision of consideration differentiates a contract from agift.

Breach of Contract

The failure to follow all or some part of a contractual dutyconstitutes a breach of contract. It can be intentional orunintentional. It can occur when one part fails to perform or whenone party prevents the performance of the other party. It can occuras a total, major, material, or substantial breach of contract. Thetypes of breach are significant in determining the kinds ofremedies and damages available to the aggrieved party.

Remedies

Damages: It signifies a sum of money awarded as a compensationfor harm caused by a breach of contract. The type of breach dependson the extent of the damages to be awarded.

Reformation:

Reformation is an equitable remedy used when the writtenagreement formulated does not correspond to the contract that wasactually formed by the parties. It can occur as a result of fraudor mutual mistake in drafting the original document.

Rescission:

Rescission terminates the contract. The parties arerestored to the position of never having formulated the contract inthe first place.

Restitution:

Restitution restores the injured party to the positionthat they occupied prior to the formation of thecontract.

Specific Performance:

Specific performance is an equitable remedy in which thecontracted party is required to execute, possible promisedperformance when monetary damages would be invaluable to compensatefor the breach.

While entering into a contract like the most common one asrental agreement I must keep the essential elements in mind.


 
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