Verbal Contract in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Chartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd and another
    • House of Lords
    • 01 Julio 2009

    There is no dispute that the principles on which a contract (or any other instrument or utterance) should be interpreted are those summarised by the House of Lords in Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society [1998] 1 WLR 896, 912-913. It is agreed that the question is what a reasonable person having all the background knowledge which would have been available to the parties would have understood them to be using the language in the contract to mean.

    What is clear from these cases is that there is not, so to speak, a limit to the amount of red ink or verbal rearrangement or correction which the court is allowed. All that is required is that it should be clear that something has gone wrong with the language and that it should be clear what a reasonable person would have understood the parties to have meant. In my opinion, both of these requirements are satisfied.

  • McCutcheon v David Macbrayne Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 21 Enero 1964

    No implication can be made against a party of a term which was unknown to him. If previous dealings show that a man knew of and agreed to a term on ninety-nine occasions, there is a basis for saying that it can be imported into the hundredth contract without an express statement. It may or may not be sufficient to justify the importation,—that depends on the circumstances; but at least by proving knowledge the essential beginning is made.

    But they are seeking to establish an oral contract by a course of dealing which always insisted on a written contract. It is the consistency of a course of conduct which gives rise to the implication that in similar circumstances a similar contractual result will follow. When the conduct is not consistent, there is no reason why it should still produce an invariable contractual result. The Pursuer's agent duly paid the freight for which he was asked and accepted the oral contract thus offered.

  • Tiverton Estates Ltd v Wearwell Ltd
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 20 Noviembre 1973

    Apart from authority I would have thought that a memorandum signed by the party to be charged stating terms which the other party asserted w-re the terms of an oral agreement would not, in the absence of something in the memorandum at least pointing to the existence of a contract made upon the stated terms, satisfy the requirements of the section. It would not be a note or memorandum of the contract sued upon but merely of the terms which the party charged is alleged to have agreed.

  • Actionstrength Ltd (trading as Vital Resources) v International Glass Engineering in.GL.EN SpA and another
    • House of Lords
    • 03 Abril 2003

    For in seeking to show inducement or encouragement Actionstrength can rely on nothing beyond the oral agreement of St-Gobain which, in the absence of writing, is rendered unenforceable by section 4. There was no respresentation by St-Gobain that it would honour the agreement despite the absence of writing, or that it was not a contract of guarantee, or that it would confirm the agreement in writing.

    The only assurance given to Actionstrength was the promise itself. In order to be estopped from invoking the statute there must be something more, such as some additional encouragement, inducement or assurance. But there is no suggestion made that St-Gobain said or did anything to lead Actionstrength to assume that St-Gobain would not stand on its rights.

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  • Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009
    • Scotland
    • 1 de Enero de 2009
    ... ... written communication to or directs, by whatever means, a sexual verbal communication at, another person (“B”) —(a) without B consenting to ... provided or supplied by,a care service, whether by virtue of a contract of employment or any other contract or in such other circumstances as may ... ...
  • Bankrupts Act 1731
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1731
    ... ... aforesaid ... Contract to induce Creditors to sign Certificates, void. XI Contract to induce ... them, and also to take down or reduce into Writing the Answers of Verbal Examinations of every such Bankrupt or other Person, had or taken before ... ...
  • Coal Trade, London Act 1745
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1745
    ... ... of Pool Measure may be omitted in any written or verbal Contract or Agreement for that Purpose ... Pool Measure, &c. to be ... ...
  • The Renting Homes (Explanatory Information for Written Statements of Occupation Contracts) (Wales) Regulations 2022
    • Wales
    • 1 de Enero de 2022
    ... ... must be contained in the written statement of an occupation contract ... the status of the document (i.e., that it is a written statement of ... excessive noise, ... verbal abuse, ... physical assault, and ... domestic abuse (including physical, ... ...
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Child Labour Migration and Trafficking in Rural Burkina Faso
    • No. 45-2, June 2007
    • International Migration
    These labourers are frequently youths of 14 or 15 with no previous experience of work or conditions in the south, who leave their homes without the knowledge or consent of their parents. In some ca...
    ... ... some cases written agreements are made but in most cases it is only verbal. Labourers go of their own free will but in many cases they are deceived ... There is little doubt that the terms of whatever contract are frequently not observed by the employers who take advantage of the ... ...
  • The Policy-Slip (Dis)connect
    • No. 1-2, July 2011
    • Southampton Student Law Review
    • Karishma A. Galliara
    • 59-64
    ... ... It is trite law that a slip, once scratched, concludes the contract of insurance between the assured and the insurer.2It is also common ... While it [the slip] undoubtedly reflects a concluded verbal contract of marine insurance made between the company as insurers ... ...
  • Evaluating the Illegal Employer Practice of Under‐Reporting Employees’ Salaries
    • No. 55-1, March 2017
    • British Journal of Industrial Relations
    This article advances understanding of the prevalence and distribution of the illegal employer practice of under‐reporting employees’ salaries, explains this practice and evaluates policy approache...
    ... ... to pay an ocial declared wage detailed in a formal written contract, the employer at the same time reaches a verbal unwritten agreement with ... ...
  • Immigrant Workers in an Emigrant Economy:
    • No. 24-2, June 1986
    • International Migration
    ... ... services which are also staffed on collective contract lines. 5. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF IMMIGRANT EMPLOYMENT IN JORDAN ... sector this may be for only one or two days) arranged by verbal contract and is characterised by high rates of job turnover ... ...
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • English Contract Law: Your Word May Still be Your Bond
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    American movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn is widely quoted as having said, ‘A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.’ He is also reputed to have stated, ‘I’m willing to admit that I may n...
    ... American movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn is widely quoted as having said, ‘A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.’ He is also reputed to have stated, ‘I’m willing to admit that I may not always be right, ... ...
  • English Contract Law and Oral Contracts - Your Word May Still Be Your Bond
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    Verbal contracts have their place in English law - Whether it was American movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn or the Australian/Irish politician Bryan O’Loghlen who first said, ‘A verbal contract is... ... Verbal contracts have their place in ... English law ... Whether it was American movie ... mogul Samuel Goldwyn or the ... ...
  • Casual Worker Able To Establish Mutuality Of Obligation
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ... ... that once he had accepted an assignment, it was considered to be a "verbal contract" which he had to complete within a certain deadline ... In ... ...
  • Clarify Your Requirements To Avoid Turbulence
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...Any contract for the sale of land or for the grant of a lease for more than a year ... not, one party still cannot withdraw if the other has relied on the verbal contract and would be affected to a material extent ... The case ... ...
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