Agreement by Word of Mouth: What Is It and Is It Legally Binding?
Agreement by word of mouth, also known as an oral agreement, is a verbal promise between two parties to fulfill certain obligations or deliverables. This type of agreement is often made in casual settings, such as a conversation between friends or colleagues, and can cover a wide range of topics, from business deals to personal arrangements.
However, the question remains: is an agreement by word of mouth legally binding?
The answer is not straightforward, as it depends on the context and the jurisdiction in which the agreement was made. In general, for an agreement to be legally binding, it must meet certain requirements, such as:
– The parties involved must have had the capacity to enter into the agreement. This means that they must have been of legal age, sound mind, and not under duress or coercion.
– The terms of the agreement must be clear and specific, leaving no room for ambiguity or misunderstanding.
– Both parties must have provided their consent freely, without any undue influence or pressure.
– There must be consideration (i.e., something of value) exchanged between the parties, such as money, goods, or services.
– The agreement must be supported by valid legal consideration, such as a written contract or a witness.
In some cases, an agreement by word of mouth can meet these requirements and be enforceable in court. For example, if two business partners agree on a deal during a phone call and both parties adhere to the terms, the agreement may be legally binding, even if there is no written contract.
However, in other cases, verbal agreements may not hold up in court, particularly if there is a dispute or breach of contract. This is especially true if the terms of the agreement were ambiguous or not clearly defined, or if one party claims that they did not consent to the agreement.
To avoid these issues, it is always advisable to have a written contract or agreement in place, even if the parties have already verbally agreed on the terms. A written agreement can provide clarity and protection for both parties, and can be used as evidence in court if necessary.
In conclusion, while an agreement by word of mouth may be legally binding in some cases, it is always better to have a written contract or agreement in place. This can help avoid misunderstandings and disputes, and can protect both parties in the event of a legal issue.