Simply put, what are the elements of a contract?
The Small Claims Court deals with various monetary disputes and issues of specific performance. One of the more common issues we have dealt with arise from a party breaching all or elements of a contract.
WHAT IS A CONTRACT?
A contract is an agreement that is made between two or more parties. A contract can exist between people or legal entities (e.g. businesses) and is legally enforceable. In order to enforce a contract, there are specific criteria that have to be met to establish that a legally binding contract exists.
A contract needs to have a legal purpose. This means that the purpose of the contract needs to be in compliance with the law and cannot be created for the execution of an illegal act. Should the parities enter into an agreement for an illegal purpose, it will be unenforceable.
This occurs when one party promises to do something for another party contingent upon them receiving something in return. For example, a homeowner is seeking to have their kitchen renovated and request a quote from a contractor. The offer should discuss the scope of work and costs associated.
MEETING OF THE MINDS
Another one of the elements of a contact is that every party to the contract should understand all the terms and conditions of the contract that they have entered into.
ACCEPTANCE & CONSIDERATION
In order for a contract to be legally enforceable, the offer needs to be accepted by the other party. This refers to the concept that both parties need to give something up and will receive something that will benefit them.
All of the parties to the contract need to be of legal age, of sound mind, not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol and cannot go into the contract under duress. For example, if the homeowner was a minor, the contract would not be legally enforceable.
As long as the contract has all of the above criteria, it can be legally enforceable should there be a breach. A breach can occur should any party not perform the work they were contractually obligated to do. The Small Claims Court provides remedies for parties who were negatively affected by a breach of contract.
If you need assistance in filing or defending a breach of contract claim, please contact Balatidis Legal Services at 905-277-7701. We believe affordable justice should be accessible to everyone. Trust the professional advice of Balatidis Legal Services; small claims court paralegals servicing Mississauga, Brampton, Toronto, Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton.