Contract disputes can lead to disruptions for businesses and can also disrupt a deal. It is helpful to understand what is required for a contract so that those impacted by a contract breach know how they can be addressed.
The elements of contract
Knowing the elements of a business contract is important to negotiating, drafting, executing and enforcing a contract and its obligations.
- Offer and acceptance: The first element of a contract is an offer. The second element is an acceptance of the offer that mirrors the offer. Both the offer and acceptance must constitute a willingness by both parties to enter into the agreement.
- Capacity and undue influence: The third element of a valid contract requires that the parties to the contract have physical and mental capacity to enter into the contract. They must also be of legal age to enter into the contract. There also cannot be any undue influence or coercion in the formation of the contract.
- Intent, formation and legality: The fifth element of a valid contract is that both parties intend to enter into the contract. Formation requirements where the contract is being executed must also be met for the contract to be considered valid. Lastly, the contract cannot be for an illegal purpose and if it is, it will be considered void.
If one of the parties to the contract violates one of the terms of the contract, it may be considered a breach. There are different remedies that may be available in contract disputes that can depend on the nature of the breach and the remedy sought by the non-breaching party that has been harmed by the breach.