Contract Law in 1700 and Today

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Running head: CONTRACT LAW IN 1700 AND TODAY

Contract Law in 1700 and Today

Jenna Doucet

Meritus University

Contract Law in 1700 and Today

Today, for a contract to be legally binding it must satisfy six conditions; First, the law demands that both parties agree to the contract and give their mutual and non- coerced consent. Second is that the contract “consists of an offer and acceptance of that offer” (Wald, n.d, p. 1). The third condition is contractual capacity of the individuals’ involved whereas each party must not suffer mental illness or be a minor. The fourth condition is purpose; as such the contract must concern an agreed upon good or service. The fifth requirement of a valid contract is that the subject matter must be legal. Last, the compliance of legal formalities such as a valid written instrument is used (Wald, n.d). The agreement between Lord March and Mr. Pigot of running Mr. Codrington’s father against Mr. Pigot’s father does not satisfy those six conditions and thus today cannot be considered a legally binding contract. The fourth condition of purpose, described by the law as an exchange of an agreed upon good or service, is lacking. Thus, the agreement most closely resembles a wagering contract. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term wager dates back to the 14th century and describes the act of putting something up, such as a sum of money, on the risk that a uncertain event take place. In the eightieth century, at common law in England “ wagers on almost all subjects were enforceable” (Clark, 1914, p. 241). Thus the arrangement between Mr. March and Mr. Pigot, having occurred in 1700, would have been considered a valid contract. In fact, the case of Mr. March v. Mr. Pigot was brought before the King’s Bench, as it was later known to the parties that Mr. Pigot’s father had already died prior to the…...

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