Critical Analysis Paper
Describe an example of a contract that you or someone you know entered into (e.g., rental agreement, cell phone agreement, property purchase or lease [e.g., car, home, furniture, etc.], home or car repair, or student loan agreement). In your description, be sure to provide specific contractual details including parties and subject matter involved. You must also address the following:
- Define the five essential elements of an enforceable contract, and demonstrate how each element relates to your example.
- Explain the circumstances of a breach of contract in your example, and discuss possible remedies.
Your paper must be three to four pages (excluding title and references pages), and it must be formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. You must cite at least two scholarly sources in addition to the course textbook..
Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.
A contract is not a “thing,” but a relationship between its parties. This relationship entails mutual rights and duties contained in what is essentially a set of promises that the courts will enforce. Liuzzo (2013) defines a contract as “a legally enforceable agreement that is created when two or more competent parties agree to perform, or to avoid performing, certain acts that they have a legal right to do and that meet certain legal requirements” (p.50).
It is important to note that while all contracts are promises, not all promises are contracts. Some promises are unenforceable and, therefore, not contracts. For a promise to be enforced, it must include all essential requirements of a legal, binding contract:
- Mutual Assent: The parties must show by words or conduct that they have agreed to enter into a contract. The usual method of showing mutual assent is by offer and acceptance.
- Consideration: Each party to a contract must intentionally exchange a legal benefit or incur a legal detriment as an inducement to the other party to make a return exchange
- Legality: The purpose of a contract must not be criminal, tortuous, or otherwise against public policy.
- Capacity and Consent: The parties must have contractual capacity. Some persons, such as incompetents (persons placed under guardianship by a court order), have no legal capacity to contract, while others, such as minors, non-adjudicated incompetent persons, and intoxicated persons, have limited capacity to contract. All others have full contractual capacity.
- Writing: In some instances a contract must be evidenced by a writing to be enforceable, but in most cases, an oral contract is binding and enforceable.
As you review each contract element, you may find this tutorial helpful: http://www.west.net/~smith/contracts.htm
For an interesting discussion of whether emails could be considered enforceable contracts, please see: http://www.forbes.com/sites/oliverherzfeld/2013/12/09/are-your-emails-enforceable-contracts/
The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) governs many aspects of commerce, including the sale and leasing of goods, negotiable instruments, bank deposits, letters of credit, investment securities, secured transactions, and other commercial matters. Every state has adopted at least part of the UCC to govern commercial transactions within that state.
General contract law governs all contracts outside the Code. For example, the Code does not apply to insurance contracts, employment contracts, service contracts, contracts involving real property (land and anything attached to it, including buildings), and contracts for the sale of intangibles such as patents and copyrights. These transactions continue to be governed by general contract law.
In contracts that are for both a service and goods, most states use the predominant purpose test. If the primary purpose of a contract is to sell goods, the UCC governs the whole transaction; if the primary purpose of the contract is to deliver a service, general contract law prevails. Buying parts to repair your own auto is a sale of goods. Taking your car in for repair work that requires new parts is the rendering of a service.
To review the Uniform Commercial Code in its entirety, please visit: http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc
Forbes School of Business Faculty
Liuzzo, A. L. (2013). Essentials of business law (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Rogers, S. (2012). Essentials of business law. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
- Essentials of Business Law:
- Chapter 4: Contracts: Offer, Acceptance, and Consideration
- Chapter 5: Contracts: Capacity, Genuine Assent, the Statue of Frauds, and Illegality
- Chapter 6: Third Parties, Performance, and Discharge of Contracts, and Remedies
- Chapter 7: The UCC: Formation and Modification of the Sales Contract
- DeAngelis, M. (2012, September 19). Did Jerry Garcia’s drug-induced haze compromise his contractual capacity? Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Retrieved from http://legalstudiesclassroom.blogspot.com/2012/09/did-jerry-garcias-drug-induced-haze.htmlVideo of court testimony and attorney argument related to divorce settlement agreement.
- Uniform Commercial Code. (2003, January 23). Retrieved November 9, 2012, from Legal Information Institute: http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/ucc.table.html The UCC is a model law as it applies to the sale of goods. It will help students understand the elements of a valid contract and, develop their legal reasoning and ability to apply the law to facts related to contracts for the sale of goods.
- Smith, C. A. (2012). Contracts. Retrieved November 9, 2012, from http://www.west.net/~smith/contracts.htm Information regarding elements of a contract and remedies for breach.
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