Contract Disputes

contract-disputeContracts are generally characterised by the presence of five elements. These elements are:

  • offer;
  • acceptance;
  • intention to be legally bound;
  • consideration; and
  • capacity.

Contracts are a regular and integral part of our day to day lives, ranging from buying milk at a supermarket to complex employment agreements.

Contracts are generally self-regulated and set out how the contract will operate, and what should happen in certain circumstances. Contracts are further regulated by common law and various legislative Acts including:

  • the Sale of Goods Act appropriate for that state/ territory;
  • the Competition and Consumer Act under the Australian Consumer Law (the legislation replacing the Trade Practice Act (‘TPA’));
  • Fair Trading legislation; and
  • various other legislative instruments.

Contracts can generally be characterised as either a:

  • consumer contract; or
  • commercial contract.

Consumer contracts: generally occur in a personal capacity, usually between two or more parties as individuals, or as one, as party buying goods from a business. For example:

  • contract to sell/buy a motor vehicle through private sale;
  • buying/ selling an item such as a television from a retailer.

Commercial contracts: generally occur in a business capacity, usually between two or more parties as businesses or corporate entities. For example:

  • leasing a premises to run a business from a landlord;
  • contracting with another business in order to operate as a joint venture.

Contractual disputes arise regularly and are often complex and misunderstood. Contract disputes occur for many reasons such as:

  • breach of a contract term/non-performance;
  • occurrence of an unforeseen event such that the contract cannot properly be performed;
  • establishing agreed terms under an oral contract;
  • proper operation of a contract where the contract is partly oral and partly written;
  • unfair contact terms; and
  • unconscionable contracts such as those where there are issues with language/ understanding.

Have you been a party to a contract that is the subject of a dispute?

Are you not receiving what you are entitled to under a contract?

It is important that you act in a timely manner as limitation periods exist in relation to some claims. Where litigation cannot be avoided, our team at Ramsden Lawyers have the expertise to run the process effectively and efficiently, keeping your costs in check.

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