Contracts form part of everyday life – from personal agreements to business transactions. Contractual disputes arise regularly and are often complex and misunderstood. Contractual disputes occur for many reasons such as:
Breach of a contract term or 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 or understanding.
What elements make up a contract?
Contracts are generally characterised by the presence of five elements. These elements are:
- Intention to be legally bound;
- Consideration; and
Contracts are a regular and integral part of our daily lives, ranging from buying milk at a supermarket to complex employment agreements. Disputes can arise from dealings on the Gold Coast and beyond.
How are contracts regulated?
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 the relevant state or territory;
The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) under the Australian Consumer Law (the legislation replacing the Trade Practices Act (‘TPA’));
Fair Trading legislation; and
Various other legislative instruments.
Relief from contract disputes is most commonly sought by bringing an action in the appropriate Court having regard to the monetary and geographic jurisdictions of the Courts.
Consumer and commercial contracts
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 party buying goods or services from a business. For example:
- Contract to sell or buy a motor vehicle through private sale; or
- Buying or 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; or
- Contracting with another business in order to operate as a joint venture.
Need help with your contract?
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.
Contact our office on the Gold Coast for a consultation at (07) 5592 1921 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.