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Duncan is also concerned about cars parked illegally behind the shop which prevent supplies from being delivered. He offers Susan, a local traffic warden, £20 a week if she makes a particular effort to give parking tickets to anyone who illegally parks behind the shop. For the next month Susan carry out their side of the deals. When she ask Duncan for the money he refuses and says she is only doing her jobs anyway.
In regards to the case involving Susan and Duncan, some important issues arise that must be looked at to establish if there was a contract between Susan and Duncan that was legally enforceable and also determine whether Duncan breached this contract or not. The first issue that emerges here is whether there was an intention on Duncan’s part to form a contract that is enforceable? Can Susan claim the amount due from Duncan or she was just in her line of duty?
If Duncan actually intended to enter into a contract that is legally enforceable in nature, then has he breached the contract by refusing to pay Susan the amount due? (Mulcahy, 2008, p. 195)
Rule of law
As seen from the case above, a contract is only valid if it meets the following; it should have an agreement the is arrived at through making an offer and receiving an acceptance, there must be a consideration, which is simply a valuable exchange between the parties involved, there must be capacity, that is the parities involved should have the ability to legally and mentally enter into contracts that are binding, and lastly, the agreement should not violate the law.
Once again a duty carried out while some one is in his or her line of duty may not be regarded as good consideration and may dismiss an agreement from being a contract. Contacts are usually classified as “bilateral or unilateral, valid, void, voidable, and unenforceable, formal or informal, express or implied, and executory or executed” (Goldman & Sigismond, 2010, p. 126).
A bilateral contract is characterized with both sides making an agreement as opposed to a unilateral contract: “an express contract is just stated in words either in writing or orally” (Chandler & Brown, 2007, p. 20). An implied contract depends on the conduct of the parties to define the agreement. An executed contract is one that has been performed and an executory one is still being performed (Chandler & Brown, 2007, p. 20).
In this case, Duncan made an offer to Susan who accepted it by performing the task needed. This was a unilateral contract because it was one sided. It was an informal contract because the agreement was not written down. However, the two were in a commercial relationship, and therefore the contract is expected to be legally binding. It was also just implied because acceptance of the agreement depended on Susan carrying out the duty as required by Duncan.
It was an executed contract because Duncan refused to honor his promise after Susan had accomplished her side of the deal. There was a consideration made when Duncan promised to pay Susan £20 a week provided she gave those who parked cars behind his shop (Gill, 2005, p. 126). Both Susan and Duncan were legally and mentally capable of entering into a binding contract. Therefore, up to this point, Susan can sue Duncan for breaching the contract.
However, we are not told if Susan was in breach of her work contract when she accepted another contract besides her existing one. Furthermore, she entered a contract to carry out a preexisting duty; this is not taken as good consideration under the general rule. However, Duncan has not right to enrich himself unjustly (Abbott et.al, 2007, p. 659).
We have seen that there was a unilateral contract between Susan and Duncan, but after the performance of the contract, Duncan declined to meet his side of the bargain. On the face of it, this was a commercial relationship, therefore making the contract legally binding. Under such circumstances, Duncan would be liable to compensate Susan her money. However, Susan entered an agreement to carry out a function that she is actually supposed to be doing.
This makes the consideration not to be viable enough to make the contract unenforceable. Besides, it was her duty to make sure that people parked in the right place so that she could collect parking fees. This does not mean that Duncan was justified to use her and dump her at the end of the task. Susan should therefore, claim her money from Duncan because all the three elements of a contract were met in this case. It will therefore, depend on Duncan to prove that she was just carrying out her supposed duties.
Abbott et.al. (2007) Business Law. New York, NY: Cengage Learning EMEA.
Adams, A. (2008) Law for business students.. UK, London: Pearson Longman.
Beatty et.al. (2009) Introduction to business law. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
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