The law of contract is a civil area of law which regulates the creation and performance of contractual obligations between two private parties.
As an area of civil law, the parties are referred to as the defendant and claimant.
The claimant is the individual starting the claim, the defendant is the party against whom the claim is made. Trials for contract law cases will be heard in the County Court or High Court. Any subsequent appeals may be held in the Queens Bench Division of the High Court, the Civil division of the Court of Appeal, and further appeal can be made to the Supreme Court if the case contains a point of general public importance.
A contract is a voluntary agreement between two parties, based upon the exchange of promises or actions, that is enforceable by law.
The contractual relationship between the two parties is recognised and regulated by a wide body of legal principles. Whilst the law of contract largely originated within the common law, there are now significant aspects that are subject to statutory law.
The law of contract is vast, the nature of a contract is broad, and the law remains deliberately non-prescriptive, where possible. Contract law is an interesting area of law that continues to grow and develop in relation to the changing world of business and commerce. The development of technology has had a significant impact upon this area of law.
As distinct to the criminal law, the law of contract is not concerned with punishment but rather the law of contract aims to ensure that contracting parties retain freedom of contract, and enter into contractual negotiations as equal parties, protected by the legal landscape.
The balance between freedom of contract, the ability to enter into contracts according to your own agreed terms, and the need to protect smaller parties against larger corporate organisations is evidenced throughout the development of law in this area. The law has developed principles that determine when a legally enforceable contract is present, law then dictates whether terms of a contract are enforceable.
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