Oral Contract(redirected from Unwritten contract)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial.
An agreement between parties that is either partly in writing and partly dependent on spoken words or that is entirely dependent on spoken words.
An oral contract is enforceable unless its subject matter comes within the statute of frauds, an English Law adopted in the United States, that requires certain contracts to be in writing. For example, a contract to sell real property, to be enforceable, must be in writing to comply with the statute. An oral contract to sell Personal Property for an amount less than that set in the statute does not fall within its limits and, therefore, is enforceable without being reduced to a writing. The Uniform Commercial Code governs the enforceability of oral contracts in sales transactions involving merchants.
n. an agreement made with spoken words and either no writing or only partially written. An oral contract is just as valid as a written agreement. The main problem with oral contracts is proving its existence or the terms. As one wag observed: "An oral contract is as good as the paper it's written on." An oral contract is often provable by action taken by one or both parties which is obviously in reliance on the existence of a contract. The other significant difference between oral and written contracts is that the time to sue for breach of an oral contract (the statute of limitations) is sometimes shorter. For example, California's limitation is two years for oral compared to four for written, Connecticut and Washington three for oral rather than six for written, and Georgia four for oral instead of 20 for written. (See: contract, agreement)