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Statute of Frauds Essay

The Statute of Frauds is an aggregate term that describes a number of statutory provisions that require certain kinds of contracts to be in writing for them to be enforceable.

Under the Uniform Commercial Code, these are the circumstances that require written contracts: consideration of marriage, land interest transfer, sale of goods above $500, if a person acts as a guarantor to a debt, to pay an estate’s debt by an executor of a will using his personal funds, and if a contract cannot be completed within a year.

Connecticut’s statute of frauds is generally patterned after the UCC.  Connecticut requires written contracts for: estate debt payment using a will executor’s own resources; acting as guarantor of a loan or debt; consideration of marriage; sale of real property or interest in that property; loan agreement that exceeds $50,000; and for any contract that is not to be performed within a year.

Generally, the federal statutes are adapted in Connecticut except for the provision concerning loan agreements wherein the amount involved is more than $50,000.  This is the only term that is not covered in the UCC.  Likewise, there is an item in the UCC that is not found in Connecticut’s statutes.  The sale

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of goods above $500 is absent from being explicitly stated in Connecticut.  Probably, Connecticut believes that this is not necessary as the bar for the sale transaction amount has been raised to $5,000 as of 2006.

The Uniform Commercial Code has been simply stated to give the states the necessary liberty to put their own interpretations on the items included in the original statutes.  Each state has the responsibility to provide explanations on what is covered, not covered, and exempt from its own set of statutes.  It is also the state’s responsibility to discuss about considerations when a contract within the statute is violated, and how it can be used as evidence in the commercial court.

In this regard, Connecticut expounds on certain terms and implications that are covered within the statute.  For instance, a contract that is only taken by one side is out of statute, therefore, it is void.  Personal property is defined as those things that are sold separately from the land and could include buildings and crops.  An interest to a real property includes the right to build upon land.

The statute also clarifies on where to place signatures, and who should sign the contracts to make them valid.  The statute is also clear on the point that the terms of the written agreement are binding to both parties and no oral changes will be considered.  If there were oral changes not reflected on the contract, the court will not consider them as evidence.

The UCC lists exceptions to the statute of frauds.  That means, some circumstances are allowable in lieu of a written contract.  Similarly, Connecticut adapts exceptions to its statute.  In the UCC, the merchant confirmation rule is enough to make an agreement between two parties enforceable.  In Connecticut, this provision is translated into a typewritten memo with rubber stamping stating that the agreement is “all right.”  The UCC also allows for an oral admission under oath to signify the existence of a contract.  This is the same for Connecticut’s statute.

There are, however, requisites for the memorandum provision that would make it sufficient or insufficient as an evidence of a contract.  For example, a memorandum not stating how a purchase balance would be paid is deemed insufficient, while a memo including figures for the real estate involved is a sufficient statement for the price of the transaction.  For the third exception under the UCC, which is on part performance, Connecticut also has a similar provision especially for leases and real property matters.  Payment of rent is considered part performance of a lease agreement, but the same is insufficient for real estate contracts.

References

Cornell University Law School.  (2005).  UCC: Uniform Commercial Code.  Retrieved

     September 19, 2008, from http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/2/2-207.html

Mallor, J.P., et al. (2003).  Business Law: The Ethical, Global and E-Commerce Environment,

     12th Ed.  McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

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