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Contract Law In 1700 And Today

963 words - 4 pages

Running head: CONTRACT LAW IN 1700 AND TODAY

Contract Law in 1700 and Today

Jenna Doucet

Meritus University

Contract Law in 1700 and Today

Today, for a contract to be legally binding it must satisfy six conditions; First, the law demands that both parties agree to the contract and give their mutual and non- coerced consent. Second is that the contract “consists of an offer and acceptance of that offer” (Wald, n.d, p. 1). The third condition is contractual capacity of the individuals’ involved whereas each party must not suffer mental illness or be a minor. The fourth condition is purpose; as such the contract must concern an agreed upon good or service. The fifth ...view middle of the document...

Mr. Pigot had refused to pay Mr. March on the grounds that the “ contract was void: it was without any consideration; for there was no possibility of the defendant’s winning, (his father then being actually dead) and therefore he ought not lose” (Comyn, 1819, p. 476). The court ruled in the favor of the plaintiff as it was determined that such a wager was not illegal; and the mere fact that one of the son’s father’s was already dead at the time of wager did not void the contract, provided it was an unknown fact to both parties.
Had Mr. Pigot been 16 years old at the time of the arrangement, the contract would have most likely been found void. A paper written by Lassonde (2008) exploring childhood throughout the centuries, identified that in order to be found legally responsible under many proceedings, an individual must be an adult. In the 1700’s “Roman law remained a powerful influence” (para 10). Under Roman law 25 was the age of adulthood (para 10).
Today, although wager contracts are not considered illegal, they are considered to be void and losses resulting from a wager cannot be recovered in a court of law. Hilliard (1848) discusses the validity of wagers and found that in most jurisdictions, “ it seems all wagers are void” (p. 102).
The notes made by Mr. March and Mr. Pigot closely resembled and could have been considered promissory notes. Yates, Bereznicki-Korol and Clarke, (2008) state, “ a promissory note involves only two parties. The maker promises to pay a certain sum to the payee at a specified future date or on demand.” Today, however; promissory notes made in connection with wagers are not enforceable. In the case of Kentucky off-track betting, Inc (KOTB) v. McBurney, involving the defendant’s failure to pay sums advanced by KOTB for purposes of wagering, as defined by promissory notes, the court found the notes void (McBurney v. KOTB, 1999).

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