Conversational Email, Contracts & the Statute of Frauds

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Originally published in E-Commerce Law Reports, Volume 12, Issue 03.

Enforceable contracts via email -

The question as to whether emails constitute an enforceable contract has been asked in courts across the globe. The Statute of Frauds is continually used in defence of contracts created through conversational email, prohibiting actions to enforce contracts not signed in writing.

In a recent case, a Canadian court referred to a series of emails negotiating the sale of a condo unit as being equivalent to a recorded telephone conversation1. There was considerable merit to that observation. The informality and speed of the medium makes negotiations by email much more like a conversation than a series of traditional letters.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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