What is a contract?

There must be an “offer” and there then must be “an acceptance.” Both the offer and the acceptance must be identified. In the simplest terms, Party A offers to sell his car for £1000, and Party B agrees to pay £1000 for the car. There is an offer and an acceptance. An offer is where there is a definite promise to be bound provided that certain terms are accepted. The offer to be valid must be communicated so that the other party may accept or reject it. It may generally be communicated in writing, orally or by conduct. There is no general requirement that an agreement must be in writing but one exception relates to contracts concerning interests in land and agreements under the Consumer Credit Act. Also, an offer must be distinguished from a willingness to enter into negotiations but not prepared to be bound immediately. A completed application form will generally comprise an invitation to treat and not an offer.

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