In general, there are two categories in which the various forms of law can be divided: procedural law and substantive law. Procedural law is concerned with the legal formalities that dictate the process of legal cases and the role of court in enforcing that code. On the other hand substantive law involves the type of laws that describes specific nature of legal matters that are enforceable legally and which encompass all forms of rights and obligations that a person might have basis to claim. Under substantive law there are three branches namely: criminal law, tort law and contract law (Khoury and Yamouni, 2004). Throughout our discussions on this paper, my focus will be on the last branch of the law which is the contract law since it is the branch that deals with the Parol Evidence Rule.
In the discussion of Parol Evidence Rule, this paper will be limited to three key areas; assessment of legal principle per se, historical precedents that have been set by courts so far and the special exceptions to the rule. The Parol Evidence Rule is a contract law that disbars a person who is party to any written contract from entering evidence that is not consistent with the details of the agreement as originally written by the parties (Graw, 2008). But for this law to be valid, the nature of agreement that is entered between the various parties must be certified by the court to have been legally valid. In general, contracts reached upon between parties are governed by the principle of pacta sunt servanda (Khoury and Yamouni, 2004). They are legally enforceable as long as such contracts are not illegal, trifling, indeterminate or impossible to implement; this paper will explore all this conditions.
In addition, this it will focus on various exceptions that exist regarding the Parol Evidence Rule, for instance in cases when it is necessary to resolve contract ambiguity, correct mistakes on original agreements and clarify facts contained on contracts (Graw, 2008). Other areas that will also be covered include, breach of contracts which are broadly classified into four groups: minor breach, material breach, fundamental breach and anticipatory breach (Parker and Box, 2008). Regarding contract breach we shall explore the three instances that the law recognizes as conditions that can be used as basis for instituting breach of contract.
One instance is when a breach in contract is caused by one of the party where such party’s actions means that other parties to such a contract are unable to perform (Vermeesch andLindgren, 2005). Two, according to the law, a breach of contract occurs where one of the parties refuses to completely discharge duties as initially agreed on the contract (Vermeesch andLindgren, 2005). Finally, according to the law, a contract is in breach when one of the parties undertakes actions that are not in accordance with the “intent of the contract” as captured in the spirit of the agreement (Vermeesch andLindgren, 2005).Equally important is what the law says regarding the responsibility of parties in certifying contracts before they agree to be bound by them, which we shall also discuss.
Throughout this discussion we shall describe various case scenarios that pertains the Parol Evidence Rule, which is our subject of discussion. As such I shall investigate in general two parts of the Parol Evidence Rule: instances when it is applicable and special conditions where the Parol rule of evidence is waived, in the process I shall consider actual relevant cases that are been in public domain.
Graw, S., 2008. An Introduction to the Law of Contract. 6th ed. New York, NY: Law Book Company.
Khoury, D. & Yamouni, R., 2004. Understanding Contract Law. 5th ed. Sydney: Lexis Law Publishing.
Parker, D. & Box, G., 2008. Business Law for Business Students. New York, NY: Thomson Custom Publishing.
Vermeesch, K. & Lindgren, R., 2005. Business Law of Australia. Washington DC: Butterworths.