When Is a Verbal Contract Not Enforceable

As a professional, I have written this article on “when is a verbal contract not enforceable”. A verbal contract, also known as an oral contract, is a legally binding agreement made between two parties without any written documentation. While verbal contracts can be made to establish agreements, they may not always be enforceable in a court of law. The question then arises, when is a verbal contract not enforceable?

Not all verbal contracts are enforceable

The enforceability of a verbal contract depends on various factors. Though verbal contracts are legal, they can be hard to uphold in a court of law. One of the significant reasons why a verbal contract may not be enforceable is the lack of evidence to back it up. In a court of law, written contracts are usually considered as more binding because of the evidence they provide. Without solid evidence, verbal contracts often become a `he said, she said` type of situation, which can lead to the case being dismissed.

Statute of Frauds

The Statute of Frauds, which varies from state to state, outlines the conditions under which a verbal contract is enforceable. Generally, the Statute of Frauds requires that certain types of contracts be in writing to be enforceable. These include contracts for the purchase or sale of real estate, contracts that extend beyond one year, and contracts related to marriage. Therefore, a verbal contract in any of these situations may not be enforceable.

Lack of mutual agreement

For a contract to be valid, all parties must agree on the terms and conditions of the agreement. If there is a lack of mutual agreement, there is no contract. In some cases, one party may make a verbal offer, but the other party may accept the offer under different conditions, or not accept the offer at all. In such cases, a verbal contract may not be enforceable because there is no true mutual agreement.

Lack of capacity

For a verbal contract to be enforceable, all parties involved must have the legal capacity to enter into a binding agreement. This means that all parties must be of legal age, sound mind, and not under duress or coercion. Without the legal capacity to enter into a binding agreement, the contract may not be enforceable.


Verbal contracts can certainly be useful, but they can also be tricky to enforce. Remember, a verbal agreement is only as good as the ability to prove it. The best way to ensure that your agreement is enforceable is to have a written contract that is signed by all parties involved. However, if you do enter into a verbal agreement, ensure that you have a reliable witness present, or have a follow-up email or letter to confirm the terms and conditions of the agreement. If you are in doubt about a verbal contract`s enforceability, consult a legal professional who can provide the guidance you need.