TRUE OR FALSE: CONTRACTS CAN BE FORMED WITHOUT MUTUAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PARTIES
Contracts are essential to many aspects of modern society, from business transactions to personal relationships. A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties that creates obligations enforceable by law. Generally, a contract requires mutual agreement between the parties regarding the essential terms of the agreement, such as the subject matter, the price, the time, and the performance. Without mutual agreement, there is no contract, no matter how promising or persuasive the negotiations may be. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule, which depend on the circumstances and the laws applicable to the contract.
One way in which contracts can be formed without mutual agreement between the parties is through the doctrine of implied-in-fact contracts. An implied-in-fact contract is one that arises from the conduct or circumstances of the parties, rather than from an express agreement. For example, if A orders a product from B based on B`s website or brochure, and B delivers the product to A and A accepts and uses it, then A and B may have formed an implied-in-fact contract, even if they did not negotiate or sign a written document. The terms of the contract would be inferred from the reasonable expectations and actions of the parties, and would be subject to the applicable laws and standards in the relevant industry or jurisdiction.
Another way in which contracts can be formed without mutual agreement between the parties is through the doctrine of quasi-contracts, also known as contracts implied-in-law. A quasi-contract is not a true contract, but a legal fiction that allows a court to prevent unjust enrichment or unjust detriment to one of the parties. For example, if C mistakenly pays D some money that D is not entitled to, and D refuses to return the money to C, then C may sue D for restitution based on a quasi-contract theory, even though there was no actual agreement between C and D. The court would imply a contract between C and D that would require D to return the money to C, as if there had been a mutual agreement between them.
In some cases, the law may also recognize contracts that are formed without mutual agreement between the parties, but based on a statutory or regulatory provision. For example, if an online service provider offers a free trial or a limited service to a user, and the user accepts the offer by clicking a button or entering some data, then the service provider and the user may have formed a contract that is governed by the terms and conditions specified in the offer or the applicable law or regulation. Even though the user did not negotiate or sign a written contract with the service provider, the laws that govern online contracts may provide sufficient protection and enforcement for both parties.
However, these exceptions to the rule of mutual agreement in contract formation are limited and subject to various limitations and qualifications. For example, the implied-in-fact and quasi-contract theories are based on equitable principles and may not be available in all jurisdictions or circumstances. The statutory or regulatory provisions that allow contracts to be formed without mutual agreement may also have strict requirements and limitations that affect the validity and enforceability of the contract. Therefore, parties who wish to enter into a contract should always strive to reach a mutual agreement regarding the essential terms of the contract, and to express the agreement in writing, to avoid confusion, disputes, and legal costs.
In conclusion, the statement that contracts can be formed without mutual agreement between the parties is partially true, depending on the context and the legal theory that applies. While there are exceptions to the general rule of mutual agreement in contract formation, they are based on limited and specific principles and may not provide the same level of certainty, clarity, and protection as a true mutual agreement. Therefore, parties should always seek to negotiate and sign a written contract that reflects their mutual agreement and that complies with the applicable laws and standards.