memorandum in writing

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Under former provisions of the Law of Property Act 1925, written evidence of a contract for the sale or other disposition of land or of any interest in it. The Act provided that such a contract could not be enforced unless it, or some memorandum or note evidencing the parties' agreement (identifying the parties, the property, the price, and other essentials), was in writing and signed by the party to be held liable on the contract. In practice, a contract would usually be in writing, but a signed memorandum showing that the parties had been bound from the time of an earlier oral agreement was equally acceptable as evidence to support any claim to enforce the contract.

However, the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 now insists that such a contract can only be made in writing that sets out in one document (or incorporates by reference to other existing documents) all the terms the parties have expressly agreed; the contract must be signed by both parties. A mere memorandum or note evidencing the terms of the agreement will no longer suffice unless it is incorporated in the contract by reference.

Subjects: Law.

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