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Part II Formation, 5 Formality

From: Contract Law in Practice

Neil Andrews

From: Oxford Legal Research Library (http://olrl.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 22 April 2024

Construction of contract — Formation of contract — Interpretation of contract — Performance of contract

The main formalities concern the making of deed or covenants in order to give effect to gratuitous promises (the deed is formalized by the covenantor’s signature, and attestation by a witness to the signature, and delivery of the deed to the covenantee, who need not be present at the time the instrument is executed). Contracts concerning land also need to satisfy the formality of a writing. Although the tendency of English law has been to retreat from formality, various statutory exceptions are examined, notably contracts of guarantee. English law has recognized a ‘no oral modification’ clause, which requires any variation to comply with the prescribed written formality.

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