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Part II Formation, 7 Intent to Create Legal Relations

From: Contract Law in Practice

Neil Andrews

From: Oxford Legal Research Library (http://olrl.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 26 May 2022

Subject(s):
Interpretation of contract — Limitation of liability — Performance of contract — Validity of contract

The intent to create legal relations doctrine operates as a safety-net principle, supplementing the requirement of consideration. These two doctrines operate in tandem in English law. The chapter examines case law applications of the following two presumptions. (1) An agreement between spouses is presumed not to be legally enforceable, unless the marriage has already become seriously fractured. The same presumption probably extends to other close family relations. Pre-nuptial agreements are enforceable. (2) Conversely, commercial agreements are presumed to be legally enforceable. But a series of sales does not constitute a long-term supply agreement. And a ‘letter of comfort’, not intended to be a guarantee, lacks an intent to create legal relations.

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