Napkin Agreements

Contracts can come in all shapes and sizes. There is no specific form in which an agreement must take, hence napkins,receipt backs, pizza boxes, or just about anything else that ink will stick to can become a contract.

A legally binding and enforceable agreement is one that satisfies all the elements that are required by law. These elements are:-

  1. Offer

There must be a definite, clearly stated offer to do something. An offer lapses when the time for acceptance expires or if the offer is withdrawn before it is accepted;

  1. Acceptance

Only what is offered can be accepted. This means that the offer must be accepted exactly as offered without conditions. If any new terms are suggested this is regarded as a counter offer which can be accepted or rejected.

  1. Consideration

Consideration is what each party gives to the other as the agreed price for the other’s promises.

  1. Intention to be legal bound

The parties must  intend to enter into a legally binding agreement.

  1. Competence and capacity

The parties to the agreement must be above eighteen years and should not be mentally incapacitated or intoxicated.

Case Example:

In Robert Baum versus Helget Gas Products, INC, No.05-2142, The prospective employee took copious notes during his interview, including descriptions of salary, benefits and the length of his contract. He wrote “Contract With Helget Gas Products St. Louis Mo. Market” across the top and handed it to the Helget manager, who signed it. When Helget fired the employee a year later, the employee sued and won, saying he had a three-year contract. The court agreed.

Additionally, Lionel Messi, a professional footballer also  signed his first FC Barcelona contract on a paper napkin!

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