Contracts – Do they need to be in writing?

Generally contracts can be written or verbal and still be legally enforceable. However, some contracts must be in writing in order to be legally enforceable. It is important to note that oral contracts are very difficult to enforce because there's no clear record of the transaction. This article outlines the types of contracts that must be in writing in order to be valid.

Various State and Federal legislation require certain types of contracts are to be in writing to be valid. For example dealings with property such as sales, leases and mortgages and credit agreements must be in writing.

Even if you don’t have to, it is much safer to have your agreement with another party in writing, this is especially so if money is involved. Accordingly, it is our strong recommendation that any contract you enter into is put to paper and signed by the parties. This ensures that the transaction is recorded and if court enforcement is required it helps avoid the "he said, she said" debate.

Anyone can prepare a contract, although it is not recommended. A contract should list the relevant terms of the agreement and both parties should sign and date the document. It is very important to be careful about the language used in a contract. A lawyer with experience in drafting contracts will ensure that the document reflects the agreed terms and can reduce the risk of arguments down the track.

Cormiston Legal is a Tasmanian Law Firm specialising in Commerical Law and Conveyancing and has extensive experience in contract preparation and reviews.

If you require any assistance, please contact us on 03 6332 9353 or use our Contact Us form that can be found at


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