As businesses grow more complex, the need for formal contracts becomes increasingly essential to avoid disputes and misunderstandings. However, in some cases, parties may choose to rely on oral agreements. Unlike written contracts, proving the terms of an oral agreement can be challenging. Fortunately, several pieces of evidence can help prove the existence and terms of oral agreements.
First and foremost, witness testimony can be helpful in proving the existence of an oral agreement. Witnesses can testify as to the conversations had, the substance of those conversations, and even the intent of the parties involved. In many cases, the other party to the agreement may be a natural choice as a witness, but third-party witnesses such as colleagues or family members may also be able to provide persuasive testimony.
To bolster the weight of witness testimony, parties to an oral agreement may also be able to rely on corroborating documents. For example, emails between the parties may be able to support the existence of an oral agreement if they reference the terms discussed. Similarly, receipts or invoices that reflect the agreed-upon terms may also provide evidence of a verbal agreement.
To further strengthen one`s case, parties may also be able to demonstrate performance of the oral agreement. If, for example, the parties agreed to provide goods or services to one another in exchange for compensation, the actual provision of those goods or services can be seen as strong evidence that an agreement existed. Similarly, payment of compensation by one party to the other can be seen as a sign of the existence of a verbal agreement.
Finally, the parties themselves may be able to provide persuasive evidence of an oral agreement. For example, if the parties regularly conduct business with one another, it may be possible to infer that an agreement existed based on their ongoing relationship. Additionally, text messages or recorded phone calls may provide direct evidence of the terms of a verbal agreement.
In conclusion, while proving the existence of an oral agreement can be challenging, there are several pieces of evidence that can be used to support one`s case. From witness testimony and corroborating documents to demonstration of performance and direct evidence of the parties` communications, there are several strategies available for demonstrating that an oral agreement existed and the terms of that agreement.