How justified is the fact that Parole Evidence Rule has outlived its importance in the modern day life?
Rules of Evidence govern the facts that are receivable in litigation being criminal or civil. The rules outline the general requirements but however there are exceptions to the general rules. The question of admissibility is a critical issue and evidence can be either admissible or inadmissible. This is also the scenario in parol evidence as it falls under the broad subject of Evidence. Evidentiary rules should be logical, consistent, and based on principled reasons. Questions of admissibility should be determinable with a fair degree of certainty prior to trial so that the legal adviser may properly advise the client on the likely trial outcome. Evidence law should keep up with the times and try to reflect the increasing global mobility of persons and modern advancements in electronic communications.
The parol evidence rule is a substantive common law rule in contract cases that prevents a party to a written contract from presenting extrinsic evidence that contradicts or adds to the written terms of the contract that appears to be whole. The supporting rationale is that since the contracting parties have reduced their agreement to a single and final writing, the extrinsic evidence of past agreements or terms should not be considered when interpreting that writing, as the parties had decided to ultimately leave them out of the contract. However, evidentiary rules should, within the limits of justice and fairness to all parties, facilitate and not hinder the determination of relevant issues. Conviction of the innocent is always to be avoided. All accused have a fundamental right to make full answer and defence to a criminal charge and evidentiary rules should be clear, simple, accessible, and easily understood.
Parol evidence rule is rule of evidence which states that oral evidence is not regarded by the courts to contradict, vary, and add or reduce the term of contract that already finished by parties. The purpose is to make it certain. * The rationale of this rule is that when the parties take trouble to decrease to writing the agreed terms of their contractual agreements, it was thought that the ...
In Manavis Vs Rhodesia Reduction Co Ltd (1910) Buch AC 31, Watermeyer JA stated that, “Now this court has accepted the rule that when a contract has been reduced to writing, the writing is, in general, regarded as the exclusive memorial of the transaction and in a suite between the parties no evidence to prove its terms may be given save the evidence of its contents, nor may the contents of such documents be contradicted, altered added to or varied by parole evidence.’ However, by a different limitation on parole evidence rule, the court may look at other contemporaneous documents when the written contract is only one part of a larger transaction as in Menashe V Georgiadis 1936 SR 59. According to Christie RH (…..:62), evidence may be given of prior oral contract in exchange for which for which the written contract was concluded, provided there is no conflict between the two, Du Plessis Vs Nel 1952 (1) SA 513 (A) 539.
It is equally obvious that parole evidence rule contains seeds of injustice because it excludes evidence which might reveal the true agreement between parties. To minimise the danger the rule is subject to a number of limitations which may include misrepresentation, fraud illegality, duress and mistake. Parole evidence rule does not exclude the leading of evidence to establish that the contract was subject to a suspensive condition because in doing so, one will not be varying the contract. In addition, the rule will not be applicable where it is the intention of the parties that the contract should be partly in writing and partly verbal and the court will give effect to the intention of the parties. In AVIS Vs VERSEPUT 1943 AD 331, the court was of the view that the parties had intended that the contract should be partly verbal and partly written. To counter the problem of including evidence outside the written contract one should include an integration clause or a whole contract clause. This will be a term stating that the written document will be an entire contract within the parties and all the terms and all the terms, conditions warrantees or representations not herein included will be expressly excluded.
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Parole evidence rule does not apply where the validity of the contract is challenged. In CORK V OSBORN 1993 (4) SA 788. The court ruled that one cannot exclude oral evidence to establish a ground of invalidity of a contract. A case in point is a contract based on mistake. Thus courts are sometimes prepared to disregard the integration clause. Integration clause is often coupled with a non-variation clause. However, a non-variation clause does not preclude any of the parties from waiving his or her rights.
Even if a writing is a total integration, a party may always introduce evidence of earlier oral agreements to show illegality, fraud, duress, mistake, lack of consideration, or any other fact that would make the contract void or voidable. In other words, the parol evidence rule never prevents the introduction of evidence that would show that no valid contract exists or that the contract is voidable. A case in point is that, in order to induce Buyer to buy a rental property, Seller lies about the profitability of the property. The parties then sign a sale contract that contains a standard “merger” clause, reciting that the contract constitutes the sole agreement between the parties. The parol evidence rule will not prevent Buyer from showing that Seller made fraudulent misrepresentations to induce him to enter into the contract. In caveat subscriptor, the General rule will naturally not apply if the signature was obtained by misrepresentation, duress and undue influence or if the case is vitiated by by illegality or mistake as in Donners Motors (Pvt) Ltd Vs Kufinya 1968 (1) RLR 12 (A).
If the contract contains a particular disclaimer, very specific statement that no representations of a particular sort have been made, some courts prevent a party from showing that the disclaimer is false. On the facts of the above example, suppose that the contract stated, “Seller has made no representations or warranties regarding the profitability of the property, and Buyer has relied solely on his own investigation as to profitability.” Some courts – though probably a minority – would prohibit Buyer from showing that Seller in fact made fraudulent misrepresentations about profitability. In addition, if the parties orally agree on a condition to the enforceability of the contract, or to the duty of one of them, but this condition is then not included in the writing, courts generally allow proof of this condition despite the parol evidence rule. An example is when A and B agree that A will sell a patent to B for $10,000 if C, an engineer advising B, approves. A and B sign a written agreement that seems to be complete, except that the contract does not mention C’s approval. Nearly all courts would allow B to prove that the oral agreement regarding approval was in fact made.
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In collateral agreements, an oral agreement that is supported by separate consideration may be demonstrated, even though it occurred prior to what seems to be a total integration. In a written agreement that seems to be a complete expression of the parties’ intent, A promises to sell B a particular automobile. As part of the transaction, the parties orally agree that B may keep the car in A’s garage for one year for $15 per month. Because the alleged oral agreement is supported by separate consideration – the $15 per month – B may prove that the oral agreement occurred even though there is an integrated writing that does not include that agreement. In subsequent transactions, parol evidence rule never bars evidence that after the signing of the writing, the parties orally or in writing agreed to modify or rescind the writing. Most courts today allow parties to introduce extrinsic evidence to aid in the interpretation of a contract, even if the writing is integration. That is, parties are generally allowed to introduce evidence of what they subjectively thought the terms in a writing meant, even if the writing is integration.
In AFC Vs POCOCK SC-135-96, P borrowed money from AFC. According to the contract AFC could come anytime and sell the farm in the event of P failing to pay or falling into areas. P fell into areas and had a discussion with one R who was the AFC general manager whereby it was agreed that instead of repossessing the farm AFC would enter agreement of payment in terms of which P would register a stop order. After that P was surprised to receive a letter from AFC threatening that AFC was going to sell the property of the farm. P argued that the waiver clause constituted a waiver of rights by AFC and that should be estopped from denying the existence of the oral agreements with the general manager. P’s arguments were rejected by the Supreme Court which ruled in favour of AFC.
1. The importance of a contract law to the private market system is vital for our private enterprise economy. It helps make buyers and sellers willing to do business together. Contract laws allows private agreements to be legally enforceable. Contract laws provides enormous flexibility and precision in business dealings. It provides flexibility in that you can agree to literally anything that is ...
When as a result of common mistake, the parties are left with a document that does not record the true agreement between them, it would be unjust to allow the parole evidence rule to prevent either of them laying the true agreement before the court. As an exception to the parole evidence rule, therefore evidence may be led in support of a claim for rectification as in Pringle-Wood Vs Master of High Court and another 1975 (1) RLR 315-319..
A spectre is haunting the law of contracts. The doctrine of promissory estoppel has evolved from relatively modest beginnings as a “consideration substitute” in donative promise cases to a force that threatens to engulf a major portion of contract law. Indeed, some commentators have suggested that promissory estoppel is evolving into a separate theory of recovery, independent of contract law. To the extent that this evolution continues, the future of many traditional contract rules, such as the parol evidence rule, is doubtful. Regardless of whether promissory estoppel ultimately achieves the status of an independent theory or merely continues its evolution within the parameters of contract law, the historical course of the reliance principle’s expansion exhibits such significant momentum that the thoughtful observer must speculate about likely future candidates for the doctrine’s debilitating ministrations. The parol evidence rule, at first glance, seems to be such a candidate for many reasons. The parol evidence rule has confused and dissatisfied legal scholars for a long time; for example, Professor Wigmore condemned the rule as “the most discouraging subject in the whole field of evidence.” Bringing the rule within estoppel’s domain could simplify the application of the rule, and legal scholars should appreciate anything that could clarify and rationalize its application. Furthermore, that promissory estoppel already has made substantial incursions into the province of the Statute of Frauds may portend a similar role for promissory estoppel in the parol evidence.
" Section 131 of the corporations act 2001 has changed the common law in respect of pre-Registration contracts ." Explain the common law view of pre-registration contracts and then explain how section 131 has changed the common law. Then analyse and discuss the effect of section 131 and 132 in respect of the rights and obligations of promoters, companies and third parties. Your answer should make ...
The parol evidence rule relates to written contracts and the extrinsic evidence associated with the contract, which a party to the contract wishes to adduce in a trial concerning the contract. This brief Report from the Manitoba Law Reform Commission considers the parol evidence rule in connection with written contracts that are not governed by The Consumer Protection Act and in connection with consumer transactions that fall within the scope of The Consumer Protection Act. The Report observes that the parol evidence rule has caused much difficulty within the law of contracts and notes that essentially two different versions of the rule exist. The “traditional” version holds that where a written contract appears to be a complete agreement, parol evidence may not be introduced and only if it is determined that the written agreement appears to be incomplete will evidence of prior communication be considered. The “modern” version of the rule holds that for the rule to apply it must first be determined that the parties intended to reduce their agreement into writing and all relevant evidence of prior communication is admissible to that determination. The traditional version of the rule has provoked criticism, been the subject of lists of exceptions and generated recommendations for its abolition, largely because this version of the rule can preclude relevant evidence concerning prior communication between the parties, and is more likely to result in a possible injustice.
Conclusively, Parol evidence rule has been such a contentious issue throughout its long existence because it is the centre of a conflict between two inconsistent understandings of the nature of contract, both of which hold an undeniable appeal. The ideal solution to this constant oscillation between the extremes of ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ contracting is to adopt a system in which both are given their proper place, and the fit between theory and reality made as close as manageable. Without recognition of the validity of both approaches, the oscillation will continue. Although much work still remains to be done in refining the practical details of the approach proposed, it does seem to present a genuinely workable solution to the problem of the parol evidence rule. In light of the above exposition it is clear that Parole evidence rule has outlived its importance to a greater extent due to the overwhelming exceptions. However it is still applicable in some situations. Each case should be dealt with according to its merits.
Use structure A good essay begins with a well-conceived main idea or point you are trying to get across to your reader. Each paragraph should relate to your main idea in some way. And as with any good piece of writing, your essay should have a discernible beginning, middle and end. Be creative but answer the question Some applications will ask you to describe yourself in the essay, or discuss a ...