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oral contract

n. an agreement made with spoken words and either no writing or only partially written. An oral contract is just as valid as a written agreement. The main problem with an oral contract is proving its existence or the terms. As one wag observed: "An oral contract is as good as the paper it's written on." An oral contract is often provable by action taken by one or both parties which is obviously in reliance on the existence of a contract. The other significant difference between oral and written contracts is that the time to sue for breach of an oral contract (the statute of limitations) is sometimes shorter. For example, California's limitation is two years for oral compared to four for written, Connecticut and Washington three for oral rather than six for written, and Georgia four for oral instead of 20 for written.

See also: contract  agreement 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications