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Can you bind a contract via email?

A contract is a very important document. It is an agreement that is enforceable by law,  including one regarding ...

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Can you bind a contract via email?

A contract is a very important document. It is an agreement that is enforceable by law,  including one regarding employment, sales, business partnerships, or rent. Without a contract, consider your business partnerships, employment, or any supposed agreement with anyone void. To begin any sort of business relationship with anyone, a contract must be drafted, agreed and signed by every party involved. This way, if anyone goes contrary to what the contract states, you can decide to seek the law for resolution.

Contrary to beliefs, a physical form of a contract is not so important. What this means is that a contract can be written anywhere; on a napkin, a table, or even a watermarked paper as long as the terms are clearly stated and agreed on by both parties. An agreement must contain the following elements in order to be binding;

  • An offer
  • Acceptance by both parties
  • Both parties have the capacity to create a contract

Does this mean that you can also bind a contract via email? Yes, but there are some email contract safety tips you must follow;

  • A contract doesn’t need to be signed physically for it to be valid
  • A series of emails can pass for a legally binding contract. Not just one.
  • It is possible for a preliminary email to constitute a binding contract even if it refers to a future formal agreement that has yet to be negotiated
  • Make sure to avoid creating an implausible contract, if you’re following industry customs and behaviour
  • There are certain terms you should avoid, except you clearly intend for it to be taken that way; “accept” “agreement” “agree” are all legally binding words and accepted in the court of law. If you do not intend to make an agreement, ensure you do not make use of these words.
  • As for every contract created, whether via email or traditionally on a paper, it is very important that you state every condition and desire agreed upon by you and your partner. It is only a contract if your desires are clearly written and seen.

A lot of people have formed and agreed on contracts verbally, while this has worked for a lot of people, this is not the best way to form a contract. The essence of a contract is to be able to refer back to it if any party violates the agreement.  A hard or soft copied agreement has proven to be the best way to bind contracts. 

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