Verbal Contracts Australian Law

Verbal Contracts in Australian Law: What You Need to Know

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties that outlines the terms and conditions of their agreement. Usually, a contract is in writing and signed by both parties. However, it is possible to create a contract orally, without a written document. These are called verbal contracts.

In Australia, verbal contracts are just as enforceable as written contracts, provided certain conditions are met. However, the lack of written documentation can make it difficult to prove the existence and terms of a verbal contract, and can lead to disputes and legal challenges.

Let`s take a closer look at verbal contracts in Australian law.

What is a Verbal Contract?

A verbal contract is an agreement between two or more parties that is made orally, without any written documentation. Verbal contracts can be formed in person, over the phone, or via video conferencing. They can cover a wide range of agreements, such as the sale of goods or services, employment arrangements, or rental agreements.

To be legally binding, a verbal contract must meet three essential elements:

1. Offer: One party must make an offer to the other party.

2. Acceptance: The other party must accept the offer.

3. Consideration: Both parties must give something of value to the other party.

In addition to these three elements, the terms of the agreement must be clear and unambiguous, and there must be an intention to create legal relations. This means that both parties must intend to be bound by the terms of the agreement.

Enforcing a Verbal Contract

Verbal contracts are enforceable in Australian law, just like written contracts. However, the lack of written documentation can make it difficult to prove the existence and terms of a verbal contract. In cases of disputes or legal challenges, it may be necessary to provide evidence of the verbal agreement, such as witness statements or recordings.

The evidence must meet certain standards to be admissible in court. For example, witness statements must be made by individuals who have firsthand knowledge of the agreement and are willing to testify in court. Recordings must be clear and accurately reflect the terms of the agreement.

Limitations of Verbal Contracts

While verbal contracts are legally binding, they do have certain limitations. For example, some agreements must be in writing to be enforceable under Australian law. These include contracts for the sale or transfer of land, contracts that cannot be performed within one year, and contracts for goods or services worth over a certain amount.

It is also important to note that verbal contracts can be more difficult to enforce than written contracts, especially in cases where the terms of the agreement are unclear or disputed. It is always advisable to have a written contract whenever possible, to help avoid misunderstandings and disputes.


Verbal contracts are legally binding under Australian law, provided they meet certain conditions and criteria. While they can be a convenient way to make agreements, they do come with certain limitations and risks. To protect your interests, it is always advisable to consult with a lawyer and have a written contract whenever possible.