Statute of frauds

related topics
{law, state, case}
{company, market, business}
{rate, high, increase}
{car, race, vehicle}
{area, part, region}
{service, military, aircraft}
{day, year, event}
{school, student, university}

The statute of frauds refers to the requirement that certain kinds of contracts be memorialized in a signed writing with sufficient content to evidence the contract.

Traditionally, the statute of frauds requires a signed writing in the following circumstances:

  • Contracts in consideration of marriage. This provision covers prenuptial agreements.
  • Contracts which cannot be performed within one year. However, contracts of indefinite duration do not fall under the statute of frauds regardless of how long the performance actually takes.
  • Contracts for the transfer of an interest in land. This applies not only to a contract to sell land but also to any other contract in which land or an interest in it is disposed, such as the grant of a mortgage or an easement.
  • Contracts by the executor of a will to pay a debt of the estate with his own money.
  • Contracts for the sale of goods involving a purchase price of $500 or more.
  • Contracts in which one party becomes a surety (acts as guarantor) for another party's debt or other obligation.

This can be remembered by the mnemonic "MY LEGS": Marriage, one year, land, executor, goods, surety; or Marriage, one year, land, executor, guarantor, sale.



The term statute of frauds comes from an English Act of Parliament (29 Chas. 2 c. 3) passed in 1677 (authored by Sir Leoline Jenkins and passed by the Cavalier Parliament), and more properly called An Act for Prevention of Frauds and Perjuries.[1] Many common law jurisdictions have made similar statutory provisions, while a number of civil law jurisdictions have equivalent legislation incorporated into their civil codes. The original English statute itself may still be in effect in a number of US states or Canadian provinces, depending on the constitutional or reception statute of English law, and any subsequent legislative developments.

Raising the defense

A defendant in a statute of frauds case who wishes to use the Statute as a defense must raise the Statute in a timely manner. The burden of proving that a written contract exists only comes into play when a Statute of Frauds defense is raised by the defendant. A defendant who admits the existence of the contract in his pleadings, under oath in a deposition or affidavit, or at trial, may not use the defense.

Full article ▸

related documents
Punitive damages
Civil procedure
Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
State supreme court
Citation signal
Adversarial system
Expert witness
Vexatious litigation
European Court of Justice
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
United States Marshals Service
Res ipsa loquitur
Scientology and the legal system
Arrest warrant
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Volkert van der Graaf
Leonard Peltier
Mens rea
Baker v. Vermont
Acceptable use policy
Deposition (law)
Right of self-defense
Tom Denning, Baron Denning
Drug policy of the Netherlands
Search warrant