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Posted on July 27th, 2012, by

Traditionally, the relationship between individuals and organizations is regulated on the legal basis. In actuality, the trend to use legal binding and legal contracts is growing to be more and more popular because they can enhance the legal intentions of individuals as well as organizations to develop legal relations on the basis of legal binding contract. In such a context, it is possible to estimate that an intention to create legal relations is an essential element of a legally binding contract. However, this statement turns out to be highly controversial since, on the one hand, the intention to create legal relations naturally imply the legally binding contract, while, on the other hand, the signing of a legally binding contract does not necessarily mean the presence of such an intention and, what is more important, people can be unaware of the fact that they need to develop legal relations or that they may not have the intention to develop legal relations, but, under the pressure of circumstances, they are forced to sign a legally binding contract.

In this respect, it is important to underline the fact that the development of legal relations is closely intertwined with the creation of legally binding contract. In actuality, this means that the development of legal relations or the intention of creation of legal relations by individuals as well as by individuals and organizations naturally implies the legalization of these relations by means of legally binding contract. At the same time, it should be said that the legally binding contract actually implies the terms and conditions under which the contract or any legal agreement is signed. Consequently, any legal relationships inevitably lead to the legally binding contracts because it is impossible to develop legal relations without defining certain terms and conditions.

On analyzing the practical implementation of legally binding contracts, it should be said that such contracts arise from different sorts of legal relations, such as signing a lease, getting married, using a checking account, or even using Internet sites or software. In such a way, the development of any sort of legal relations involves the agreement on terms and conditions of contract that means that people, involved in these legal relations, are actually signing a legally binding contract. In fact, the legal relations imply the existence of terms and conditions and people cannot develop legal relations ignoring these terms and conditions since their violation leads either to the void of the legally binding contract or it can cause the legal repercussions. In other words, the violation of terms and conditions of the legally binding contract leads to the denunciation of the contract and put the end to the legal relationships.

In such a context, it is obvious that the intention to develop legal relations is essentially intertwined and is a precursor and essential condition of the legally binding contract. It proves beyond a doubt that legally binding contract cannot exist beyond legal relations. However, the problem arises when the intention to develop legal relations is discussed in details. To put it more precisely, sometimes it is quite difficult to define whether an individual had an intention to develop legal relations or not and whether the development of legal relations was conscious or not. In fact, often people do not pay much attention to the legal aspects of relations they establish when they develop them. For instance, while using a software or Internet sites, people often accept terms and conditions even without reading the agreement itself. In such a situation, it is hardly possible to speak about a conscious intention of an individual to develop legal relations, but, instead, it is rather possible to speak about the intention of an individual to use a product of services, which inevitably involves certain legal relations, but does not always imply the signing of a legally binding contract.

In this respect, when people develop legal relations and agree on terms and conditions, i.e. create legally binding contract, while using software or Internet sites, they can remain ignorant of the legal aspects of their actions and they agree on legally binding contract automatically. As the matter of fact, people can view such an agreement not as a legally binding contract, but rather as a simple purchase procedure. In other words, they can view the legal aspect of their relations they establish with producers of software, for instance, as a regular purchase, which they make regularly in a supermarket, for instance. In such a context, it is possible to argue whether such a contract is valid or not because people agree on the legally binding contract practically unconsciously, automatically, being unaware of the terms and conditions, which they can fail to read, but which impose on them certain obligations according to the legally binding agreement. In fact, the regular purchases people are making in a supermarket, for instance, are not regulated by legally binding contracts, but the relationships between a seller and a customer are defined by existing legal norms and rules. Therefore, when they view the use of software, which implies the legally binding contract, being a regular purchase, people are unaware of the fact that they have agreed on the legally binding contract.

Consequently, the validity of such legally binding contracts can be under a question, since any contract, including legally binding contract, implies the conscious agreement of the parties involved in the agreement to agree on terms and conditions of the contract and, what is more, they should be conscious of the fact that the legally binding contract imposes on them certain obligations, in accordance with terms and conditions of the contract (Mallor, 46).

Hence, it is impossible to sign a legally binding contract, being unaware of its essence.

At first glance, this is another evidence of the fact that an intention to develop legal relations is an essential element of a legally binding contract. However, on the other hand, there is a problem of unawareness of people of the legal aspect of their relations. What is meant here is the fact that people can view some legal relation, such as the use of software, as a routine purchase which is regulated by legal norms and rules, which do not actually involve specific terms and conditions, different from existing legal regulations (Barnett, 188). In such a situation, they actually initiate legal relations and agree on legally binding contract, even if they are unaware of this fact.

Obviously, the unawareness of people when they initiate legal relations leading to the creation of a legally binding contract does not free them from the responsibility or obligations defined in terms and conditions of the contract. In such a situation, people can attempt to void the contract if they are unwilling or unable to meet its terms and conditions and violate them, or, alternatively this legally binding contract will cause legal repercussions in case of the violation of terms and conditions of the contract. Anyway, whether the violation of terms and conditions voids the contract or cause legal repercussions, the parties are involved in the relations implying that the parties have agreed to sign the contract, regardless of their unawareness.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that legal relations are essential elements of legally binding contract. However, when the issue of the intention of development of legal relations is introduced, a number of questions arises. In this respect, it is primarily necessary to define whether individuals do intend to develop legal relations which are essential elements of legally binding contract. Secondly, it is not always clear to what extent the agreement on the development of legal relations leading to the creation of a legally binding contract was conscious. In addition, the intention of the development of legal relations does not necessarily means that such relationships will be developed and legally binding contract will be signed. For instance, after the engagement a couple can decide to part and, in spite of intention to develop legal relations, there is no continuation in the form of legally binding contract. Consequently, it would be more correct to estimate that legal relations, but not their intention, are essential elements of legally binding contract.

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