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The Statute of Frauds requires that certain types of contracts be evidenced by a writing or by written memoranda of sufficient detail to describe the essential terms. If contracts do not comply with the statute they will be judicially unenforceable but not void. The purpose of the Statute of Frauds is to prevent fraud or perjury. Contracts for the sale of land, contracts for the sale of goods equal or greater than $500, marriage contracts, contracts not performed within one-year, and surety contracts all fall within the Statute of Frauds. Contracts within the Statute, i.e. those that are required to be in writing but are not, are voidable. The minority view holds such contracts as void. The Statute of Frauds may be asserted as a defense only by parties to the contract.

The development of the action of assumpsit in the fourteenth century gave rise to the enforceability of the oral promise. Although parties to an action could not be witnesses, the alleged promise could be enforced on the strength of oral testimony of others not concerned with the litigation. Because of this practice, a party could readily suborn perjured testimony, resulting in marked injustice to innocent parties ...

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