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The statute of frauds has its origins in a 1677 English statute entitled 'An Act for the prevention of Fraud and Perjuries.' See 6 W. Holdsworth, A History of English Law (1927) pp. 379-84. The statute appears to have been enacted in response to developments in the common law arising out of the advent of the writ of assumpsit, which changed the general rule precluding enforcement of oral promises in the King's courts. Thereafter, perjury and the subornation of perjury became a widespread and serious problem. Furthermore, because juries at that time decided cases on their own personal knowledge of the facts, rather than on the evidence introduced at trial, a requirement, in specified transactions, of 'some memorandum or note . . . in writing, and signed by the party to be charged' placed a limitation on the uncontrolled discretion of the jury. See 2 A. Corbin, Contracts (1950) § 275, pp. 2-3; 6 W. Holdsworth, supra, pp. 387-89; An Act for Prevention of Fraud and Perjuries, 29 Car. 2, c. 3, § 4 (1677), quoted in J. Perillo, 'The Statute of Frauds in the Light of the Functions and Dysfunctions of Form,' 43 Fordham L. Rev. 39, 39 ...

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