Agreements i n Writing 179
that certain t ypes of agreements be recorded in writing and signed by
the person against whom they would be enforced in order to provide
a strong evidentiary basis for a finding that such an undertaking was
actually given. Section 4 of the 1677 legislation provided as follows:
[N]o Action sha ll be brought whereby to charge any Executor or
Administ rator upon any special Promi se, to answer Dam ages out of
his own Est ate or whereby to ch arge the Defendant upon any special
Promise to an swer for the Debt, Default or Miscar riages of another
Person or to charge any Person upon any Agr eement made upon Con-
sideration of Marr iage or upon any Contract or Sale of Land s, Tene-
ments or Hereditament s, or any Interest in or concerni ng them or
upon any Agreement that i s not to be performed with in the Space of
one Year from the making t hereof unless the Agreement upon which
such Action shall be brought, or some Memora ndum or Note ther eof,
shall be in w riting, and signed by t he Party to be charged t herewith,
or some other Person thereunto by hi m lawfully authori zed.5
In section 17 of the statute, similar requirements were i mposed on con-
tracts for the sale of goods, wares, and merchandise for the price of
£10 and more.6 Other provisions of t he statute apply to certain kinds
of arrangements concerning trusts. Two further categories were added
to the statute by Lord Tenterden’s Act7 in the early-nineteenth centur y.
The first category concerned undertak ings by adults to ratify otherwi se
unenforceable contracts entered into during in fancy.8 The second cate-
gory consisted of misrepresentations as to credit worthiness for which
the representor was to be held liable.9 The latter provision was added
in order to avoid circumvention of the writing requirement concerning
guarantees. It precluded actions again st oral guarantors based on the
5 Ibid, s 4.
6 Ibid , s 17. The treatme nt of informal contracts for t he sale of goods under section
17 is slightly differe nt from the section 4 scheme. Sect ion 17 perm its enforcement
if the buyer has a ccepted part of the goods or provi des partial pay ment or a
deposit. Other wise a note or memorandum of the ag reement signed by the par ty
to be charged is r equired. The provision mig rated to the sale of goods legi slation
in many juri sdictions, including En gland and the Canadi an common law
provinces, t he threshold amount typica lly being set at $40. The provision i s not
in accord with t he expectations of many p arties and has bee n repealed in several
provinces. Se e Statute Law Amendme nt Act, SBC 1958, c 52, s 17; An Act to Re peal
the Statute of Frauds, SM 1982 –83–84, c 34, s 27; Statute Law Amen dment Act
(Governmental Man agement and Services), SO 1994, c 27, s 54.
7 Statute of Frauds Ame ndment Act, 1828, 9 Geo 4, c 14 (UK), ss 5–6.
8 See now, for example, Sta tute of Frauds, RSO 1990, c S.19, s 7.
9 Ibid , s 8.