Winning Auction Bidders Beware

Posted on April 28, 2007 by | 0 Comments


Tim O'Dwyer M.B., LL.Bby Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B Queensland Solicitor & Consumer Advocate


Peter Mericka was correct when he stated in Auctions Exposed As Non-Binding that, as every agent, auctioneer, solicitor and conveyancer knows, a contract for the sale of real estate must be in writing and signed before it can be enforced. More particularly such a contract will be enforceable at law even if it is only “evidenced” in writing. This requirement flows from Section 4 of the Statute of Frauds 1677, an Act of the English Parliament, which has been incorporated more or less in legislation across Australia in these terms:

“No action may be brought upon any contract for the sale…of land…unless the contract…or some memorandum or note of the contract, is in writing, and signed by the party to be charged, or by some person by the party lawfully authorised.”
My learned colleague and fellow real estate cage-rattler was also correct, as far as Victoria (and the Australian Capital Territory) is concerned, when he agreed with the reported remarks of the Real estate Institute of Victoria that little could be done legally by the vendor if a winning bidder did not sign a sale contract after an auction.

The position is different elsewhere in Australia…

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