Posts tagged Extrinsic Evidence
Issue Spotter: In California, Sometimes Written Contracts Aren’t Worth the Paper They’re Written On

A 2013 California Supreme Court case has brought about a sea change in how far parties can rely on their written agreements, with the repercussions playing out in real time. 

The "parol evidence rule" provides that, when parties enter into a written contract intended to be the final expression of their agreement, they can't use extrinsic evidence (evidence outside the agreement, like prior or contemporaneous oral agreements or statements) to alter or add to it. This is why contracts commonly contain an “integration clause”, essentially saying this is the final and only expression of the parties’ agreement. Outside evidence can be used to clear up places where the contract is ambiguous--but it can’t contradict what’s in the agreement. 

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