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The Statute of Frauds in Virginia

Based on its name you might think that the Statute of Frauds has something to do with criminal or civil fraud, but it doesn’t. The name “Statute of Frauds” actually refers to a law passed by the British Parliament in 1677, and the name has been retained through the centuries. It specifies which kinds of contracts must be in writing in order to be enforceable. Its purpose is to prevent the enforcement of oral agreements through perjury.

The most common applications of the Statute of Frauds in Virginia are as follows:


  • Holding a person responsible for the promise to pay the debt of another
  • Contracts for the sale of real estate
  • Leases for real estate over 1 year
  • Agreements which cannot be performed within 1 year
  • Agreement to lend more than $25,000

While the Statute requires a written agreement, almost any writing sufficient to indicate some kind of agreement between the parties may suffice. However, the “writing” must be signed by the party who is being charged. Thus, the venerable Statute of Frauds is still an important and influential part of modern law.




The above is not meant to replace legal counsel. If you’d like to speak to an attorney, please contact us at 703-273-1400 or by filling out our online information request form.