“The parol evidence rule” prohibits the admission of evidence to subtract from, add to, vary or contradict the written document.
There is presumption that written document is intended to be whole contract
Look outside document to find intention (Stoddart Tiles v Alcan)
Presumption depends on the nature, form and content of the written contract (Nemeth v Bayswater Road)
But older cases apply the rule strictly (Gordon v McGregor; Thorne v Borthwick)
- A conflict between a prior oral contract and a later written contract.
1.1 Exceptions to parol evidence
There are, however, exceptions to parol evidence;
- Where parties not to have intended their document to be exhaustive and conclusive statement of their rights and obligations (Hutton v Warren);
- Where parties adduce oral evidence to establish that a written document does not constitute the whole of the contract (Van Den Eschert v Chappell)
- Parol evidence rule may be avoided by recourse to the doctrine of rectification and the recognition of oral collateral contracts. (These two topics are discussed in other posts)
1.1.1 Van Den Eschert v Chappell
*EXAM TIP* How to see if this is relevant
The parol evidence rule is irrelevant if there is no later written contract with which any oral contract could conflict.