One of the essential tenets of contract law is that in order for a legal and valid contract to be formed in the eyes of the courts, there must be a “meeting of the minds” between the parties forming the contract. The parties to the contract can be individuals, or a legal entity can be entered into a contract by an official in a position of power in the legal entity.
However, establishing the existence of a meeting of the minds is very difficult for the courts to determine. If there is any dispute about the terms of a contract before a meeting of the minds develops, the courts will show a preference to interpret the terms of the contract in a way which does the least harm or damage to all the parties involved.
A meeting of the minds may also be found to not exist if the contract fails a “reasonable man” test. The reasonable man test is that a normal person with the range of knowledge that a person of a similar background to the person disputing some or all of the terms of the contract, would have reasonably interpreted the contract in a particular manner. The reasonable man test can be influenced by the specific individuals who are involved in the contract at issue.