People cautioned against WhatsApp contracts

By Aulah Najjuuka
In a recent court ruling, the court solidified WhatsApp messages as legally binding contracts for
business transactions.
The verdict, stemming from a case in Uganda, sets a precedent with far-reaching implications
for businesses worldwide as they increasingly turn to digital platforms for negotiations and
The case in question involved a dispute over a land deal, where one party argued that
WhatsApp messages exchanged between the parties constituted a valid contract.
After careful consideration, the court upheld the validity of the WhatsApp messages as
sufficient evidence of a binding agreement, emphasising the importance of honouring
commitments made through digital channels.
In an almost similar situation, Lynette Kembabazi, a student at UCU Mukono, states how
WhatsApp messages helped act as evidence when she was opening up a police case.
“I took screenshots of the conversations we had on WhatsApp and all the money transactions I
had made, and I used these when I went to the police to open up a case, and the culprit was
arrested and taken to the police to face charges. Kembabazi said.
“This ruling highlights the growing reliance on messaging apps like WhatsApp for conducting
business, owing to their convenience and accessibility.
However, it also underscores the need for clear and precise communication to avoid
misunderstandings or disputes that could arise from informal exchanges.
In response to the decision, legal experts advise businesses to review their practices regarding
digital communication and contract formation. Employees should be aware of the legal
implications of their digital exchanges and take steps to ensure that agreements are accurately
“For a WhatsApp message to qualify as contractually binding, there is a lot we look at,was there
an offer made, and if it was made, was there acceptance of the offer from the other party, and
most importantly, was there an intention to deal or agree?”Tonny Tumukunde, the speaker of
the Alumni Associations, says.
According to him,if these three are spotted, then that chat qualifies as contractually binding.”The
deal should be related to legal products or items; if any agreement is made towards the
exchange of illegal goods, then that agreement is null and void,” Tumukunde said

Furthermore, this ruling emphasises the importance of digital literacy and legal awareness in
today’s business environment. As technology continues to reshape the way we do business,
understanding the legal implications of digital communication is essential for navigating the
complexities of modern commerce.