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an agreement that can be enforced in court; formed by two or more parties each of whom agrees to perform or to refrain from performing some act now or in the future

objective theory of contracts

under which the intent to form a contract will be judged by outward, objective facts (what the party said when entering into the contract, how the party acted or appeared, and the circumstances surrounding the transaction) as interpreted by a reasonable person, rather than by the party's own secret, subjective intentions

bilateral contract

a type of contract that arises when a promise is given in exchange for a return promise

unilateral contract

a contract that results when an offer can only be accepted by the offeree's performance


a person who makes a promise


a person to whom a promise is made

formal contracts

a contract that by law requires a specific form, such as being executed under seal, to be valid

informal contracts

a contract that does not require a specified form or formality to be valid

express contract

a contract in which the terms of the agreement are fully and explicitly stated in words, oral or written

implied-in-fact contract

a contract formed in whole or in part from the conduct of the parties (as opposed to an express contract)

executed contract

a contract that has been completely performed by both parties

executory contract

a contract that has not as yet been fully performed

voidable contract

a contract that may be legally avoided (canceled, or annulled) at the option of one of the parties

valid contract

a contract that results when elements necessary for contract formation (agreement, consideration, legal purpose, and contractual capacity) are present

unenforceable contract

a valid contract rendered unenforceable by some statute or law

void contract

a contract having no legal force or binding effect

quasi contract

a fictional contract imposed on parties by a court in the interests of fairness and justice; usually they are imposed to avoid the unjust enrichment of one party at the expense of another

quantum meruit

"as much as he deserves"


a promise or commitment to perform or refrain from performing some specified act in the future


in contract law, the withdrawal of an offer by an offeror.

option contract

a contract under which the offeror cannot revoke his or her offer for a stipulated time period and the offeree can accept or reject the offer during this period without fear that the offer will be made to another person. the offeree must give consideration for the option (the irrevocable offer) to be enforcable

promissory estoppel

a doctrine that applies when a promisor makes a clear and definite promise on which the promisee justifiable relies; such a promise is binding if justive will be better served by the enforcement of the promise


to bar, impede, or preclude


an offeree's response to an offer in which the offeree rejects the original offer and at the same time makes a new offer

mirror image rule

a common law rule that requires, for a valid contractual agreement, that the terms of the offeree's accpetance adhere exactly to the terms of the offeree's offer


the offeree's notification to the offeror that the offeree agrees to be bound by the terms of the offeror's proposal.

mailbox rule

a rule providing that an acceptance of an offer becomes effective on dispatch, if mail is, expressly or impliedly, an authorized means of communication of acceptance to the offeror


generally, the value given in return for a promise or performance; it must be present to make the contract legally binding, must be something of legally sufficient value and bargained for


the act of refraining from action the one has a legal right to undertake


a remedy whereby a contract is canceled and the parties are returned to the positions they occupied before the contract was made; may be effected through the mutual consent of the parties, by their conduct, or by court decree

past consideration

an act done before the contract is made, which ordinarily, by itself, cannot be consideration for a later promise to pay for the act

accord and satisfaction

an agreement for payment (or other performance) between two parties, one of whom has a right of action against the other. after the payment has been accepted or other performance has been made, the ______ is complete and the obligation is discharged


a contract in which one party forfeits the right to pursue a legal claim against the other party

covenant not to sue

an agreement to substitute a contractual obligation for some other type of legal action based on a valid claim

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