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In our society contracts are a major part of human interaction.Contracts are used in our personal lives, such as in marriage or divorce,buying or selling a car or home; they are also involved in our professional lives, for example, when a corporation hires another companyor agency to do work for them.

In criminal law, fraud could be a part of a criminal investigation. Warranties and product liability involve tort law. Real estate contracts are often drafted in real property law.

Whether it be an informal agreement between two people or a several-page agreement between two corporations, each can be considered a contract.

In order for a contract to be valid, both parties must be legally capable of entering into a contract: an offer must be made; the offer must be considered; and finally, the offer has to be accepted.

When determining the validity of a contract, you should ask:

  • Was an offer made?
  • Was the offer considered or worth considering?
  • Was the offer accepted?

The person to whom the right is assigned.

The transfer of property or a right in property from one party to another.

The person assigning the right.

breach of contract
When a party fails, without legal excuse, to perform any part of a contract.

Legally competent: for example, the party is of legal age or is mentally competent.

The reason a person chooses to enter into a contract: what is given in exchange for service or promise of services; the price given and paid; the inducement.

An agreement made up of a promise, or set of promises, that is made between parties in which one will do or refrain from doing a particular thing.

A judge's order to a person to do or to refrain from doing a particular thing.

injunctive relief
Relief that results from an injunction.

One obligation is extinguished by another; when a substituted contract dissolves a previous contractual duty and creates a new one. Novation requires the mutual agreement of everyone concerned, and replaces the contracting party with a new party who had no rights or obligations under the previous contract.

The person to whom the offer is made.

The person making the offer.

parol evidence rule
A rule that renders any evidence of prior or contemporaneus oral agreements that might change the terms of the written contract as inadmissible.

To give up or discharge a claim, right or interest to the person against whom the claim, right or interest exists and could have been enforced.

When a contract ia annulled from the begining, as opposed to terminating the contract in future transactions.

specific performance
The equitable remedy given to an aggrieved party, when rescission or damages are an inadequate remedy.

Statute of Frauds
A statute that requires certain classes of contracts to be put in writing and to be signed by the involved parties; exists, in one form or another, in every state. This statute is to prevent fraud or, at least, reduce the opportunity for fraud.

Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)
This law governs most aspects of commercial transactions, such as sales, leases, negotiable instruments, letters of credit, deposits and collections, warehouse receipts, bulk sales, bills of lading, as well as other documents of title, investment securities and secured transactions. It is one of the Uniform Laws and has been adopted in much the same form in every state.

Legal; not void, legally binding or effective.

When a contract imposes legal obligations on the involved parties, but the law gives one of those parties a right to void the legal obligations through cancelling the contract.
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Home: American Law 101
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Sources: Sources of American Law
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Home American Sources Contract C-dscrpt Tort Law Civil Library