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Common Law and Civil Law[edit]

Hi all, just a suggestion regarding Common Law and Civil Law...

I realise that there is a note at the top of the page stating that this article is primarily involved with common law, however numerous edits have been made referring to civil law in amongst common law contract rules. Of course both are relevant, but I think to the layman reader it may be difficult to differentiate between the two. International commercial contracts are often written on the basis of Common Law contract models. Not only are they written in the English language, they frequently also adopt the Common Law legal terminology and legal structure. While I believe civil law is very relevant, it might be beneficial to separate information for common law and civil law so as not to confuse readers. The vast majority of information on this page refers to common law rules, and in fact the actual method of sourcing the information here has been done by referring to cases which is in keeping with the actual method of authority for the common law system. Common law refers to past case 'ratio decidendi' (judge-made binding decisions, in fact meaning 'the reason for deciding' in latin) to establish rules of law, whereas in Civil law the judiciary must apply a pre-existing set of rules to cases. Anyway, just my two cents :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:52, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Offer and Acceptance/Unilateral Contract query[edit]

I think the definition of a unilateral contract is wrong - the bit about the offer being open to the whole world, basically. Black's concurs with me, but I thought I'd throw it out to the discussion page rather than just change the article, because I'm not really all that good at contracts (hence my referring to the wikipedia page ;). If you're not that good at contracts why on earth would you even consider editing this page? lol omg... See Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company. A unilateral agreement is one where the promisor has made an offer to any party, with a stipulation of what is required to accept the offer. To accept that offer the promisee must intentionally fulfil the stipulated requirements. To thee must be an agreement between each for thee contract. Eionm 09:06, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

What does Black's say? enochlau (talk) 11:19, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Black's says "A contract in which only one party makes a promise or undertakes a performance", then gives a couple of quotes from treatises. Eionm 05:00, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, I see what you mean. Because of what they are, I think they are typically made to the whole world, but that's not the definition. I've changed it in the body of this article to reflect what is in my legal dictionary. enochlau (talk) 22:06, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
The change looks good, thanks. Eionm 05:00, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Bowen LJ explicitly addressed the possibility of making an offer to every person in the world, not only did he think it possible, but ruled (jurisdiction notwithstanding) that the defendants in that case had made an offer to every person in the world, reported at Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. [1893] 1 QB 256 at 266. Bowen LJ also recognised that if everybody were to accept this offer, the company would be contracted to everybody in the world, ibid at 268. Bamkin 13:54, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

There references to Black's Law Dictionary as though Black's (not racist) were regarded as authoritative is very telling. It is also challenging to distinguish between British and American posters, but this much is clear: Black's is not authoritative in the United States. It's handy to have around if your command of Latin and Norman French makes it hard to decipher old, hoary legal texts, but then, in the US, we rarely have cause to examine texts that are more than ten years old. If you wish to be taken seriously, you need to purge the references to Black's as having any authority in the 21st Century.Cybersharque (talk) 19:52, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Added generalize tag[edit]

I've added a generalize tag because this is a fucking article seems overly focused on the legal aspects of contract (rather than, say, the social, economic, or historical aspects - contracts aren't merely legal). This was discussed a bit above, but I don't think my concerns have really been dealt with (and I don't know enough about those other aspects to be able to address them myself). Elliotreed 05:40, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm removing your tag because I'm not sure what you want. Contracts are quite legal. And it is a law page, after all. I suppose there are other concepts related to contract - like the "social contract" for instance. "Property" and "Property law" are two separate pages. So perhaps you have a point, and maybe we could move the page to "Contract law" - but I'm not sure what the page on "Contract" without the law would say, exactly. Wikidea 07:58, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
For once I've found something I can agree on with Wikidea! I concur with Wikidea's point. --Coolcaesar 19:27, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I think Elliotreed has a good point. The intricacies of modern contract law are fascinating to some readers, but a lighter, shorter article that simply covers the basics of contracts -- with a link to contract law -- would be helpful. When I put a wikilink to contract in an article, I don't mean to send the reader into the details of contract law, complete with case references. I just want them to understand, say, the difference between a contract and one guy saying to another, "I'll see you tomorrow." --SueHay 00:07, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
The problem then is, where do you draw the line? The ideal article, instead I think, would be one that covers both in the same article, but with clearly delineated sections (getting progressively deeper in content). enochlau (talk) 06:35, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I can see where you're coming from Sue, but as I said above to Elliot, I'm just not quite sure what else would go in the contract article, without the law... Wikidea 20:24, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Does anyone have a trusty dead-tree encyclopedia around? What do they talk about in an article about contracts? enochlau (talk) 22:33, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't have a full-blown dead-tree encyclopedia around, but I have an "old" dictionary - Random House, 1975. The first definition of contract is "an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified." The second definition is "an agreement enforceable by law". The Wicktionary definition
Look up contract in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

doesn't mention the first meaning, but I think it's is important to mention in a general contract article that not all contracts are legally enforceable contracts. Can someone check the 1911 encyclopedia on this? If someone delivers produce locally on a regular schedule to customers who expect delivery from him, but they have no formal legal contract for delivery, what would you call that agreement? --SueHay 02:03, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

p.s. Will someone please ARCHIVE this talk page, because some of us have slow connections and the page load time is lousy. --SueHay 02:03, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually, the law will indeed enforce as a contract the regularly scheduled delivery of produce if, through a course of conduct, each party can be said to have assented to a continuation of this course of conduct. bd2412 T 03:17, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I think perhaps those people who are advocating splitting this into two articles are under the (common) misapprehension that all "contracts" must be written, and it is contract law itself that helps you to identify what exactly is a contract - so, discussion of a "contract" and "contract law" should remain in the same article. enochlau (talk) 03:52, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

The thing I was trying to get at was that contracts are a legal topic, but I think an encyclopedia article about a legal topic doesn't need to cover only the specifically legal aspects - that is, the current state of the doctrine. I think it should take a more interdisciplinary approach. For example, more about the history of the contract would be good. (What do sociologists have to say about the process in which contracts are negotiated?) Elliotreed 02:13, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

You mean sociology of law itself? That is a really obscure field. Digging up all the sociology of professions material for Lawyer was a real pain in the neck for me. I doubt the few people who understand sociology of law are going to be interested in making a free contribution to Wikipedia. They're too busy trying to publish before they perish, as academic types say.
Also, you have to distinguish between comparative law and sociology of law. Comparative law is like, Society A has elements 1, 2, 3 to make a contract, and Society B has elements 4, 5, 6. Sociology of law would say that Society A's elements reflect one underlying philosophy or culture and Society B's elements reflect another. Either way, these are really abstruse and complex discussions and are way, way too deep for the casual Wikipedia reader who is curious about contracts. The few people capable of doing that level of research will be publishing it in their Ph.D. dissertation, not Wikipedia! --Coolcaesar 06:12, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
First, thanks for the archive, bd2412 T! Next, I'd like to suggest that someone who's looking up contract in Wikipedia might be looking for the legal definition, might be want to understand the way the term is used (or abused) in something he/she is reading, or might want to know the history of the term. Can this article lightly cover all areas, with section for more information, please see links to more details? Just an idea. --SueHay 23:38, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

ALL CAPS in contracts[edit]

Why do many contracts use all caps for some words? Like: "NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the AGREEMENT..." Is there a legal purpose to this? Keep in mind I'm not asking about entire clauses written in uppercase, just single words, scattered throughout the document. — Eric Herboso 05:01, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

I know what you mean about those all caps in contracts. It's not just contracts. Many types of legal documents have funny capitalization. For example, traditionally lawyers write Plaintiff and Defendant (with the first letter always in upper case) throughout court pleadings. I don't know where these weird traditions come from, but I assume they may be leftovers from medieval times when the capitalization rules in English were a total mess. The capitalization rules we are familiar with today didn't really stabilize until the 1850s or 1860s. This is why prose from before 1840 looks really jarring to modern eyes. --Coolcaesar 05:15, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
In the UK it is sometimes contended whether terms are in fact incorporated into the contract. In one case (unfortunatly I forget the case, but it was Dennings presiding), the court ruled that a term was not incorporated but may have been were in written in red. The same principle may apply here. I'll try to find the case, for now see obiter dictum of Smith v Eric S Bush [1989] 2 All ER 514 at 529.
Also in complex scentences this may be to give greater clarity; sometimes (especially in consumer cases a company may have to espress term in a clear and comprehensible way or face having the terms or contract rendered unenforcable, see, inter alia, Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, reg 7. Bamkin 14:18, 28 May 2007 (UTC) The case was Spurling v Bradshaw [1956] 2 All ER 121, I quote Denning
"Some clauses which I have seen would need to be printed in red ink on the face of the document with a red hand pointing to it before the notice could be held to be sufficient.", ibid at 125. It suggest that a term detrimiental to one party would be more likely to bind them if notice has been drawn. Capitalisation would appear to make something stand out :-)
Denning's red hand doctrine only applies when terms are incorporated by notice, not by signature. I think the first case he did this was Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking. I think what Eric was referring to is the format of contracts found particularly in the States & other related jurisdictions. Many use a very archaic form incorporating a preamble which reads "WHEREAS ... NOW THEREFORE ...". They read like an old fashioned English statute (whereas (preamble) now therefore be it enacted by Her Majesty's most excellent majesty). I think it's just tradition mainly. There's no law in any jurisdiction that requires the archaic form. I still see it with deeds though, perhaps because of the solemnity. --Cliau 23:57, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

J. Spurling Ltd v. Bradshaw predates Thornton by some years. The term sought to be incorporated in Thornton excluded liability for personal injury, which today would be an illegal clause in England under s.2(1) Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977. It has been suggested that signature might need to be supplemented by special notice in cases of "particularly onerous or unusual terms": Ocean Chemical Transport Inc v. Exnor Craggs Ltd [2000] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 446 at 454. The law could do with judicial clarification on this point, but the Ocean Chemical suggestion would, I think, be a good road for the law to go down. Signature will not bind where the document is not one in which one would expect to find contractual terms, for example in Grogan v. Robin Meredith Plant Hire (The Times, 20 Feb. 1996) a weekly timesheet signed by a person who hired a machine and driver, apparently intending to show what hours were worked, had contractual terms printed on the back - signature was found to be insufficient to incorporate the printed terms so as to vary the earlier oral hire contract. (talk) 16:56, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Actually you can be charged with disluding the offeree if you don't put certain words in Caps. This is supposed to make it fair for everyone including the "common person". That's why in some counties (not countries) the use of legalese is banned because it causes too much difficulties for the "common person" to understand.

This unsigned bit above about being charged with "disluding the offeree" is not true. The real reason, I believe, is that contracts were once written in continuous blocks, typically in a deed poll (cut straight between two copies on one piece of writing material) or an indenture (cut jaggedly). Since clauses were not in separate paragraphs, and there were no headings, etc, the use of capitals indicated the start of a clause and generally allowed rapid identification of the sort of clause it was, so WHEREAS indicates a recital, NOW IT IS HEREBY AGREED tells you the proper stuff is about to begin, and so on. (talk) 17:28, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Carbolic Smoke Ball[edit]

This is really small detail, but the article says that the ball was supposed to cure the flu, when in fact it was supposed to prevent someone from getting the flu if they used it correctly. A woman used it and got the flu. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:01, 6 December 2008 (UTC)


Would anybody object if I were to move (and elaborate upon) the "terms" section to a new article entitled "Contract Term" or "Term (law)", then change the section on the "contract" page to a mere summary with a main article link. Bamkin 16:21, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Don't take me as objecting but... could you provide an intuition as to why this would be a good thing to do? enochlau (talk) 02:05, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Inconsistency, weighting and length. The section is nconsistent with the rest of the article and other top level articles (tort, criminal law, ect) in that all sections are mere overviews with a larger article. The terms section is full of lists which looks messy, and possible overly weighted in certain areas: 3.2,3.3,3.4,3.5 all deal with the broad topic of implied terms, good faith is not pan-jurisdictional, and types of terms is totally omited. Bamkin 13:47, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
ok, though I'd probably name it... Term (contract law)? enochlau (talk) 23:43, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
The new article has been created, what do you think (to the main page section and the new article, neatened and extended, ect?? I went with Contractual Terms simply because the section on the main page calls it that. Bamkin 15:25, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
I think it's wikiformat to put the word in lower case, unless they're proper nouns or the start of the title; so it should probably be moved to "Contractual terms". Otherwise, what's left on the page now would be good if the different subsections linked to their own main articles if there are any, e.g. Implied terms; Express terms; Good faith etc. Otherwise, good work in doing the spring cleaning! Wikidea 22:17, 29 May 2007 (UTC)


When a person signs a contract do they have to sign it with their dominant hand? If so, then where is it in the article?-- 21:03, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Not sure what dominant hand means - if you mean the hand they usually write with, then no, there's no requirement for that. You know how in the cartoons, characters sign with an "X" - well that counts; although there are rules on how to get out of a contract if you can argue "it wasn't my deed" (non est factum) where you've been told what a deed says (because you can't read it) and what you were told was lies, or something; e.g. Gallie v. Lee [1971] AC 1004 in England, where a woman's glasses were broken and she didn't read a deed which signed away her house (that wasn't good enough, because she could've done more to check what she was signing). Wikidea 22:23, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Non est factum is not specific to deeds, and it is not about not being able to read the document. It is about not being able to read the document because you are illiterate. Lawdroid (talk) 23:57, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but "non est factum" is translated as "not my deed". :) Wikidea 16:02, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
Or even better "not my act!" ;)Lawdroid (talk) 22:15, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

When sigining a contract, they don't have to sign it with their dominant hand just any hand, they just need to know what the contract says or mean to say. I know some cases where people lied to other people but in most common law countries, you can actually type into a contract and it's valid. Like how I sign checks off to people but I use a computer for mass production and according to US law it's valid. I don't really know about other counties...

9/4/08 In terms of Australia and the United Kingdom, it is actually not relevant how a person signs the contract. It is their intent to enter into binding contractual relations that makes the contract enforceable against them. The signature of course needs to be identifiable in order to prove that the person signed the contract after the fact, however witnesses attesting to the person signing the contract would be sufficient regardless of whether the signature is legible. If both parties are Consensus Ad Idem (meeting of the minds) and both intend to enter into contract, both have consideration, legal capacity and have met the relevant formalities then the contract is binding.


This is assessed as a B, but someone might want to nominate it for GA. Aboutmovies 00:54, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it's a good article. I've only seen it get more muddied and unclear over time. enochlau (talk) 08:11, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. I tried to do some work on it a while back, but it got out of hand and its now hard to see how to salvage it. Francis Davey 11:56, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Bilateral v. unilateral contracts [section removed][edit]

The following section was excised from the page, but I think it should be put back in: (I agree and I put it back in, it's very relevant)

Contracts may be bilateral or unilateral. The more common of the two, a bilateral contract, is an agreement in which each of the parties to the contract makes a promise or promises to the other party. For example, in a contract for the sale of a home, the buyer promises to pay the seller $200,000 in exchange for the seller's promise to deliver title to the property.

In a unilateral contract, only one party to the contract makes a promise. A typical example is the reward contract: A promises to pay a reward to B if B finds A's dog. B is not obliged to find A's dog, but A is obliged to pay the reward to B if B finds the dog. In this example, the finding of the dog is a condition precedent to A's obligation to pay.

An offer of a unilateral contract may often be made to many people (or 'to the world') by means of an advertisement. In that situation, acceptance will only occur on satisfaction of the condition (such as the finding of the offeror's dog). If the condition is something that only one party can perform, both the offeror and offeree are protected — the offeror is protected because he will only ever be contractually obliged to one of the many offerees; and the offeree is protected, because if she does perform the condition, the offeror will be contractually obliged to pay her.

In unilateral contracts, the requirement that acceptance be communicated to the offeror is waived. The offeree accepts by performing the condition, and the offeree's performance is also treated as the price, or consideration, for the offeror's promise.

The most common type of unilateral contract is the insurance contract. The insurance company promises to pay the insured a stated amount of money on the happening of an event if the insured pays premiums; note that the insured does not make any promise to pay the premiums.

Courts generally favor bilateral contracts. The general rule in the United States is: "In case of doubt, an offer is interpreted as inviting the offeree to accept either by promising to perform what the offer requests or by rendering the performance, as the offeree chooses." Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 32 (1981) (emphasis added). Here the law attempts to provide some protection from the risk of revocation in a unilateral contract to the offeree. Note that if the offer specifically requests performance rather than a promise, a unilateral contract will exist. See option contracts for more information on protection given to the offeree in a unilateral contract.

--Eastlaw 07:58, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree - don't know why it was removed... enochlau (talk) 10:47, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Enoch, not knowing why it was removed isn't a very good reason to put it back in! There's one reference in it only. The first part is covered in the part of the article talking about Carlill, so it's repetitive. I'm afraid I don't see how insurance contracts are unilateral, and I don't really follow the explanation of it - it's a bilateral contract if both are exchanging promises even on the possible occurrence of an event (e.g. damage or payment of premiums). Again it's unreferenced, so I wouldn't trust it unless it'd been explained better. And then, how do courts favour bilateral contracts more? Unilateral contracts can still be valid can't they? The Restatement bit is of course useful that follows - why not put that back in under the offer and acceptance section? But everything there otherwise is already covered in the article. Wikidea 17:29, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I should've been clearer. What I meant was, I agree with the idea that there should be a section explaining the difference between unilateral and bilateral contracts explicitly. enochlau (talk) 23:05, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
And some reference to Harvela and the terminology "synallagmatic" wouldn't go amiss. Carlill is by no means the last word on the subject. Tendering cases are very important in present day commercial law. Francis Davey 18:07, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Contractual holdup[edit]

I have located information on an early case that is used to establish precedence regarding contractual holdup practices, and I wanted to make anyone interested in this article aware of it. See Baker v. Morton, an 1870 SCOTUS trial, and Omaha Claim Club. The citation is [1]. – Freechild (BoomCha) 06:17, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

law of contract[edit]

what is the deferrence between agreement and contract? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:34, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I assume what the previous contributor meant to ask is: What is the difference between an agreement and a contract? I'd agree that there should be a paragraph on or some mention of that. That is particularly important because "agreement" only has an disambiguation link leading here. There seems to be some distinction between the two. Could one of the experts kindly attend to this question. Thks. Lisa4edit —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:15, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

The lead sentence of the article says inter alia that a contract is an agreement that the law will enforce. Legis Nuntius (talk) 07:11, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

removed photo[edit]

I have removed the handshake photo. It is meant to be a representation of two people 'shaking hands' to formalise an agreement, but is actually a person being congratulated on becoming a police officer. It is inappropriate. --Adam Brink (talk) 14:17, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

kw-012© since 9-2007 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:32, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Do we need to reform this page?[edit]

I see a lot complaints on this page, and it's pretty clear that the article is difficult to comprehend, whether for a reader or an editor.

Would we be better off with a page for contract that gave a little introduction to its place in the law of obligations, and some introductory material to the sociological and economic aspects, then had different pages for the law of contract in various categories of jurisdiction (commonwealth, US, civil, islamic, etc), and sub-topics in those areas if necessary, and links to the main pages for e.g. economic theory of contracts? Lawdroid (talk) 11:29, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

We're already in the process of doing the law bit at the moment; see English contract law for example, which while incredibly basic (I haven't touched it yet) is along the right structural lines. I'd support such a proposal. Ironholds (talk) 11:37, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Trade Usage, Course of Performance, & Course of Dealing[edit]

Are Trade Usage, Course of Performance, Course of Dealing mentioned anywhere in the Contracts article??? They are MAJOR areas of contract interpretation, and I could not find a mention of them anywhere in the Contracts section of wikipedia. They warrant their own section in the contracts article.

Yes, you should add something about that ;) Lawdroid (talk) 21:57, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

The Natural Right to Contract[edit]

The opening definition assumes that contracts can only take place in the presence of a governmental authority. This is patently false. Contracts exist prior to government. Two mobsters can sign a contract as easily as two people on a desert island as easily as a military supplier. The article ignores the very real question of whether the contracting parties are engaged in legal activities The ability to make contracts comes from freedom of action and freedom of will. The enforceability aspect is peculiar to legally binding contracts. Change definition or, alternatively, rename this article Contract (legal) Mrdthree (talk) 12:45, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

You seem to be unaware of the word "agreement." You are talking about agreements. Contracts are a species of legally enforceable agreement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lawdroid (talkcontribs) 15:35, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
You are mistaken. All English language dictionaries recognize that the notion of contract extends beyond legal standing [2],[3], [4], [5], etc. Only a legal dictionary would refer to its legal definition. To provide examples: a hitman makes a contract to kill someone (breaks your definition). A polygamist triad enters into a marriage contract with a Church (breaks your definition). Mrdthree (talk) 19:10, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Although investigating this further shows it is an American/British English distinction [6][7]Mrdthree (talk) 19:26, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
This is a page about a legal concept. If you like, add a reference to the page on agreements, possibly on the disambiguation page. Lawdroid (talk) 22:13, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Incorrect. This page is about contracts. Contracts are a very important part of libertarian thought. Contracts are understood to precede the state in libertarian thought.Mrdthree (talk) 02:32, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I suggest you go write about this on a page about libertarian thought, then. This is a page about the legal concept of contracts. That is the reason why contract theory (the economic concept) has its own page. Go and make one about your ideas regarding the awesomeness of agreements as a replacement for a legal and political system, and write about them there. Lawdroid (talk) 21:33, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
To respond to the first observation, you're right that agreements can exist prior to anything. You just need two or more people. Contracts, however, are enforceable agreements. And it probably makes sense to call an enforcer a some kind government (in a loose or a strong sense). I'd suggest that your observations are the ones that are "patently false". It's not your fault though, you probably just haven't really thought about it much. In any case, if I were you, I wouldn't be so certain about anything. Wikidea 02:58, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Please read the entire line of discussion. My point has been qualified. In the UK (where you are from) contract means government enforced[8][9]. In America (where I am from) a contract means an agreement that is in principle enforceable, and usually by the government (and it is understood that contracts exist outside government enforcement) [10],[11], [12], [13]. I would think this notion of contract has flowed back to the UK from US movies and stories in the form of the hitman's contract, which is considered enforceable but not legal. Though, a contract does have a strict legal meaning in the US. Mrdthree (talk) 10:01, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

MRDTHREE has it wrong. The hitman does not have a "contract" in the sense under discussion in this article. In law, the hitman has a conspiracy. Which reminds me that the definition of contract in the text is incomplete. It does not include the requirement of lawful object. An agreement to perform an unlawful act offends public policy and for that reason is not a contract, because the courts will not enforce it. No enforcement, no contract, that's the law. And this is true on both sides of the pond. (I practice in both New York and the Courts of England and Wales, and the definition of contract is the same in both places.) MRDTHREE is making stuff up as he goes and really has nothing important to share with us. What Lawdroid says is important, and I listen to his words. What MRDTHREE says is unimportant, and I do not hear his words. <Credit to D.C. Fontana as author of the script for the "Friday's Child" episode of Star Trek TOS>Cybersharque (talk) 20:03, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I am sad Cybersharque :( I think what you say is important because it is clear, mature and well argued. I even think what Lawdroid says is important. But I am confused because I also think that dictionaries are important for resolving common meaning. Dont you think citations and references can be important for a wikipedia article? I attached some links to some online dictionaries above. These 'links' look alot like footnotes, but you can click on them and they will take you to a new webpage-- check it out!Mrdthree (talk) 20:48, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
I think we've reached a good place with the article. It's now clear what it is about, particularly for Americans. Lawdroid (talk) 19:38, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
This is an article on Wikipedia, not Wikitionary! The most common concept referred to by the word "contract" is clearly contract in the legal sense, not contract theory. (Most people don't understand contract theory in the philosophical sense very well.) On this point I disagree with Mrdthree and agree with Cybersharque. --Coolcaesar (talk) 10:06, 3 August 2009 (UTC)


This article has some serious structural biases. The jurisdiction appears to be the UK, since the bulk of the cases cited are British. Unusually, even the U.S. perspective appears to be underrepresented. Discussions of non-Anglophone common law jurisdictions (e.g., India) are almost entirely absent. The same goes for the civil law and other legal systems, which are barely mentioned. Accordingly, I've added a globalize template and will add this article to the open tasks list for WP:BIAS.

I am also concerned about the bias of the structure of the article, which is organized based on concepts from the common law of contracts, which may not apply in other legal systems. As a result, it may be very difficult to incorporate other legal systems' perspectives into the article. I am not sure what to do about this, short of a complete rewrite of the article (which I am not inclined to do and I doubt anyone else is either). Elliotreed (talk) 04:49, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I concur with all of those points. The problem is that only a small number of attorneys have enough experience in comparative contract law to write this article properly, but they are in such high demand (because of their exceptional linguistic and legal skills) that they are too busy working for the paying clientele to donate their time and energy to Wikipedia! --Coolcaesar (talk) 08:24, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Probably the only way we could do this would be to convene a taskforce or project specifically about contract. Lawdroid (talk) 01:41, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

The public contracts[edit]

The public contracts are the referring to the territorial contractation, about public employ. The big, old and new economy, are alone, with the territorial or decentrated contracts. There are the ceremonies about the working syndacates, because are the wealth of information on

the rate of increase and economic development, so as the crisis. The crisis is despised  by social organizations, that  provide the annual document on anti disoccupation and anti recession

intervents and deliveries. Suddenly, the sectors are informed on strategy, and the collective contracts are conduced by a form of assistentialism, named "welfare". Welfare is the social - previdence, that laugh about the development-centres , which are expensive in questioning on the reddit -surface, and on the credit as a lay. The public agreement on contracts is named "signature of the collective contract" ; the contract "was signed by the representants of Policy and Syndacates": this action is the past conclusion of accord on importance and public decor. Is the allusion of the time that make the idea of the public job. The public job, is founded on the right to carrier, and on the concourse. Is a time-work,because the clock, is observed on type of share, remainding to the collectives's. The contract is signed by the parts on accord by two persons. So, the amministrative right is respected by the form based on assumption on work, and of the previdential practices, that carry on the occupational economy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:19, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

"history of contracts"[edit]

I recommend that we change the layout to a more wiki style. That being, etymology of the term, the history of the term, and regional varieties. If we can start with the etymology and history of contracts. Faro0485 (talk) 20:50, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

What is a contract[edit]

In law, a contract is an agreement between two or more parties, that if it contains the elements of a valid legal agreement is enforceable by law[1] or by binding arbitration. That is to say, a contract is an exchange of promises with a specific remedy for breach.

If it doesn't "contain the elements of a valid legal agreement", it isn't a contract.

And a contract doesn't have to contain a remedy for breach - it can, but it doesn't have to. Quite possible for the remedy to be worked out elsewhere.

Exchange of promises is sufficient (specifically, offer and acceptance is sufficient, at least under Australian law).

Regards, Ben Aveling 01:43, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Vitiating factors tend to negate contract formation, not evidence it[edit]

The presence of 'vitiating factors' are not a requirement for contract formation, but are instead defenses to contract formation. Error corrected and new section, "Defenses to contract formation", added. (talk) 22:50, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Definition of mulla,"Every agreements or promise enforceble by law is a contract" aded by narpat singh rathore — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:08, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

National contract law[edit]

The section on "National contract law" contains nothing but several links to different articles, each under its own sub-heading. This seems unsightly and unhelpful. Should it be kept this way or reformed? One solution would be to do away with the "National contract law" section and place these links in the "See also" section, perhaps under their own sub-heading. Another solution would be to expand on each sub-section. Bunburya (talk) 18:47, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Mental incompetence (infancy doctrine)[edit]

I'm surprised there is no mention of mental incompetence or infancy in this article as either an affirmative defense or its own cause of action to void a contract. Can anyone give me a reason why it is presently absent or should not be included?Vercillo (talk) 20:38, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Silence on "Delivery"??[edit]

Is not "delivery" an essential part of a legal contract? ("signed, sealed & delivered"). The word does not feature even once in the article, which is surely a major omission. It should also merit a separate article named "Delivery (contract law)" which is listed on the disambiguation page Delivery. (Lobsterthermidor (talk) 11:48, 6 February 2011 (UTC))

The law of course would vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but certainly in commonwealth countries, the answer is simply "No". Delivery is a technical issue relating only to deeds. Lawdroid (talk) 15:23, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
That's right. I doubt any legal system requires anything like "delivery" to form an enforceable contract. Francis Davey (talk) 20:55, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Copyright violation by law office[edit]

I happened upon an unacknowledged and unlicensed copy of this article being used by a law firm. The URL is [14], and it's a verbatim copy of the Wikipedia article Contract circa 2010-10-24. The law firm doesn't mention Wikipedia and claims the content as their own, although they did see fit to keep the wikilinks. An author of this article may wish to send notice to the offending law firm; see Wikipedia:Mirrors_and_forks for further information. --Amble (talk) 18:00, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Not a copyright violation - see the license we all consent to when we edit. It can't be a very impressive law firm though. DeCausa (talk) 22:07, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
Entirely incorrect. The license we agree to includes certain requirements, such as attribution. The law firm has made no attempt to comply with the license, and is instead passing off Wikipedia text as its own work (including a false copyright notice). That's a straightforward copyright violation. As a lawyer, surely you should already know this? --Amble (talk) 04:01, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

What kind of contract I am going to sign?[edit]

I am an international salesman, I don't know what kind of contract I am going to sign? (talk) 01:04, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

A Possible reference to Contract[edit]

...My original search was Encouragement. I found National Day of Encouragement. I then searched alone Courage. Before my initial searchings while reviewing President Harding I noticed the representation of Encouragement influencing his campaign towards the presidency. I then thought of this term Promise. I am now to place these three terms about my web site It will be based on the nation having a contract and a certain breach, which is established through the economics of society. Being that society is in a contract which affiliates the representation of said "Contract and its definition, which here at wikipedia may define an original contract within a country, perhaps a declaration and or type of constitutionDavid George DeLancey (talk) 16:45, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Misconception that contract means recurring payments[edit]

I think we should add a short note in the introduction saying something such as "There is a widespread belief that a contract has to involve repeated payments, but this is incorrect. Even a single exchange of money for a service or product is regarded by the law as by definition involving a contract. Thus in law a so-called "no contract" pay-as-you-go purchase of a mobile phone in which a customer is free to top up his mobile phone only when he chooses to is in fact just as much a contract as an agreement to pay a monthly sum for it." The article doesn't seem to mention this misconception (at any rate it does not include the expressions "no contract", "pay-as-you-go", "recurr" and "repeat"), and yet a simple web search for the phrase "no contract" will show how pervasive it is. In the telecommunications world it is now a well-established norm to present one's services in the two contrasting forms of "contract" and "pay-as-you-go" and to describe the latter as "no contract". It is bizarre to find lawyers writing legal explanations of "contracts" without even a passing reference to the fact that so many people, including high-profile companies, use the term wrongly. Given how widespread the misconception is, therefore, I propose to insert a sentence or two explaining this in the introduction. I think I will wait until 23rd November 2012 to give people time to respond. What do people think? UBJ 43X (talk) 02:12, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

I don't think this reflects a misconception to that effect at all. It's just a term of art in telecoms sales. Lawdroid (talk) 20:10, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Excessive and improper use of Bold in first two lede sentence[edit]

There are several words in bold-face in the first sentence of the lede, however, only two of these could qualify for proper use of bold-face in Wikipedia articles ("contract" and "agreement"). The 10 other uses of bold-face violates the Wikipedia Manual of Style. See MOS:BOLD and MOS:BOLDTITLE for details on how bold-face should be used. The words and phrases currently in bold-face which should not be in bold-face (ten of the twelve, currently) should be fixed. I will not do it myself — at this particular moment — in case someone wishes to give an argument against my above assertions, but I may do so in the future if someone has not done so by then. — al-Shimoni (talk) 01:21, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done - Case called, defendants failed to appear, motion for default judgment entered sua sponte, judgment granted, and execution had. Mostly. Face-wink.svg RiverStyx23{submarinetarget} 13:51, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Writing Requirement Recently Removed from Lead Sentence[edit]

As I was studying the recent diff showing reversion of the addition of an "in writing" requirement to the lead sentence, I was tempted to put it back in, with a clarification about enforceability. I then saw that the article already covered this. For the person who edited in good faith to add that requirement, keep in mind that a lead sentence is supposed to summarize, as best it can, the article's "bottom line." While it is absolutely true that some some contracts must be in writing to be enforceable, it is not true that any contract must be in writing per se, nor is a reference to the writing requirement necessary to the overall definition of contract as such. This is why the edit was reverted. RiverStyx23{submarinetarget} 13:42, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

"Hadley v. Baxendale "[edit]

The section on damages says: "Hadley v. Baxendale establishes general and consequential damages." This isn't true. I will amend the HvB reference, and leave the other stuff intact. Arrivisto (talk) 18:40, 22 December 2013 (UTC)