Agreement law governs oral and written contracts that establish legal rights as well as duties among two or more parties. They mutually agree to do or not do something based on specific agreed-upon terms and conditions.

What Is an Agreement?

Although every contract is an agreement, it is not necessarily a contract as it may not include a required contract element such as consideration. Agreements can be either written or oral provided they establish certain terms by which both parties agree to abide. Both individuals must be legally competent and intend to enter the relationship established by the agreement. An agreement can also be implied based on parties' actions in trade and business.

Types of Agreements

Conditional agreements hinge upon a contingent occurrence, the performance of a specific action, or the existence of specific conditions.

Executed agreements are closed immediately and do not require further action; they may reference past events.

Executory agreements will be completed at a later date. They usually precede more formal deeds or contracts and often evidenced by memos or promises.

Express agreements specifically state all terms and conditions and are signed by all parties at the time they are created.

In addition to these four main categories, common types of agreements include:

  • An agreement to agree, in which two or more parties agree to enter a future contract with terms and conditions that are yet to be determined. This type of agreement is not legally binding.
  • A binding agreement is legally enforceable.
  • A collective bargaining agreement is made between an employer and a union about working conditions such as hours and wages. The union representative is chosen by a majority of the union workers.
  • A divorce agreement establishes the conditions of property distribution, spousal and child support, and child custody when a marriage ends.
  • A gentlemen's agreement hinges on honor or friendship with no intent on behalf of the parties to create a legal contract. This could involve illegal activities such as gambling.
  • A postnuptial agreement is made during a marriage and establishes the division of property and right to support in the case of divorce or death. Legal enforceability of this type of agreement requires both parties to completely disclose their assets and have an independent attorney. Even when this occurs this type of agreement may not be enforceable.
  • A prenuptial agreement is like a postnuptial agreement but is made before the marriage and is usually enforceable, especially if each party has fully disclosed assets and has his or her own attorney.
  • A simple agreement can be legally enforced as long as evidence exists that both parties consented to an agreement.
  • An unconscionable agreement is also called an adhesion contract.

Foreign Phrases in Agreement Law

These are the definitions of common foreign phrases in agreement law:

  • Contractus ex turpicausa, vel contra bonds: Contracts that go against established social morals are void. This concept is sometimes called pacta quae contra leges constitutionesque, vel contra bonos mores fiunt, nullam vim habere, indubitati juris est.
  • Contractuslegem ex conbentioneaccipiun: Contract law arises from the parties' agreement.
  • Ex pactoillicitononorituractio: An agreement to do something illegal cannot be legally enforced.
  • Ex maleficiononoriturcontractus: Contracts cannot be created from illegal actions.
  • Nudumpactum est ubinullasubestcausapraeterconventionem; sedubisubestcausa, fit obligatio, et paritactionem: A contract in which agreement is the only consideration, if consideration exists, action becomes required. This is also called a naked contract.
  • Ea quaedariimpossibiliasunt, vel quae in rerumnaturanonsunt, pro non adjectishabentur: Items that do not exist or cannot be transferred may not be included into a contract.
  • Conventiofacitlegem: Parties must legally adhere to contractual promises.
  • Ex nudopactononorituractio: Contracts without consideration do not create action.
  • In contrahendavenditione, ambiguumpactumcontravenditoreminterpretandum: When an agreement is ambiguous, it will be interpreted in favor of the buyer.
  • In conventionibus, contrahentiumvollntaspotiusquamverbaspectariplacuit: Contract law hinges on the parties' intentions rather than specific wording.
  • Pactaquaeturpemcausam continent nonsuntobservanda: Contracts with illegal consideration are void.
  • Nudapactioobligationemnon parit: Binding obligations are not impacted by the existence of a naked agreement.
  • Privatispactionibusnon dubium est non laedi jus caeterorum: Rights of third parties cannot be prejudiced by private contracts.
  • Pacta conventa quae neque contra leges neque dolo malo inita sunt omni modo obserranda sunt: If an agreement is not illegal or fraudulent, it must be honored.

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