What are the types of contract available? This is something you need to know if you are planning to enter into a contractual agreement with another individual or business entity. A contract refers to a legally binding promise. A contract is legally enforceable and outlines the rights and obligations of each contracting party.

What Is a Contract?

A contract protects the interests of the parties involved and helps prevent misunderstandings or disputes in the future. Contracts can vary significantly depending on the type of transaction to be performed. Knowing which type of contract is most appropriate for a certain transaction can eliminate any unnecessary hassle and protect your rights more effectively.

Contracts are essential to society because they facilitate trust and cooperation. Instead of depending on the hope of reciprocity or fear of reprisal to get others to fulfill their obligations, people can more effectively enlist others to pursue common purposes by inviting them to enter into contracts backed by unbiased authority.

Without contracts and institutions that support contracts, promises will be more vulnerable to misunderstanding, ill will, forgetfulness, and other human flaws. Contracts enable people who have never met to enter into agreements, such as borrowing or lending money to purchase a home, that they would never otherwise consider making without legal assurance.

What Are the Types of Contract?

According to contract law, there are four types of contracts:

  • Contracts on the basis of formation.
  • Contracts on the basis of the nature of consideration.
  • Contracts on the basis of execution.
  • Contracts on the basis of validity.

Contracts on the Basis of Formation

Contracts on the basis of formation are divided into three groups:

  • Express contracts — Contracts that involve expression or conversation. For instance, A has offered to sell his home, and B has accepted the offer, so it is regarded as an express contract.
  • Implied contracts — Contracts formed without any expression. For example, sitting on a bus is an implied contract between the owner of the bus and the passengers.
  • Quasi-contracts — Contracts that do not have an offer and acceptance, so contractual relations do not exist between the parties involved. A contract that is formed by virtue of law is known as a quasi-contract.

Contracts on the Basis of the Nature of Consideration

There are two types of contracts on the basis of the nature of consideration:

Contracts on the Basis of Execution

Contracts on the basis of execution are classified into two groups:

  • Executed contracts — Contracts wherein performance is already completed.
  • Executory contracts — Contracts in which contractual responsibilities are to be completed in the future.

Contracts on the Basis of Validity

Contracts on the basis of validity come in five different forms:

  • Valid contracts — Contracts that are enforceable in courts of law. For a contract to be valid, it must have features such as certainty, free consent, consensus ad idem, two-directional consideration, completion of legal formalities, lawful object, legal obligations, possibility of performance, and capacity of parties.
  • Void contracts — Contracts that are not enforceable in courts of law.
  • Voidable contracts — Contracts that are deficient in free consent, meaning they are formed under certain pressure, which can be physical or mental. For instance, A and B enter into a contract after B forcibly made A sign the contract, and therefore, A has the option to void the contract.
  • Unenforceable contracts — Contracts that are formed without properly fulfilling legal formalities, meaning they suffer from one or more technical defects, such as an insufficient stamp.
  • Illegal contracts — Contracts that are made with unlawful object.

Examples of legal contracts for companies and startups include:

  • Co-founders' agreements.
  • Shareholders' agreements.
  • Employment contracts.
  • Franchise agreements.
  • Vendors' agreements.
  • Service and legal agreements.
  • Rental agreements.
  • Partnership deed drafting.

What Is Promissory Estoppel?

According to the theory of promissory estoppel, one party can count on another party to fulfill his or her promise without the existence of a formal or implied contract. The promise can be evoked when granting the promisor freedom from liability due to a lack of consideration or another contractual element that will result in injustice.

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