A contract is an agreement between two or more persons.

Essay by maz187 January 2004

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A contract is an agreement between two or more persons (individuals, businesses, organizations or government agencies) to do, or to refrain from doing, a particular thing in exchange for something in value. Contracts generally can be written, using formal or informal terms, or entirely verbal. Contracts are governed by ``general principals`` and are usually derived from the common law (or judge-made law). However on the other hand, Professor Atiyah (1968b) argues that, ``there are no such things as a typical contract at all``. It was argues that ``contracts`` are a discrete, two-party, commercial, executory exchange, but notes that contracts can be found which depart from each feature of this classic model. Furthermore, Atiyah perceived the law of contract as a set of power-conferring rules that enable parties to enter into agreements of their own choise on their own agreed terms. The dominant ideology is that contractual parties should be as free as possible to make agreements on their own terms without the interference of the courts by way of statute and their agreements should be respected and upheld and enforced by the courts.

However, Atiyah`s theory on the basis of the law of contract has been largely discredited. This is due to the fact that doctrines such as illegality cannot be ascribed to the will of the parties, nor can statutes such as the ``Unfair Contract Terms Act`1977``(UCTA 1977).

Furthermore, a contractual agreement can only be derived through three key elements, competent parties, consideration and mutual assent. For a contract to be void, each side must have the capacity to enter into it. Most people and companies have sufficient legal competency. A drugged or mentally- impaired person has impaired capacity and chances are a court may not hold that person to the contract. Minors (e.g., usually those under...