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Free Online Business Documents & Templates

This free contract forms package includes blank templates of various contracts and commercial agreements such as non compete contracts, business consultant and employment agreements.

In common law, there are five key requirements for the creation of a contract. These are offer and acceptance (agreement), consideration, an intention to create legal relations, capacity and Formalities. In civil law systems, the concept of consideration is not central. In addition, for some contracts formalities must be complied with under what is sometimes called a statute of frauds.

Offer and acceptance:

The most important feature of a contract is that one party makes an Offer and Acceptance offer for a arrangement that another accepts. This can be called a 'concurrence of wills' or a 'meeting of the minds' of two or more parties. There must be evidence that the parties had each from an objective perspective engaged in conduct manifesting their assent, and a contract will be formed when the parties have met such a requirement.An objective perspective means that it is only necessary that somebody gives the impression of offering or accepting contractual terms in the eyes of a reasonable person, not that they actually did want to form a contract.

Consideration and estoppel:

Consideration is a controversial requirement for contracts under common law. It is not necessary in all civil law systems,and for that reason has come under increasing criticism. The idea is that both parties to a contract must bring something to the bargain (for example, money). This can be either conferring an advantage on the other party, or incurring some kind of detriment or inconvenience towards oneself. Three rules govern consideration.

*Consideration must be sufficient, but need not be adequate. For instance, agreeing to buy a car for a penny may constitute a binding contract. While consideration need not be adequate, contracts in which the consideration of one party greatly exceeds that of another may nevertheless be held invalid for lack of sufficient consideration. In such cases, the fact that the consideration is exceedingly inadequate can be evidence that there was no consideration at all. Such contracts may also be held invalid for other reasons such as fraud, duress, unequal bargaining power, or being contrary to public policy. In some situations, a collateral contract may exist, whereby the existence of one contract provides consideration for another. Critics say consideration can be so small as to make the requirement of any consideration meaningless.

*Consideration must not be from the past. For instance, in ''Eastwood v. Kenyon'', the guardian of a young girl obtained a loan to educate the girl and to improve her marriage prospects. After her marriage, her husband promised to pay off the loan. It was held that the guardian could not enforce the promise because taking out the loan to raise and educate the girl was past consideration--it was completed before the husband promised to repay it.

*Consideration must move from the promisee. For instance, it is good consideration for person A to pay person C in return for services rendered by person B. If there are joint promisees, thenconsideration need only to move from one of the promisees.

Civil law (legal system) systems take the approach that an exchange of promises, or a concurrence of wills alone, rather than an exchange in valuable rights is the correct basis. So if you promised to give me a book, and I accepted your offer without giving anything in return, I would have a legal right to the book and you could not change your mind about giving me it as a gift. However, in common law systems the concept of ''culpa in contrahendo'', a form of 'estoppel', is increasingly used to create obligations during pre-contractual negotiations.


      This web site is designed to give you general information. The information on this web site is in no way intended to be legal advice. Legal advice can only be obtained by a licensed attorney who has the appropriate legal skills and knowledge related to your specific circumstances.

    User Feedback

    K. Kline - I downloaded your online bill of sale forms kit because I was selling some property of mine to a friend. He needed to get a receipt for his purchase and I was able to customize my bill of sale document to meet both of our needs.

    T. Little - I used the free bill of sale document template available online from to create my own custom bill of sale form. I use this document every time I need to print a bill of sale document.


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