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Elements of a Contract. Overview of the Essential Elements


A contract is an agreement between two parties bound by the law. To form a contract, both parties should be in a position to enter into a contract i.e. by law, and must be willing to enter into a legal relationship. In addition, the purpose, as well as the form of the contract, must be lawful or rather legal. There are elements that a contract should incorporate to make the agreement valid and legal as explored in this paper.

A general overview of the essential elements of a contract

Six elements constitute any form of a contract. According to Greig and Davis (1987), these include the concept of offer, acceptance, and consideration (p.12). The others include the capacity of the parties to contract, the object of the contract as well as the intent of the parties to contract. The capacity of the parties to contract is essential because there are some groups of people, who according to the law are illegible. These include persons with mental impairment, minors, and prisoners among others. The object of the contract should not violate the laws of the state. For instance, contracts based on issues that involve prostitution, drug abuse as well as gambling are referred to as illegal thus are not allowed in many states. Both parties should enter into a contract based on their free will or rather a mutual agreement between them. This brings in the element of the intent of the parties to contract. There should be no external influence on the parties whatsoever. The concepts of offer, acceptance, and consideration are the basic elements of a contract as outlined below.

The basic elements of a contract

The concepts of offer and acceptance constitute the platform of all the other elements of a contract. The person who comes with an offer should be prepared to enter into a contract based on the terms and conditions that s/he has set (Baker, 2002, p.12). The offer is an absolute promise that s/he is allowing the law to bind him/her if the second party accepts the terms of the offer. The person providing the offer should give a clear period within which willing parties should respond. It is important to mention that one can withdraw the offer before a potential party accepts it.

The concept of acceptance mainly concerns the second party involved in a contract. Acceptance occurs when the person (s) answering the offer agrees to the offer. This can be in the form of a written statement/act or verbally. It is also important to mention that the party accepting the offer should communicate clearly and should not try to alter the terms governing the contract (Ollek, 2010). Fundamentally, the interested party accepts the offer before it expires. This is because once the term expires; the offer is not renewable unless the person making it gives his/her consent.

In every contact, every party receives something of worth/valuable. This brings in the concept of consideration, which could be in form of interest, detriment, benefit, the responsibility given, and money among other forms. These forms of payment should be possible to perform and legal (Wehberg, 1959, p.775). However, there are exceptions to this; in that, documents under seal i.e. deeds do not require consideration.


The elements of contracts help to maintain the legality of agreements bound by the law. They help to ensure that all parties involved in a contract achieve justice especially when a contract does not proceed as planned. It is therefore important for anyone who gets into a contract to embrace these essential elements.

Reference List

Baker, A. (2002). Gilmore and the Strange Case of the Failure of a Contract to Die After All. Journal of Contract Law, 18(1), 10-15.

Greig, W., & Davis, R. (1987). The Law of Contract. Sydney: The Law Book Company Limited.

Ollek, S. (2010). Essentials of a Contract. E-Law. Web.

Wehberg, H. (1959). Pacta Sunt Servand. The American Journal of International law, 53(4), 770-778.