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What is a Contract?

Under common law, a contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties that creates certain obligations. The elements of a contract are offer and acceptance, consideration, intention to create legal relations and certainty of terms. For a contract to be formed, the parties must have an intention to create legal relations; in other words, they must have an intention to be legally bound by the terms of the contract. A written document typically evidences a contract but can also be oral or implicit in the parties' actions.

Once a contract is formed, all parties involved are legally bound by its terms and conditions. This means they must perform their obligations under the contract or face legal consequences. For example, if a person enters into an agreement to buy a car from a dealer for a stipulated amount and then fails to pay for it, the dealer can sue the first party for breach of contract.

Breach of contract is a legal term that refers to the violation of one or more terms of a contract by one of the parties to the contract. When this occurs, the non-breaching party may sue the breaching party for damages. Damages are typically awarded in the form of an amount that will put the non-breaching party in the position they would have been in if the contract had been performed as agreed. In some cases, damages may be awarded, limited or even denied altogether, depending on the specific facts and circumstances of each case and any relevant contractual provisions.

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