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Encyclopedia > Consideration

Consideration is something that is done or promised in return for a contractual promise. For example, in a promise between A and B for the sale of A's car to B, B's payment of the price of the car (or promise to do so) is the consideration for A's promise. Consideration is a central concept in the common law of contracts. Under classical contract theory, consideration is required for a contract to be enforceable. Service contracts, and other contracts not governed by the Uniform Commercial Code, generally require consideration for a contract modification to be binding on the parties, because of the preexisting duty rule. Consideration is what must be given up by each party when making an agreement; this may be by means of doing or not doing an act or just promising to do or not do an act. Consideration can be definded as being a benefit to one party while being a detriment to the other one at the same time. This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... A contract is a promise or an agreement made of a set of promises. ... Contract theory comprises many different theories and various interpretations of the various body of rules and subrules that define Contract Law. ... The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is one of the uniform acts that has been promulgated in attempts to harmonize the law of sales and other commercial transactions in the fifty state in the United States of America. ... This article needs more context around or a better explanation of technical details to make it more accessible to general readers and technical readers outside the specialty, without removing technical details. ...


Elements of consideration

In order to meet consideration's requirements, a contract must fulfill three elements. First, there must be a bargain regarding terms of an exchange. Second, there must be a mutual exchange. In other words, both parties must get something out of the contract. Third, the exchange must be something of value.


An example of this is the renting of an apartment. The landlord and tenant come together to discuss the terms of the exchange (most of the time, the leasing is outlined in a contract). Thus, they have fulfilled the first requirement of consideration. To meet the second element, there must be a mutual exchange. In this case, the landlord provides housing, while the tenant provides rent payment. Third, the bargain terms must be of value. The apartment is worth what the tenant hands over each month. Therefore, this contract has met its consideration requirement, because it fits all elements of consideration. This article or section should include material from Tenancy agreement A lease is a contract conveying from one person (the lessor) to another person (the lessee) the right to use and control some article of property for a specified period of time (the term), without conveying ownership, in exchange for... A contract is a promise or an agreement made of a set of promises. ...


Defenses

Modern contract theory has also permitted remedies on alternate theories such as promissory estoppel. Estoppel is an equitable doctrine proposing that any person who asks the courts to enforce a legal remedy should have a clear conscience. ...


Promissory estoppel or, doctrine of detrimental reliance, is only able to be applied when: 1. The promisor's promise lacks consideration. 2. The promisor expects the promisee will rely only on that promise. 3. The promisee does rely on the promise and 4. Injustice can only be avioded by enforcing what was promised.


Consideration theories

There are two common theories that attempt to explain consideration. The first is the "benefit-detriment theory", in which a contract must be either to the benefit of the promisor or to the detriment of the promisee to constitute consideration. The second is the "bargain theory", in which the parties subjectively view the contract to be the product of an exchange or bargain. The bargain theory has largely replaced the benefit-detriment theory in modern contract theory, but judges often cite both and unknowingly confuse the two models in their decisions. These theories usually overlap; in standard contracts, such as a contract to buy a car, there will be both an objective benefit and detriment (the buyer experiences a benefit by acquiring the car; the seller experienced a detriment by losing a car) and the subjective experience of entering into a bargain. However, there are certain contracts which satisfy one but not the other. For instance, a deal in which the promisee feels subjectively relieved, but hasn't actually gained any legal rights, might satisfy the bargain theory but not the benefit-detriment theory. Alternately, a deal in which an actor takes detrimental actions possibly in reaction to an offer, without having viewed the deal as a bargain, wouldn't be viewed as a contract under the law.


The main purpose of the shift from benefit-detriment to bargain theory is to reconcile consideration theory with other aspects of contract theory. For instance, courts will not inquire as to the adequacy of consideration. If someone honestly dislikes their car and wants to sell it for fifty dollars, the law will not consider this an invalid deal. In some jurisdictions, contracts calling for such nominal or "peppercorn" consideration will be upheld unless a particular contract is deemed unconscionable. However, in other jurisdictions, the court will reject "consideration" that was not truly bargained for. Occasionally the courts in these jurisdictions may refer to "adequate" or "valuable" consideration, but in reality the court is not examining the adequacy of consideration, but whether or not it was bargained for. The traditional notion that courts won't look into the adequacy of consideration, an ancient notion in the English common law, doesn't square with the benefit-detriment theory (in which courts are implicitly analyzing if the parties are receiving a sufficient benefit) but does square with the bargain theory (in which only the subjective intentions of the parties are considered). In legal terminology, a peppercorn is a very small payment, used to satisfy the requirements for the creation of a legal contract. ... An unconscionable transaction is a contract that is unenforceable because the consideration offered is lacking or is so obviously inadequate that to enforce the contract would be unfair to the party seeking to escape the contract. ...


For example, in Fischer v. Union Trust Co., 101 N.W. 852, the court held that $1.00 paid in exchange for the sale of real property within the city of Detroit in 1902 was not "bargained for" by the seller, and thus the transaction was void. The point was NOT that the amount of money involved was too small to be adequate consideration, but that the seller did not convey the property in exchange for the buyer's promise to pay $1.00. There was no consideration, not because $1.00 was too small an amount to "count", but because the $1.00 offered to the seller by the buyer did not induce the seller to part with the property.


There are three main purposes cited for the consideration requirement. The first is the cautionary requirement - parties are more likely to look before they leap when making a bargain than when making an off-the-cuff promise of a gift. The second is the evidentiary requirement - parties are more likely to commemorate, or at least remember, a promise made due to a bargaining process. The third is the channeling requirement - parties are more likely to coherently stipulate their specific desires when they are forced to bargain for them. Each of these rationales ensure that contracts are made by serious parties and are not made in error.


Certain other stipulations regarding consideration include the following:

  • Past consideration is not valid. Something that is already done is done, and it does not change the legal position of the promisor. Any goods or services to be exchanged must be exchanged at or after the time of contract formation. However, a promise to pay a pre-existing debt or obligation is indeed enforceable.
  • An illusory promise, or one which the promisor actually has no obligation to keep, does not count as consideration. The promise must be real and unconditional. This doctrine rarely invalidates contracts; it is a fundamental doctrine in contract law that courts should try to enforce contracts whenever possible. Accordingly, courts will often read implied-in-fact or implied-in-law terms into the contract, placing duties on the promisor. For instance, if a promisor promises to give away a third of his earnings for the year, he has no actual obligation to do anything; if he earns nothing.
This article needs more context around or a better explanation of technical details to make it more accessible to general readers and technical readers outside the specialty, without removing technical details. ... In contract law, an illusory promise is one that courts will not enforce. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
"Consideration" Defined (478 words)
A consideration of some sort or other is so absolutely necessary to the forming a good contract that a nudum pactum, or an agreement to do or to pay any thing on one side without any compensation to the other, is totally void in law, and a man cannot be compelled to perform it.
The consideration must be some benefit to the party by whom the promise is made, or to a third person at his instance; or some detriment sustained at the instance of the party promising by the party in whose favor the promise is made.
Considerations are good when they are for natural love and affection; or valuable when some benefit arises to the party to whom they are made, or inconvenience to the party making them.
Consideration - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1103 words)
Consideration is a central concept in the common law of contracts.
Consideration is what must be given up by each party when making an agreement; this may be by means of doing or not doing an act or just promising to do or not do an act.
Consideration can be definded as being a benefit to one party while being a detriment to the other one at the same time.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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