Essentials of a valid contract

An offer has been defined as unequivocal manifestation by a party of its intention to contract with another party. It is clear intimation of intention to contract. The party that
manifests the intention to contract is the offeror and the party to whom it is made is the offeree. An offer must be clear and definite and must be communicated to the offeree. May be general or specific (Carlills case).

This is the external manifestation of assent by the offeree. It may be express or implied from the conduct of the offeree. In strict legal sense acceptance takes place when the
offeree mentally accepts the offer as that is when the minds for the parties meet. Acceptance of an offer creates an agreement between the parties.

This is the legal ability of a party to enter into a contractual relationship. As a general rule, every person has capacity to enter into any contract. However, the law of contracts restricts or limits the contractual capacity of certain categories of persons such as infants or minors, drunken persons, persons of unsound mind, corporation and undischarged bankruptes.

An agreement must be characterized by an intention in the part of the parties to create a contract. Both parties must have intended to create a legally binding agreement. This is
because an agreement is unenforceable unless the parties to it so intended hence intention is one of the elements of a contract. Whether or not parties intended to create a legally binding agreement is a question of fact.

The purpose for which an agreement is entered into must be lawful. A contract to promote an unlawful purpose is unenforceable.

At common law, a simple contract is unenforceable unless supported by some consideration. Consideration is one of the basic elements of a contract. It is the bargain element of the contract. It is nothing but mutuality. It is an act or promise offered by one party and accepted by the other as the price for that others promise.


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