Agreements Enforceable without Consideration

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Agreements Enforceable without Consideration

Agreements Enforceable Without Consideration: A Brief Overview

Contracts are an essential part of modern business transactions. They serve as a legal tool to ensure that parties honor their promises and obligations. In general, a contract requires that each party gives something of value to the other, known as «consideration.» This could be goods, services, or money. Without consideration, a contract may be deemed unenforceable. However, in certain circumstances, agreements without consideration may be legally binding. In this article, we will explore the concept of agreements enforceable without consideration.

What Is Consideration?

Consideration is the «something of value» that each party brings to the table when entering into a contract. It is a critical element of a contract, as it ensures that both parties benefit from the agreement. For example, when someone pays for an item, they receive the item in return. The seller, in turn, receives money as consideration for the item they sold. Consideration can also be a promise to perform a certain task or refrain from doing something.

Agreements Without Consideration

The basic rule of contract law is that an agreement without consideration is unenforceable. In other words, both parties must provide something of value to be bound by the contract. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. One of these exceptions is known as «promissory estoppel.»

Promissory Estoppel

Promissory estoppel is a legal doctrine that allows for the enforcement of a promise even if there is no consideration involved. The basic idea is that if one party makes a promise to another, and the other party relies on that promise to their detriment, the party who made the promise cannot renege on it. Promissory estoppel is often invoked in cases where a party relies on a promise to their detriment, and enforcing the promise is necessary to prevent an injustice.

For example, if a company promises an employee a bonus if they meet certain performance metrics, but the company does not deliver on that promise, the employee may be able to sue for breach of contract. Even though there was no formal contract, the promise was made and relied upon to the employee`s detriment.


While the general rule is that contracts require consideration to be enforceable, there are exceptions to this rule. Promissory estoppel is one such exception that can allow for the enforcement of promises made without consideration. It is essential to consider these exceptions when drafting and interpreting contracts to ensure that they are legally binding and enforceable. If you have questions about agreements without consideration, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney.

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