What is a contract?

We explain what a contract is and the types of contract that can be made. In addition, its parts and its difference with an agreement.

  1. What is a contract?

A contract is called  a legal document that expresses a common agreement between two or more characters trained for it (known as the parties to the contract), which are bound by virtue of this document towards a certain purpose or thing, whose fulfillment must be given in a manner always bilateral, or otherwise the contract will be deemed broken and invalid.

In other words, a contract is a covenant of obligations and rights between two people (legal and / or natural) who agree to respect the terms agreed in writing, and submit to the laws of the country to resolve any dispute arising around the terms of the agreement In each country or region of the world there are different requirements for the elaboration of a contract, but its essence is always more or less the same.

The contracts are an inheritance of the legal system of the Roman Empire , in whose right the convent  (agreement) was contemplated  , which included two ways of manifesting itself: the  pactum  when there was no name or cause, and the  contratus  when there were them. The latter were typified and nominated in Roman Law and are the predecessors of our current documents.

  1. Types of contract

Nominated or typical contracts are those provided for and regulated by law.

Contracts can be classified into:

  • Unilateral and bilateral . The contracts will be unilateral when only one of the parties involved is the one that acquires the obligations, while in the bilateral both parties acquire obligations of reciprocal compliance.
  • Onerous and free . Onerous contracts are those in which there are reciprocal levies and benefits between the parties, and at the same time both undertake a certain quota of sacrifice, as in the case of purchase-sales. The free ones, on the other hand, provide the benefit for only one of the parties, leaving the other obligations, as in the bailment contracts.
  • Commutative and random . This classification applies only to bilateral contracts, since the commutative are those in which the benefits committed by the parties are true since the legal act is celebrated, as in the sale of a property. In the random ones, however, the benefit will depend on some future or fortuitous event, such as wills.
  • Main and accessories . The main contracts are autonomous pieces of jurisprudence, do not depend on anyone, while the accessory contracts are supplementary to a main contract on which they depend.
  • Instant and successive tract . The instant or single-tract contracts are those that are fulfilled at the same time as they are concluded, while the successive ones are fulfilled in a certain period and that may or may not be periodic, with interruptions or intermittent ones, according to the mutual agreement of the parties.
  • Consensual and real . Consensus contracts are those in which the manifest agreement of the parties is sufficient and left over to establish the agreement; while the real contracts conclude when one party delivers to the other the thing on which to see the agreement.
  • Private and public . This classification depends on whether it is whether the people who subscribe it are private entities (third parties), or if it is a contract with the State , respectively.
  • Formal, solemn or not solemn and informal . The contracts are formal when the law mandates that the consent between the parties be expressed by a certain means to validate the agreement, and will be informal when this is not necessary. At the same time, formal contracts will be solemn when they require in addition to certain rites to take effect (such as marriage) and not solemn when not required.
  • Nominees and atypical . Nominated or typical contracts are those provided for and regulated by law, while unnamed or atypical ones may be hybrids between several contracts or perhaps new forms thereof, not yet contemplated in any respective legal code.
  1. Parts of a contract

Contracts usually present a lot of formal freedom, as long as all relevant and necessary information is included in them. However, they usually have sections such as the following:

  • Title . Where the nature of the contract is indicated.
  • Substantive body . First section where the parties involved are identified and contextual information is provided, such as the date of signing the contract, the representations involved, the identification of the objects or services committed, etc.
  • Exposure . Where the background and recorded facts are given, and necessary explanatory clauses are included below.
  • Regulatory body . Where the agreements signed between the parties and the possible penalties of having them are detailed.
  • Close . End of contract formula that covers the signatures of the parties.
  • Annexes . If necessary.
  1. Difference between contract and agreement

Agreements are mutual agreements established by people without intervention of the law.

In principle, all contracts are agreements, but not all agreements are contracts . This is due to the fact that the agreements are mutual agreements established by the people and that force them to fulfill the commitment , but without the intervention of the law. Therefore, they are usually oral and depend on the commitment and ethical and moral nature of those involved.

The contracts, on the other hand, are faced with the law and therefore are protected by the legal institutions of the State. For that reason they are written and duly registered.

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