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hi!

Could you please explain the difference between contract and agreement? Is there actually any difference between these two terms in American/British legal system? For example in the text below the terms are expressly distinguished.

«It was all handled according to numbers,» Virginia said. «General classifications. For instance, number one to a thousand was personal correspondence. Number one thousand to three thousand represented contracts. Three thousand to five thousand, probate. Five thousand to six thousand, wills. Six thousand to eight thousand, agreements. Eight thousand to ten thousand, real estate transactions.»
by Erle Stanley Gardner "The Case of the Horrified Heirs"

Thank you in advance
New Member02
See here for one view.

http://www.normans.com.au/news/business_issue48_sept2004.html

The terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Quite often the word "contract" can mean the document containing the agreement, but "agreement" can be used in that sense too. Contract also tends to be used to mean a binding or formal agreement. Law students study the law of contract, rather than the law of agreements.

In the extract you quote the business in question obviously makes a distinction between contracts and agreements - it is anybody's guess what the difference is. Perhaps one refers to the supply of goods and another to the supply of services.
Regular Member932
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Anonymous:
Hi

In practice, these two are really the same it just depends on context. However, at common law, conceptually they are different because if the parties have a "contract" that means there arrangement will be enforced by the courts, whereas an "agreement" is just an arrangement between the parties which may or may not contain the necessary elements to be enforceable before a court of law.
Let's try to underatand this by a statement "We have reached an agreement and will now enter into a contract"
New Member01
Anonymous:
Yes, in the proper context this would be correct! General point being, in common law, if you don't have offer + acceptance + consideration then you don't have CONTRACT (or "K" as lawyers use as an abbreviation).
Anonymous:
Right, you could have an offer and acceptance and call that an agreement, but it wouldn´t be a contract.
Anonymous:
A short answer is that a mere agreement is not yet a contract.
Anonymous:
If there has been an agreement to form a business partnership and intension is written over a legal note e.g MOU but never implemented the formal requirements of the aggrements. Can this agreement be called a contract. Will this be enforceable by law or it has no value if one of the partner dies before it is actually implemented.
I think you need to post your question on a legal advice site applicable to where you live and give a bit more detail.
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
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