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
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.
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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.
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