Contract in Europe

Definition of Contract

An agreement enforceable at law. An essential feature of contract is a promise by one party to another, or by two parties to one another, to do or forbear from doing certain specified acts. (according to the definition of Contract offered by A Concise Law Dictionary (1927). The offer of a promise becomes a promise by acceptance (Anson). For a contract to be valid and legally enforceable there must be capacity to contract, intention to contract, consensus “ad idem”, valuable consideration, legality of purpose, sufficient certainty of terms, and in some cases the contract or evidence of it must be in a prescribed form. There are the following kinds of contract:

  • Of record, entered into through the machinery of a Court of Justice, e.g., a recognisance
  • Specialty, by deed, i. e., writing, sealed and delivered
  • Simple or parol, i. e., other kinds either in writing or verbal
  • Implied contracts, founded by law on the assumed intention of the parties
  • Quasi (q.v.), founded by law on the circumstances, irrespective of the wishes of the parties

Contracts re. Real contracts arising from the delivery by one person to another of the subject-matter of the contract with intention of imposing obligations. They were: (…) Commodatum, Dcpositum and Pignus, and sometimes Indebiti solutio. (Roman law.) See also other definitions of Contract in the legal Dictionaries.

Distance Contract

A distance contract means any sales or service contract where the trader, for the conclusion of the contract, makes exclusive use of one or more means of distance communication, for instance sales by Internet, mobile phone or catalogue.

Off Premises Contract

An off premises contract is a sales or service contract concluded away from business premises with the simultaneous physical presence of the trader and the consumer (e.g. a salesman offers a good in the consumer’s home, at his work, in the street or at a home party) It also covers contracts concluded on business premises (e.g. in a shop), but negotiated away from business premises (e.g. a door salesman makes an offer, but the contract is later concluded in his shop).

European Union Contract Law

This section explores the law of contract comparatively, using as its focus the contract laws of national jurisdictions in continental Europe, set against the backdrop of the approximation of the national private laws of the European Union’s Member States and attempts over the last two decades to harmonise contract law in Europe.

The modern ‘Europeanisation’ of private law has two dimensions:

  • The first is extremely relevant to legal practice. It concerns the implications of existing legislation and case-law emanating from the organs of the EU for national private laws of Member States.
  • The second dimension of ‘Europeanisation’ is of a more scholarly nature. It relates to a number of academic proposals for common European rules and principles in the area of private law (such as the so-called ‘Draft Common Frame of Reference’), based on thorough comparative research and drawing on the common European legal heritage. European Private Law therefore combines issues from at least three branches of legal scholarship, ie European Law, (national) Private Law and Comparative Law.

This section attempts to combine these disciplines by approaching particular problems from a European point of view as well as from the angle of various national private laws, thus necessarily adopting a comparative approach.

Contract in other legal encyclopedias

If you search for an entry, then decide you want to see what another legal encyclopedia says about it, you may find your entry in this section.

Link Description
Contract Contract in the International Legal Encyclopedia.
Contract Contract in the American Legal Encyclopedia.
Contract Contract in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.
Contract Contract in the UK Legal Encyclopedia.
Contract Contract in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.

Contract (in European Private Law)

In this context, this may be a concept of the term: A “contract” is an agreement which is intended to give rise to a binding legal relationship or to have some other legal effect. It is a bilateral or multilateral juridical act.


See Also

  • Private Law


See Also


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