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Contract Law Vocabulary

Vocabulary in Contract Law: Consideration

Legal English Language Training is the world's leading School of English for Lawyers and Law Students. In this article, our expert tutors look at the idea of consideration in English and Welsh law and how you can use it in Legal English.

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What is Consideration?

Consideration in General English is a noun meaning to give careful thought to something. In the context of contract law consideration is something completely different. It is one of the vital elements that parties need in order to form a contract. The formula is taught to law students in universities across England and Wales:

Offer + Acceptance + Consideration + Intention to Create Legal Relations = A binding contract

In most circumstances, without one of these elements a contract cannot be enforced. The notable exception is a deed (which is used in the sale of property).

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Consideration for Legal English Students

So what exactly is consideration and why is it so important? For a contract to be valid, both parties have to lose something and gain something. Usually, that means that Party A spends money and then Party B receives a good or service in exchange.

The idea is that in order for a party to enforce a promise or they must be given something quid pro quo for it.

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What is Quid Pro Quo?

Quid pro quo is a Latin expression which means something for something. It states that there is equal exchange or substitution that a person makes with another in return for something done or given or promised.

Consideration is payment in any form under a contract, whether it's cash, shares, property, paintings or time.

English courts say that consideration has to be sufficient rather than adequate or equal so bear this in mind when you are looking at court cases relating to contract law.

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