Bilateral Contract – wherein each party promises a performance, so that each party is an obligor on that party’s own promise

bilateral contract:

1. A contract in which each party promises a performance, so that each party is an obligor on that party’s own promise and an obligee on the other’s promise; a contract in which the parties obligate themselves reciprocally, so that the obligation of one party is correlative to the obligation of the other. — aka mutual contract; reciprocal contract; (in civil law) synallagmatic contract. See COUNTERPROMISE.

     “In a bilateral contract a promise, or set of promises on one side, is exchanged for a promise or a set of promises on the other side. In a unilateral contract, on the other hand, a promise on one side is exchanged for an act (or a forbearance) on the other side. Typical examples of bilateral contracts are contracts of sale, the buyer promising to pay the price and the seller promising to deliver the goods. A typical example of a unilateral contract is a promise of a reward for the finding of lost property followed by the actual finding of the property. [2]


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]:  P.S. Atiyah, An Introduction to the Law of Contract 32 (3d ed. 1981).


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