Unilateral Contract

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Related to Unilateral Contract: conditional contract, aleatory contract, Express contract

Unilateral Contract

A contract in which only one party makes an express promise, or undertakes a performance without first securing a reciprocal agreement from the other party.

In a unilateral, or one-sided, contract, one party, known as the offeror, makes a promise in exchange for an act (or abstention from acting) by another party, known as the offeree. If the offeree acts on the offeror's promise, the offeror is legally obligated to fulfill the contract, but an offeree cannot be forced to act (or not act), because no return promise has been made to the offeror. After an offeree has performed, only one enforceable promise exists, that of the offeror.

A unilateral contract differs from a Bilateral Contract, in which the parties exchange mutual promises. Bilateral contracts are commonly used in business transactions; a sale of goods is a type of bilateral contract.

Reward offers are usually unilateral contracts. The offeror (the party offering the reward) cannot impel anyone to fulfill the reward offer. An offeree can sue for breach of contract, however, if the offeror does not provide the reward after the offeree has fulfilled the contract's requirements.

unilateral contract

n. an agreement to pay in exchange for performance, if the potential performer chooses to act. A "unilateral" contract is distinguished from a "bilateral" contract, which is an exchange of one promise for another. Example of a unilateral contract: "I will pay you $1,000 if you bring my car from Cleveland to San Francisco." Bringing the car is acceptance. The difference is normally only of academic interest. (See: contract, bilateral contract, performance, consideration)

UNILATERAL CONTRACT, civil law. When the party to whom an engagement is made, makes no express agreement on his part, the contract is called unilateral, even in cases where the law attaches certain obligations to his acceptance. Civ. Code of Lo. art. 1758. Code Nap. 1103. A loan of money, and a loan for use, are of this kind. Poth. Obl. part 1, c. 1, s. 1, art. 2; Lee. Elemen. Sec. 781.

References in periodicals archive ?
The court states that an offer for a unilateral contract is accepted by the act or acts of the offeree in accordance with the offer, and that an acceptance of an offer must be in accordance with its terms, meaning full performance by the offeree is needed in order for that contract to come into existence.
See supra note 15 and accompanying text (discussing court's reasoning behind commercial activity exception ruling); supra note 37 and accompanying text (noting terms of May Agreement reflect unilateral contract under Massachusetts law); supra note 38 and accompanying text (highlighting unilateral contract defined by Massachusetts law).
See supra note 9 and accompanying text (emphasizing ambiguity of May Agreement); supra note 10 and accompanying text (pointing out ambiguity of October Agreement); supra note 37 and accompanying text (applying Massachusetts unilateral contract law to terms of May Agreement).
For an examination of the history of unilateral contracts, see P.
The third unilateral contract modification called for by section
The fourth unilateral contract modification called for by TTRA
The fifth unilateral contract modification provided:
The sixth unilateral contract modification called for by section
The seventh unilateral contract modification called for by section
In light of the Copyright Office's failure to adequately address the harm to consumers from overly restrictive access control technologies and unilateral contracts, Andersen called for the entertainment industry to adopt VSDA's principles regarding digital delivery of movies, which are designed to ensure consumer choice, prevent piracy, and promote retail competition.

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