Valuable Consideration

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Valuable Consideration

In the formation of a valid and binding contract, something of worth or value that is either a detriment incurred by the person making the promise or a benefit received by the other person.

In contract law consideration is required as an inducement to enter into a contract that is enforceable in the courts. It is an essential element for the formation of a contract. What constitutes sufficient consideration, however, has been the subject of continuing legal debate. Contracts and courts generally use the term valuable consideration to signify consideration sufficient to sustain an enforceable agreement.

In general, consideration consists of a promise to perform a desired act or a promise to refrain from doing an act that one is legally entitled to do. Thus, a person who seeks to enforce a promise must have paid or obligated herself to pay money, delivered goods, expended time and labor, or forgone some other profitable activity or legal right. For example, in a contract for the sale of goods the money paid is the valuable consideration for the vendor, and the property sold is the consideration for the purchaser.

In early Common Law nominal consideration was sufficient to establish a contract. The consideration could be as small as a peppercorn or a cent as long as it demonstrated that the parties intended to enter into an agreement. Eventually, the courts developed the requirement of valuable consideration, but what constitutes it has varied over time. Valuable consideration does not necessarily have to be equal in value to what is received, and it need not be translatable into dollars and cents. It is sufficient for the consideration to consist of a performance or a promise to perform that the promisor (the person making the promise) regards as having value. It is not essential that the person to whom the consideration moves should be benefited, provided the person from whom it moves is, in a legal sense, injured. The injury can consist of refusing to sue on a disputed claim or to exercise a legal right. The alteration in position is regarded as a detriment that forms consideration independent of the actual value of the right relinquished.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

valuable consideration

n. a necessary element of a contract, which confers a benefit on the other party. Valuable consideration can include money, work, performance, assets, a promise, or abstaining from an act. (See: contract, consideration)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

VALUABLE CONSIDERATION, contracts. An equivalent for a thing purchased. Vide Vin. Ab. Consideration, B; 2 Bl. Com. 297; Consideration.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
(41) Several House members did mention the section 301 prohibition against valuable consideration in exchange for human organs, sometimes with a specific allusion to the Jacobs venture, but without elaborating on the meaning of the term "valuable consideration" beyond commercial buying and selling.
Even the most specific references to the section 301 ban tend to address the meaning and scope of other section 301 terms, and not the meaning of "valuable consideration." The most detailed discussions of section 301 terminology, for example, address clarifications or expansions of the definition of "reasonable expenses" and arguments to exclude blood, blood products, and other items from the definition of "organ." (44)
(47) But, as in the House, a careful reading of the Senate history of NOT A suggests that Congress paid little, if any, attention to the possible meanings of and ambiguities in the phrase "valuable consideration."
In sum, a vast academic literature addresses valuable consideration under NOTA.
But our analysis suggests that Congress, in passing NOTA, only considered the term "valuable consideration" in the context of a very specific and immediately salient threat involving for-profit, commercial exchanges.
Between the passage of NOTA in 1984 and the Norwood Act in 2007, Congress had several occasions to clarify, expand, or otherwise alter the ban against valuable consideration in exchange for human organs and failed to do so.
In the course of enacting the Norwood Act, many congressional members made claims regarding the intent of the NOTA-enacting Congress with respect to the phrase "valuable consideration," reiterating the enacting Congress's refrain that the statute was intended to prohibit the buying and selling of transplantable organs.
Simply put, we want this legislation to save lives immediately." (56) Similarly, Representative Dingell insisted that "[t]he [valuable consideration] clause was intended to outlaw the buying or selling of transplantable human organs." (57) Said Representative Linder: "The valuable consideration clause has a noble purpose, which is to keep people from buying and selling human organs--Let me be clear: paired-organ donation does not constitute the buying or selling of organs." (58)
Some House members made reference to the fact that the Norwood Act would "clarify" that NOTA's ban on valuable consideration did not prohibit KPD, suggesting that the statute was never intended to ban such behavior.
For years, people missed or were delayed in an opportunity to have a life-saving kidney transplant simply because a member of the executive branch couldn't grasp the true intent of the National Organ Transplant Act's valuable consideration clause.
Even if Congress did not clearly specify the intended scope of NOTA's prohibition against valuable consideration in exchange for human organs, commentators have asserted a variety of public policy concerns that justify the ban, many of which appear to resonate with at least some members of the NOTA-enacting Congress and later Congresses.
When considering the extent to which RTT withstands common objections to inducements, it is important to remember one important difference between RTT and other inducement schemes that might qualify as valuable consideration under NOTA: RTT does not provide an inducement to donate an organ.