What Are General Principles of Contract Law?

According to the Sam Houston State University, general principles of contract law include legality, intention, contractual capacity, agreement, consideration and genuine consent. Because the law requires contracts to be recorded, SHSU regards form as a principle of contract law.

The first general principle of contract law, says SHSU, is legality. Contracts derive their power from existing jurisprudence. For that reason, it would be contradictory for contracts to be based on illegalities. Contracts of that nature cannot be enforced. The second principle of contract law is agreement. There must be a clear offer and a clear agreement between parties involved in a contract. Vague agreements are unenforceable. The third principle is consideration. This is the exchange of promises between parties in a contract. Consideration may take the form of pecuniary exchanges, delivery of goods, promises to follow a particular course of action or guarantees to avoid certain actions. The fourth principle is intention. Parties to a contract must truly intend to follow through on the promises they make. The fifth principle is capacity. Parties to a contract must have the legal capacity to enter into contracts. For this reason, minors, people with mental impairments and those under the influence of mind-altering substances cannot legally enter into contracts. The sixth principle is genuine consent. A contract attained by coercion, misrepresentation and undue influence is illegal and cannot be enforced. The final principle is form. Contracts have to be recorded in a legally acceptable manner.