Legal Classifications of Contracts

Legal Classifications of Contracts: A Comprehensive Guide

Contracts are integral to the smooth functioning of businesses, institutions, and individuals. As such, the legal classifications of contracts are an essential component of contract law. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of contracts and their legal classifications.

1. Express and Implied Contracts

Express contracts are those in which the parties have explicitly agreed to the terms of the contract. These agreements are usually in writing but can also be oral. Implied contracts, on the other hand, are those in which the parties’ agreement is not explicitly stated but can be inferred from their conduct.

2. Bilateral and Unilateral Contracts

A bilateral contract is an agreement in which both parties promise to perform certain actions. For example, if a seller promises to deliver a product, the buyer’s promise to pay for the product constitutes a bilateral contract. On the other hand, a unilateral contract is an agreement in which one party promises to perform certain actions if the other party meets specific conditions.

3. Executed and Executory Contracts

An executed contract is a contract in which both parties have fulfilled their obligations under the agreement. For example, if a buyer has paid for and received a product, the contract is considered executed. An executory contract, on the other hand, is a contract in which one or both parties have yet to fulfill their obligations.

4. Void and Voidable Contracts

A void contract is a contract that is considered null and void from the outset. For instance, a contract that is illegal or against public policy may be void. A voidable contract, on the other hand, is a contract that is valid until one party has a right to cancel the agreement.

5. Unenforceable Contracts

An unenforceable contract is a valid contract that can’t be enforced in court. For example, if the statute of limitations has expired, the contract may be unenforceable.


The legal classifications of contracts are essential to understanding the types of agreements that may arise in a business context. Express and implied, bilateral and unilateral, executed and executory, void and voidable, and unenforceable contracts all have specific legal classifications that determine their enforceability and validity. By understanding these classifications, parties can ensure they enter into agreements that are legally binding and enforceable.