Validity of Agreement without Consideration

Validity of Agreement Without Consideration: A Brief Overview

In the world of contract law, consideration is a fundamental element that must be present in order for an agreement to be deemed valid. Consideration refers to something of value exchanged between parties to a contract, such as money, goods, or services. However, in certain circumstances, an agreement can be valid even in the absence of consideration. This article will provide a brief overview of the validity of agreements without consideration.

What is Consideration?

Consideration is a basic principle of contract law that requires each party to provide something of value in exchange for something else. Consideration is what distinguishes a contract from a gift – in a contract, both parties must give something of value to each other. For example, if you agree to mow your neighbor`s lawn in exchange for $50, the consideration is the lawn mowing on your part and the $50 on your neighbor`s part.

Agreements Without Consideration

In general, an agreement without consideration is not enforceable. In legal terms, it is said to be “void for lack of consideration.” However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Agreements made under seal

One exception to the rule is when an agreement is made under seal. A seal is a special mark or symbol that is affixed to a contract to indicate that it is a formal and binding agreement. In some jurisdictions, agreements made under seal are enforceable even if they do not have any consideration.

Promissory Estoppel

Another exception to the rule is promissory estoppel. This occurs when one party makes a promise to another party, and the other party relies on that promise to their detriment. In such cases, a court may enforce the promise even if there was no consideration involved.

For example, suppose you promise to give your friend $500 to help her start a business. She quits her job and spends several months putting together a business plan based on your promise. However, you change your mind and refuse to give her the money. In this scenario, your friend may be able to use promissory estoppel to enforce your promise, even though there was no consideration involved.

Moral Consideration

Finally, in some cases, moral consideration may be sufficient to make an agreement valid. For example, if a person promises to make a donation to a charity in exchange for a friend`s help, the promise may be enforceable even though there is no monetary consideration involved.


In general, an agreement without consideration is not enforceable. However, as outlined above, there are exceptions to this rule. If you are entering into an agreement without consideration, it is important to consult with a lawyer to determine whether the agreement is valid and enforceable.