An Alternative Basis For Enforcing Promises

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Contract is generally defined as a “promise or set of promises for the breach of which the law gives a remedy, or the performance of which the law in some ways recognizes as a duty” (Restatement (Second) of the Law of Contracts § 1). Hence, when a person sues someone for breach of contract, it only means that the defendant fails to fulfill his promise to the plaintiff (Maggs, p. 1). If this happens, there are two options that the court may ask to the defendant – pay the plaintiff or perform the promise. A promise is enforceable by the law if it comprised the two bases to be considered legally recognized – reliance and consideration. Reliance is deemed as “an alternative basis for enforcing promises” (Maggs, p. 13). On the other hand, consideration is defined “for a promise as something – a performance or another promise – given in exchange for the promise as a part of a bargain” (Maggs, p. 13). There are basically four requirements that characterize a consideration: there should be a return promise or performance bargained; the return promise or performance is agreed due to the promisor’s request in exchange for the promisee’s request; performance may be in the form of forbearance, act, or destruction, modification, creation of legal relation; and the return promise or performance may be granted to another person or to the same promisor and may be granted by another person or the same promisee. Given these characteristics, consideration is often referred as “the bargain

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