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Agreements Lacking Consideration: Past Consideration and Moral Obligation

This lesson takes a look at two types of agreements that lack consideration: those supported by past consideration or moral obligation. Consideration is often described as the bargained-for-exchange. The bargained-for-exchange is what induces the making of the promise by the offeror and the promise induces the furnishing of the consideration by the offeree. Consideration is the ordinary means for justifying the enforcement of the promises by the parties. Where consideration was given in the past or the promisee is only morally obligated to make the promise, bargained-for-exchange is lacking and the promises are not enforceable.

This lesson sets out the basic requisites for identifying and evaluating those promises that are only supported by past consideration or moral obligation. The general attributes of consideration are covered in other lessons.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. Define "past consideration."
  2. Give examples of when a moral obligation may be sufficient to support a promise.
  3. Give examples of when a voidable contract becomes enforceable.
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