Disciplines: Web design


In the United States, parties often enter into agreements with the understanding that they will negotiate and finalize the terms of the agreement at a later date. This kind of arrangement is often referred to as an “agreement to agree.” However, it is important to understand that such agreements may not always be legally enforceable.

The principle of “certainty of terms” is a fundamental requirement for any legally binding contract. This means that the parties must have reached a definite agreement on all the essential terms of the contract. An agreement to agree, by its nature, falls short of this requirement. Simply put, the parties have not yet agreed on the terms of the contract.

Despite this, the parties may still be bound by the agreement to agree if they have demonstrated a clear intention to be bound. This can be established by examining the language of the agreement, the conduct of the parties, and the surrounding circumstances. If the parties have acted as if they are already bound by the agreement, and have relied on it to their detriment, a court may find that an enforceable contract exists.

However, the legal enforceability of an agreement to agree can be uncertain, and it is often better to avoid such agreements altogether. In situations where parties are still negotiating the terms of an agreement, it is better to use a “non-binding agreement” which outlines the key issues to be addressed, but expressly states that it is not legally binding until a final agreement has been reached.

In conclusion, an agreement to agree can be a risky proposition in American law. While such agreements may be legally enforceable under certain circumstances, the uncertainty surrounding their enforceability makes them less than ideal. Parties who are still in the process of negotiating the terms of an agreement should consider using a non-binding agreement instead. Ultimately, the key to avoiding legal disputes is to ensure that all parties are clear on the terms of the agreement from the start.