Difference Between Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

At the time of entering into a legal transaction, there are two options available to the parties, i.e. agreement or memorandum of understanding. While an Agreement refers to concordance between the legally competent parties, which is generally negotiated. Conversely, in Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a type of agreement between legally competent parties, which is non-binding in nature.

An MoU contains the description of understanding between the two parties, including the requirements and responsibilities of the two. These two are legal documents, which are often confused for one another, but the fact is they are different.

Definition of Agreement

The agreement is referred to as a state when two parties agreed upon the same thing, in the same manner, i.e. ‘consensus ad idem’ to work together for achieving a common objective. It can be in oral or written or implied form and can be legal or illegal.

The agreement consists of a proposal which is to be accepted by the party to whom the proposal is made, and when this proposal is accepted, it becomes a promise of parties to each other, to which they have been agreed upon. The parties to the agreement have the right to go to the court in the event of non-performance of the agreement.

Below are the types of agreement:

  • Conditional agreement
  • Express Agreement
  • Implied Agreement
  • Executed Agreement
  • Executory Agreement
  • Void Agreement
  • Voidable Agreement

Definition of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is referred to as a written legal document which completely describes the principles of an arrangement between the two or more parties forming a bilateral or multilateral agreement duly signed by the parties.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the parties must clearly mention the terms of the agreement, i.e. the objective should be definite to which they agree upon. A clear understanding should be there between the parties, regarding the intention which should be followed shortly. An MoU lacks legal enforceability, however, if anyone of the parties has done anything against the MoU and due to this the other party has suffered any loss, then the aggrieved party has the right to recover loss because the parties are bind by estoppel.

Difference Table

BASIS FOR COMPARISON AGREEMENT MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
Meaning An agreement is a document in which two parties agreed upon to work together for a common objective. A Memorandum of Understanding or MoU is a legal document which describes the terms of an arrangement between the two or more parties forming a bilateral or multilateral agreement.
Elements Offer, Acceptance. Offer, Acceptance, Intention and Consideration.
Enforceability An agreement can be enforceable in the court of law. A Memorandum of Understanding cannot be enforceable in the court of law.
Binding nature It is always binding on the parties to the agreement. It is binding upon the parties, if the memorandum is signed in exchange for monetary consideration.
Collateral Rights Yes No
Form Oral or Written Written

Author: Shubham siwach

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