Contract Law For Dummies
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Parties frequently modify (change the terms of) the contract after they make it. Technically, a contract modification is a new contract requiring consideration. When one party promises to give something up and the other doesn’t, courts sometimes invoke the pre-existing duty rule to determine whether the modification is enforceable. However, the pre-existing duty rule has several exceptions, including the following:
  • The UCC says in § 2-209(1) that consideration is not needed for a modification.

  • The modern rule found in Restatement § 89 says that consideration is not needed if the modification is fair and equitable in light of changed circumstances.

  • For an accord (an agreement to settle a debt by paying less), consideration is needed. Consideration is often found if the debt is unliquidated or disputed.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Scott J. Burnham is the Curley Professor of Commercial Law at Gonzaga University School of Law. For 30 years he has taught Contracts at law schools internationally and throughout the U.S. He is also a prolific writer on legal topics and a consultant on contract drafting for numerous businesses.

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