The Louisiana Civil Code formerly expressed a contract as “an agreement, by which one person obligates himself to another, to give, to do or permit, or not to do something, expressed or implied by such agreement.”  La. C.C. art. 1761 (1870).

Art. 1906 a contract is an agreement by two or more parties whereby obligations are created, modified, or extinguished.

The Louisiana Civil Code classifies contracts in various ways, meaning there are approximately 8 types of contracts:

  • Unilateral contracts.  A contract is unilateral when the party who accepts the obligation of the other does not assume a reciprocal obligation.  (Art. 1907)
  • Bilateral contracts.  A contract is bilateral when the parties obligate themselves reciprocally, so that the obligation of each party is correlative to the obligation of the other.  (Art. 1906)
  • Onerous contracts.  A contract is onerous when each of the parties obtains an advantage in exchange for his obligation.  (Art. 1909)
  • Gratuitous contracts.  A contract is gratuitous when one party obligates himself towards another for the benefit of the latter, without obtaining any advantage in return.  (Art. 1910)
  • Commutative contracts.  A contract is commutative when the performance of the obligation of each party is correlative to the performance of the other.  (Art. 1911)
  • Aleatory contracts.  A contract is aleatory when, because of its nature or according to the parties intent, the performance of either party’s obligation, or the extent of the performance depends on an uncertain event.  (Art. 1912)
  • Principal and accessory contracts.  A contract is accessory when it is made to provide security for the performance of an obligation.  Suretyship, mortgage, pledge, and other types of security agreements are examples of such a contract.  When the secured obligation arises from a contract, either between the same or other parties, that contract is the principal contract.  (Art. 1913)
  • Nominate and innominate contracts.  Nominate contracts are those given a special designation such as sale, lease, loan or insurance.  Innominate contracts are those with no special designation.

Necessary Elements of a Contract

There are four necessary elements for a valid contract: 

(1) capacity,
(2) consent (offer and acceptance),
(3) object, and
(4) lawful cause. 

In other words, the parties must have the capacity to contract, give their consent freely for a certain object, and the contract must have a lawful cause (or purpose).  All parties must be bound in order for there to be a contract.   Leger v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 670 So. 2d 397 (La. App. 3. Cir. 1996).

A few samples of contracts include:  Bond for Deed, Lease, Mandate, Quitclaim Deed, Cash Sale, Employment, Professional Services or Business.  

In simpler terms, a contract is a formal written agreement between 2 or more parties which is valid when they all agree and accept the term.  The terms and conditions are enforceable in a court of law.


In contrast, an agreement is also between 2 or more parties that is usually unwritten and informal.  The parties consent to do or not to do something by use of the Honor System (Handshake).  It is difficult to enforce the terms of an agreement in court because it lacks the elements of a contract, therefore, there is no legal recourse.

If you’re thinking about needing a written contract contact our office, we’re only a phone call away!