Understanding Consideration in Contract Law: The Principle That Consideration Cannot be Past

what does it mean that consideration cannot be past?

if the party has already done something it is not consideration as it was not done when the contract was formed (re mcardle)

The legal concept of consideration refers to something of value given by one party to another as part of a contract. In order for a contract to be legally binding, there must be consideration from both parties. Additionally, consideration must be something that is given in exchange for something else and must be of value to the recipient.

The rule that “consideration cannot be past” means that a promise to provide something in exchange for an action that has already been done does not qualify as valid consideration for a contract. In other words, if someone promises to pay you for something you have already done or for a service that has already been provided, that promise is not enforceable as part of a contract because the consideration is considered to be in the past.

This principle is also known as the “past consideration rule.” Essentially, it means that an act or forbearance that has already occurred before a contract was made cannot be used as consideration for the contract. The idea behind this rule is that a legal obligation cannot be retrospectively imposed through a contract after the event has already occurred.

In summary, the concept that “consideration cannot be past” means that in order for a contract to be legally binding, there must be a present exchange of something of value between both parties. Promises or payments for actions that have already taken place cannot be considered valid consideration for a contract.

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