Office of General Counsel

Definition of a Contract

A contract is created at law when there is a mutual exchange of promises upon reasonably understandable terms and conditions. A contract does not have to be reduced to writing in order to be enforceable; however, for the purposes of this manual, the term contract is intended to mean a written form of communication. Please remember that many types of documents can constitute a contract, including invoices, memoranda, and letters.

For a more detailed discussion of the legal principles of contracting, please see Contracting Basics.

Note: Only certain ASU administrators have authority delegated from the President to sign specified ASU contracts pursuant to the ASU Contract Signature Authority Policy (PUR 202), or as otherwise authorized in writing by the President. Please refer to the policy whenever you have a question about signature authority.


Some of the legal material found at this site has been abridged from laws, regulations, court decisions, administrative rulings, ABOR and ASU policies and other sources. Further details may be necessary for complete analysis and understanding in particular matters. The information contained at this site, and related links, is not a substitute for professional legal counsel. Any discrepancy between the information at this site and ASU policy is not intended to alter or amend official ASU policy or procedure.

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