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Contract ( Latin contractus ; English contract ) is used in the language of the law firm as a term for a binding agreement or contract .


The concept of the contract first appeared as a sales contract ("kouff vnd contract") in 1465 by the historian Ernst Gotthelf Gersdorf . After Friedrich Riederer took up the word again in 1493, the contract went into common parlance. The word contract is derived from the counterparty as the contractual partner, the contract as the conclusion of a contract and the obligation to contract as the obligation to conclude certain contracts.


In Roman law , the noun contractus is found in Gaian institutions around AD 160 . The term is classified there in property law . Although already known beforehand, contractus technically stood for a group of mandatory facts. Since Gaius, the obligationes have only come from ex contractu and outside of the offense. The contract ( contractus ) therefore constituted a lawful fact that constituted a debt , "every obligation arose from a contract or a crime ". Like some of his predecessors, Gaius made a distinction between contractual obligations based on a real contract with mere handover, verbal promise of performance , and literal contract in which an entry was made in the creditor's house book and based on a consensus reached .

In 1465 the Latin word appeared for the first time in Germany as “purchase and contract”. The General Prussian Land Law (APL) of June 1794 used both the term contract and contract. "If a contract based on size and weight is concluded, it is assumed that what is meant is that which is introduced at the place where the handover is to take place" (I 5, § 256 APL).

Importance in business

In business-to-client -relationships one speaks of a supplier contract , in finance there is a financial contract . In modern finance contract refers to a standardized contract that at commodity futures exchanges and futures traded clearing-houses. A contract is the smallest tradable unit of a value traded on these exchanges. The parties to a contract are called the counterparty .

Importance in computer science

The term contract is used in software engineering for a (formal) description of the syntax and semantics of a software system. Above all, it is determined which preconditions and postconditions should apply to an operation or are ensured by them. This in turn allows a formal verification , i.e. a confirmation for the function (capability) of the software to be carried out. In particular, in a contract z. B. Quality of Service requirements ( QoS ) can be specified for a system. In component-oriented software development ( CBSE ), the interfaces of a software component should be explicitly described with contracts .

The aim is to use contracts to specify software components in such a way that different implementations of a contract can be exchanged without problems.

Importance in social work

The term contract is used in individual aid or in social group work within the scientific disciplines of social work and education in systemic contract work. Written or verbal agreements are made between the client and the social worker and a reminder is sent to confirm that they are binding . Contract work is a two-way interaction . Contract work is described by Lüssi , among others .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Kontrakt  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Ernst Gotthelf Gersdorf (ed.), Deed book of the Hochstift Meissen , Volume III, 1867, p. 167
  2. ^ Friedrich Riederer, Spiegel der Waren Rhetoric , 1493, p. 122
  3. Ulrike Köbler, Werden, Wandel und Wesen des German private law vocabulary , 2010, p. 169 f.
  4. Gellius 4.4; 1/20/41
  5. Max Kaser : Roman legal sources and applied legal method. In: Research on Roman Law , Vol. 36, Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Graz 1986, ISBN 3-205-05001-0 , p. 158.
  6. ^ Gaius, Institutiones , 3, 88.
  7. ^ Gaius, Institutiones , 3, 89; 3, 182
  8. Susanne Hähnchen, Rechtsgeschichte , 2016, p. 77
  9. Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences (Ed.), German Legal Dictionary , Volume VII, 1983, Col. 1264