Similarly, a person may come under an obligation by reason ,of his tort, as it is called under the English law, or of his offence, or quasi-offence, as it is 'called under the French law. An offence of this kind arises by reason of a person's wilful wrongful act (of fence), and as a result be must pay the damages which he causes, and generally these damages will be somewhat increased because of his wilful intention. Where the act is done involuntarily or in error (quasi offence), he will be liable only for the actual damage caused: as, for example, where a druggist in mixing a prescription makes a mistake, there has been no wil ful intention, and he will be liable only for the dam ages that can be proved. The case might be different if the mistake were due to gross carelessness.
3. Classification of contracts.—There are various classifications of contracts, which may be briefly ex pressed as follows. A contract may be an executed contract: that is, a contract the terms of which have been carried out; the obligation has been fulfilled or paid, and as a result has been discharged. The con tract, in reality, by reason of its execution, has ceased to exist.
The contract may be executory : it has yet to be per formed. The contract may be bilateral, and both parties be bound to fulfil certain obligations. It may be unilateral, and one of the parties be bound to ful fil his obligation. A contract may be formal, in that it requires for validity to be made in some solemn form, as before a notary public or under seal; or it may be informal, and be a simple writing signed by one or both of the parties. An informal contract may be in writing; it may be expressed orally, in which case it will be subject to certain strict rules as to its proof. A formal contract in solemn form proves it self.
A contract may be valid, void or voidable. If valid, it is binding upon the parties to it, because it is in proper form, the proper consent of the parties ex ists, and there is a lawful cause and an object. If the contract is void, it is a contract only in name and can not be enforced; neither party can hold the other to it. Thus if a person rents a house for immoral purposes, such a contract is void, and cannot be enforced. Where the contract is illegal and void, no action can be brought to compel the parties; damages cannot be asked for breach of performance; and generally, if money has been paid over under the contract, it can be recovered. Such contracts are said to be contrary to good morals and public policy. A contract may be voidable in that one of the parties may either con sent or refuse to be bound by it. Thus if A sells a horse to a minor, the latter can buy it and pay the price, but he can refuse to pay the price or to carry out his obligation to complete the contract by pay ment, or if he has paid and it can be shown that he has suffered injury by the bargain, he can have it upset and recover his money.
Contracts may be express, whether oral or written, when the terms of the contract are in so many definite words, and there is a distinct understanding. V But the existence/of a contract may be also implied, whei.e from the conduct of the one or the other of the parties, or from the circumstances, it can be said that they in tended to be or should be bound. Thus if a man holds another out as his agent for the performance of a cer tain act, or the making of a certain contract, and does not repudiate the act or contract made by his agent, he will generally be bound, in that his consent to what has been done or contracted will be implied.