What’s the difference between terms and conditions on one hand, and a contract on the other?

Are they different things? Are T&Cs part of the contract? Is the contract part of the T&Cs? I’m confused!

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Alasdair Taylor's Answer

When someone says “contract” they will usually be referring to:

  • a legal relationship between two or more parties;
  • a document evidencing such a legal relationship; or
  • a document that is expected or intended to evidence such a legal relationship in future (aka a “draft contract”).

“Terms and conditions”, by contrast, usually refers to:

  • the substantive legal terms of a contract; or
  • a particular type of usually non-negotiable contractual document.

So, they are slightly different things, but the difference will depend upon the context.  T&Cs may form part of a contract document.  However, it wouldn’t usually make sense to say that a contract formed part of some T&Cs.

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