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Actual versus Legal Detriment

15 January, 2016 - 09:32

Suppose Phil offers George $500 if George will quit smoking for one year. Is Phil’s promise binding? Because George is presumably benefiting by making and sticking to the agreement—surely his health will improve if he gives up smoking—how can his act be considered a legal detriment? The answer is that there is forbearance on George’s part: George is legally entitled to smoke, and by contracting not to, he suffers a loss of his legal right to do so. This is a legal detriment; consideration does not require an actual detriment.