Rewards are classified as unilateral contracts

Rewards are classified as unilateral contracts.  Class, unilateral contracts are far less common than bilateral contracts.  Can you guess why? (Hint:  the answer is in the first contract element – agreement / offer and acceptance).  

The U.S. government (FBI, n.d., para. 2) offered a reward “of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Usama Bin Laden.”  

  1. Was this was an offer to enter into a unilateral or bilateral contract?  

(Of course, the government’s offer cannot be accepted any longer due to the efforts of the U.S. Navy’s elite Seal team taking Bin Laden out in 2011. Check out the hyperlink, below.)

contract terms should include terms of definiteness.  Vague, ambiguous, and misleading contract terms lead to chaos and confusion.  As a business executive your job will be to draft and review contract terms that are clear and unwaverable, like the iron-clad ADR clause you installed in your learning team charter, if you had created such a charter earlier this class.     

But think of this… is the term “up to $25 million” specific enough?  There’s a lot of numbers that fit in this term, aren’t there?  

2. Why would the government use such seemingly careful wording

3.  Is this “reward” an enforceable contract?  

4.When does it become enforceable against the government?  5.When does a unilateral contract become enforceable?  When does a bilateral contract become enforceable?


FBI (n.d.).  Most wanted terrorists:  Usama Bin Laden.  Retrieved June 3, 2010.