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Differences Between an Agreement and a Deed

Differences Between an Agreement and a Deed

The above mentioned topic is very germaine especially when dealing with people that has little or no knowledge of law. It will also be important to consider when it will be necessary to use any of these instruments or documents as the case may be.


An agreement is synonymous to a contract and can simply be defined as an act of agreeing or giving mutual assent by two or more individuals to one another. This occurs primarily when parties agrees to reciprocate legal rights as well as responsibilities in respect of certain actions or obligations usually made through offer and acceptance. See Enemchukwu V. Okoye & Another(CA/E/273/2008).


Deed on the other hand can be defined as a legal document that bestows it’s holder ownership in real estate or any other assets provided that the required conditions are met by the beneficiary.It I’d usually used in transferring the ownership of land or automobile between two parties.See Owosho V. Dada(SC135/1983)(1984). Flowing from the above,we will now consider the differences between a deed and an agreement:

  1. The main distinguishing feature between the two is that for a deed to be regarded as binding, consideration is not necessary, unlike on agreement that consideration is crucial.
  2. An agreement can be enforceable not minding that it may be orally made or in writing, while on the other hand, a deed must be executed in writing before it can be enforceable.
  3. An agreement does not need to be witnessed by a party who is not a party to the agreement. However, there is need for a witness who is not a party to the deed.
  4. Futhermore, limitation period is another major difference between deed and agreement. Limitation period simply refers to the duration after the occurrence of certain events before legal action or court process can be initiated.

    In Nigeria legal jurisdiction, when there is a breach in an agreement, the limitation period is usually six years, while in the case of deed, the limitation period is usually 12 years before it can be regarded as statute-barred.
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A deed is a special legal instrument that conveys an individual’s earnest desire to do something that the individual has contracted to perform while an agreement deals primarily with parties obligations and rights to each other and there must be offer and acceptance as well as other elements of a valid contract.

Contributor: Jude Odiari

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