Working of Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs): Advantages & Legal Justification

In this article, we will be discussing the working of memorandum of understanding.. So, without any further delay, Click here to check complete guide.

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working of memorandum of understanding

Working of Memorandum of Understanding

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a written contract between two or more parties that defines their strategies for pursuing a common course of action. An MOU is used by businesses when they want to collaborate or participate in a project or other comparable enterprise. These arrangements are employed by the government to coordinate interagency activities.

A memorandum of agreement will be used by multiple businesses when they want to work together on a project or other venture of a like sort (MOU). MOUs are frequently informal documents that lack the level of formality seen in more legally binding contracts and are therefore not legally enforceable. They are taken seriously, nevertheless, when it comes to business negotiations.

Compared to a handshake or a gentlemen’s agreement, memorandum of understanding are more legally binding. They are typically the first actions a business takes to create a legally binding contract.

In this article, we will be discussing the working of memorandum of understanding.. So, without any further delay, Click here to check complete guide.

How is an MOU implemented?

The responsibilities and expectations of each party are outlined in the MOUs, which act as a blueprint. These contracts are normally written at the start of a partnership or enterprise, and there is rarely any exchange of money during that time. Participants negotiating an MOU have the chance to set expectations and resolve any potential conflicts before moving on to the location of contract negotiation.

Especially when contracts between government divisions are prohibited by law, numerous government agencies frequently create MOUs rather than contracts when they need to clarify their roles and combine their resources for a project. While some interagency ties can be established and preserved through unofficial agreements between executives and employees, others are more complex and call for a documented record. That is where MOUs are useful.

The following details need to be included in the working of memorandum of understanding (MOU):

  • The signatures of all parties involved, their names and contact details, the context and goals of the agreement, a rough estimate of the effective date of the agreement, and any other pertinent details.
  • According to American law, a letter of intent is the same thing as a memorandum of understanding. A lot of managed service providers use letters of intent. Both written agreements exist, but only one is enforceable in a court of law, and it is assumed that the other will be as well.
  • In international law, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a mutual political agreement between two or more parties. It is not legally binding and lacks the same level of formality as a treaty.
  • They are widely applied in international affairs because, unlike treaties and the discussions that accompany them, they may be approved quickly and secretly. If both parties agree, MOUs can also be used to modify existing legal agreements.

What separates an MOA from an MOU?

An alternative name for a memorandum of understanding is a memorandum of association or MOA. They all convey a common understanding between two or more businesses, organizations, or other parties, and are essentially the same type of document. A more formal, comprehensive legal instrument or agreement is frequently followed by both MOAs and MOUs.


On the other hand, MOAs provide standard legal clauses that create a “conditioned agreement” where the delivery of money for services is anticipated. One significant distinction is that an MOA is a legally binding document that can be enforced in a court of law. Unless all parties sign and some type of payment, like money, is exchanged, an MOU is typically a nonbinding agreement. A cooperative agreement (MOA), is a written instrument that binds parties to work together on a project or achieve a shared goal. The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) may also be a partnership contract or a legally enforceable document that holds the parties accountable for their promise.

Benefits in the Working of Memorandum of Understanding

MOUs may be required by law in specific situations, such as when housing authorities are negotiating with renters. However, given the time and effort required to prepare and create an MOU, it has a lot of potential power. The parties must evaluate their requirements and wants and put them on paper in order to reach some form of mutual understanding, which is what is required by these agreements. Since an MOU is straightforward and devoid of the complicated and belligerent usual terms and conditions of contract law, it is a desirable solution in these kinds of circumstances. MOUs, therefore, do not necessitate that either party “hire a lawyer” and get ready for intense, contentious contract negotiations. 

The other advantages of working on a memorandum of understanding are discussed below:

  1. Clearly defined objectives: In a memorandum of understanding, all parties can describe their individual and collective objectives. A party’s goals and objectives can be stated succinctly and precisely.
  2. Reduced ambiguity: A memorandum of agreement (MOU) frequently eases tension by clearly stating the goals and expectations of all parties. As a result, the agreement lessens or resolves potential conflicts in the future.
  3. A foundation for the future You will easily be able to use this document as the basis for a legally enforceable contract because the conditions and goals are already stated in the memorandum of understanding.
  4. Easily leaving: Since the agreement is still in the MoU stage and not yet legally binding, either party may decide to end it if they feel that their goals or objectives have not been satisfactorily met. Consequently, this makes it simpler for the parties to leave.

Legal justification in the working of memorandum of understanding (MOUs)

This paper outlines the conditions under which a formal contract may be started, altered, or terminated. It goes into great detail about a variety of agreements.

The types of agreements that are considered contracts are outlined in Section 10 of the legislation. All agreements are considered contracts if they are made with the free assent of parties who are legally able to do so, for legal consideration, and for a legal purpose, and they are not hereby expressly declared to be void, according to the law.


When housing authorities are negotiating with renters, for example, a party may be legally compelled to draft MOUs. The MOU-writing procedure is quite simple, but each party must give it some attention. Typically, each party begins the MOU-writing process by conducting a planning phase to ascertain what they want or need from the other party, what they have to offer, what they are ready to discuss, and the purpose of the MOU. The MOU outlines the parties’ shared goals, which is arguable of utmost importance.


MOUs and contracts are not the same things, despite this common misconception. A private, written contract between two people that is enforceable under the law is known as a contract. An MOU is not enforceable in the same way that a contract is. Often referred to as a “gentlemen’s agreement,” it is less formal and contains less information.

An MOU’s major flaw is that it is not enforceable in court. While in some circumstances this might be advantageous, neither side is obligated to uphold the terms of the MOU, thus they are free to withdraw or alter their expectations. MOUs can need a lot of planning and effort to develop, and if one party completely alters its requirements, developing the MOU was a huge waste of time and money.

Since an MOU is not legally binding in nature, should one or more of the parties decide not to act upon it, the MOU loses its validity. Accordingly, an MOU is valid only to the extent that its intended purposes are achieved, or legally speaking, it is valid only at the intentions of the parties involved therein.

The main characteristics of MOU are:

  • The Contract’s signatory parties.
  • The object of the MOU.
  • Responsibilities and obligations.
  • Time frame
  • The transaction’s scope
  • Monetary repercussions
  • Requirements for Change and Termination
  • Limitations
  • Settlement of Disputes