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Contracts: legal documents or business assets?

During a panel discussion for third-year law students at Ghent University, the following question was asked: is a contract mainly a legal document or rather a business document?

About 80% of the attendees felt that a contract was primarily a legal document, created to mitigate risk. Only 20% considered it primarily a business document in which the practical and commercial agreements are determined. The question actually made a correct answer impossible, because a contract is of course both.