Covenant Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Covenant, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Covenant?

It refers to a promise or agreement by one party to another in writing and under a seal to perform certain task, or to refrain one from doing something till under such agreement.

History and Meaning of Covenant

Covenant is a term with biblical origins that refers to a formal, binding agreement between two parties. In the legal context, a covenant is an agreement in writing under seal between two or more parties, where they agree to perform certain actions or refrain from certain activities. These agreements can be made between individuals, businesses, or even entire countries.

The concept of covenants originated in ancient Near Eastern cultures, where contracts were often formalized with a religious or spiritual aspect. In the biblical context, covenants are often seen as agreements between God and humanity, such as the covenant between God and Abraham. In modern legal practice, the term covenant is most commonly used to refer to restrictive covenants or covenants not to compete, which limit an individual or business's activities in a certain area.

Examples of Covenant

  1. A real estate developer may enter into a covenant with a neighborhood association to limit the height of buildings in a certain area.
  2. An employer may require their employees to sign a covenant not to compete, preventing them from working for a competitor for a certain amount of time after leaving the job.
  3. Two countries may enter into a covenant to regulate trade and commerce between them.

Legal Terms Similar to Covenant

  • Contract: A legally binding agreement between two or more parties which may or may not involve a seal.
  • Restrictive Covenant: A covenant that limits the actions of an individual or business, often in a real estate context.
  • Covenants Not to Compete: An agreement in which an individual agrees not to work for a competitor of their current employer for a certain amount of time after leaving the job.