What is a memorandum of understanding (MOU)?

HomeLawWhat is a memorandum of understanding (MOU)?

For a non-binding agreement, the term Memorandum of Understanding is generally used to define the intent of two people or businesses to come to an agreement. The ‘Memorandum Of Understanding’ is the explanation for this agreement.

Since it defines the scope and intent of the negotiations, The MOU is often seen as the basis for the talks. In international treaty agreements, these memorandums are most frequently used; however, they can be used in high-risk corporate transactions like merger negotiations.

Although it’s not legally binding, it contains all relevant information and has high trust and respect. It is the initial step toward a legal contract.

When Should You Use the Understanding Memorandum?

If they require something more than a verbal pledge but not an official contract, the parties can decide to sign the MOU. It’s simply a formal pledge of severity between the parties. If the parties choose to form an association, which could have serious consequences, a memorandum of understanding could still be an essential step in the direction of a formal agreement. 

Non-profit organizations could sign the memorandum of understanding since they are considered less threatening than a formal agreement.

Private sector or private enterprises:

The MOU typically functions as an unbinding contract in private and commercial transactions. It contains the conditions and obligations for both parties and the arrangement’s terms and conditions. This is done without signing any written or legally binding contract.

International Public Law:

MOUs fall in the treaties category at an international level and are required to be reported in the United Nations Treaty Collection. The intent of the parties, as well as the positions of the signatories, must be presented to determine whether the agreement is legally binding or not (especially in the case of treaties). In determining the legal interpretation of the contract, it is crucial to consider the language used in the contract.


The primary purpose of an MOU is to outline what the parties in an official relationship or partnership have agreed to. It’s more effective than a verbal commitment because it is documented, and if one of the parties diverges from the plan laid out in the document, it can be referred to. In the absence of an MOU, it is hard to settle disputes, placing the final purpose’s success in danger.

What should I add to an MOU format that is the Memorandum of Understanding Format?

The following are the contents of the MOU

  1. Intention or objective of entering the MOU
  2. Each party’s obligations
  3. Meetings and monitoring methods
  4. Financial and professional support
  5. Financial consideration, if any of the transactions involved
  6. Responsible Management Guy
  7. The duration of the MOU
  8. Clause on Confidentiality
  9. Conditions leading to the MOU’s expiration
  10. Extension Probability
  11. Communication Forms
  12. Clause of Severability
  13. Clause on Arbitration
  14. Clause for Indemnity

Benefits of MOU

  • A formal document that outlines the obligations of all the participants involved in the roles
  • Better than verbal commitments. 
  • In the event of disputes, it serves as a good source of information.
  • The plan outlines the intent toward the common goal of all involved parties.
  • Legally binding contracts are simple and easy to draft.
  • It’s less complicated and safer than a formal, legally binding contract.

Steps to Process of Making an MOU


Log into the website and access the MOU form.


Enter the parties’ details and the transaction details to be executed under the Memorandum of Understanding, length, arbitration, and other information to get the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) online.


Lawyers will draft a Memorandum of Understanding so that you can download all essential details.

Contents of an MOU

An MOU is clear about the specifics of the terms of the agreement. It lists the parties involved and outlines the project on which they agree as well as the scope of the project and outlines each party’s role and obligations.

While it’s not a legally binding document, the MOU is a necessary step due to the time and effort required in negotiating and creating an effective document. All parties involved need to reach a consensus to draft an MOU. Before proceeding, each side discovers what is essential to the other.

What is the MOU’s Function?

An MOU is an indication of approval to go on. It indicates that both parties have reached an agreement and are working ahead. 

An MOU is equal to a letter of intent. It’s indistinguishable from a memorandum of understanding, a MOU agreement, and a letter of purpose. Both convey an understanding of a mutually advantageous goal and a determination to carry it through to the end.

The mutually agreed-upon goals of the parties, groups, or governments involved are conveyed by MOUs. For foreign matters, they are frequently used since they can be made quickly and secretly, unlike treaties. They are also used in numerous Indian and state government agencies, especially when significant contracts are in the planning stages.

The format of the MOU

The negotiations should have reached a point whereby both parties sign a memorandum of understanding, where both parties understand what they can anticipate from their partnership and how they can proceed towards the goal. Based on the discussions, each partner could draft their own set of conditions and create a joint draft of their MOU considering the needs of each party in its documents.

1. The plan

The goal clearly outlines what the parties hope to accomplish during a partnership or relationship. The plan must be unambiguous in order to provide clearness and clarity.

2. Information on the Parties

Each party involved in the organizational memorandum must be named at every step of the Memorandum of Understanding. It could be governments, institutions, organizations, businesses, or trade associations.

3. MOU Time

The MOU must also indicate the duration during which the MOU will remain in effect. If the parties cannot move to the side of the MOU for whatever reason, it will expire on the due date. The memorandum of understanding is not binding.

4. The responsibilities of the parties involved

In this section, the responsibilities of each group are explained in detail. If there are shared responsibilities, these should be listed in this section. This section must be further elaborated to establish what each party is expected to do to accomplish the goals agreed to in the memorandum of understanding. This section should also include a description of the resources each party must have and how they can help fulfill the obligations outlined in this section of the document.

5. Financials

Finance plans for proposed partnerships must be described in detail within this part of the MOU. Investment or payment required, the allocation of income to be made, interests to be paid, and more. 

6. Shares Risks

The partners must be aware of the risk of the partnership. Unexpected events can be within or outside the control of the relevant parties. The parties must adequately address every type of risk in the MOU without considering risk factors. Risks that need to be shared should also be mentioned within this section.

7. Signatures

Every party or their representative must sign an MOU in compliance with the terms of the memorandum of understanding.

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In business and bilateral relationships, they are extensively utilized and considered an important beginning point. When negotiating the agreement, formally written roles, responsibilities, and risks clarify how different situations will be dealt with.

Some MOUs are similar to legal contracts, as parties adhere to them in order to gain mutual benefit in all instances. However, some fail because parties don’t adhere to them due to their reduced viability or because of the parties ‘ selfish motives.


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