Mutual assent refers to an agreement by all parties to a contract. Mutual assent is an essential element in the formation of a valid contract. Under modern contract law, mutual assent must be proven objectively. Thus, courts will look to outward expressions of the parties to determine mutual assent, often established by showing an offer and acceptance (e.g., an offer to do X in exchange for Y, followed by an acceptance of that offer). Mutual assent is closely related to the concept of meeting of the minds, which requires that the parties to a contract agree to the same terms, conditions, and subject matter.
[Last updated in July of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]