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Counterpart: Definition, Example and Related Terms

What is a Counterpart ?

In the world of business, the term 'Counterpart' often refers to a duplicate of a legal document. When two businesses decide to work together, they will often sign a contract. This contract is a written agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of their collaboration. This contract is usually signed by representatives from each business, and then each business keeps a copy. These copies are called 'counterparts'. They are identical to each other and hold the same legal weight. Each counterpart is considered an original. This means that if a dispute arises, either copy can be used as evidence in court. The counterparts are usually kept by the businesses involved, but sometimes they are also kept by a neutral third party, like a lawyer or a notary. Having a counterpart is especially important in international business, because it ensures that all parties have access to the same information, no matter where they are located. Counterparts are also used in other types of legal agreements, like wills and trusts, but they are most commonly used in business contracts.


  • Scenario Description
    Two companies, A and B, enter into a partnership to develop a new product. They sign a contract outlining the terms of their partnership. In this case, the counterpart would be the copy of the contract that each company keeps. It serves as proof of their agreement and can be used to resolve any disputes that may arise.
    Company X is hiring a new CEO and they sign an employment contract. The counterpart in this situation would be the copy of the employment contract that both Company X and the CEO keep. It outlines the CEO's responsibilities, salary, and other terms of employment.

Related terms