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Having known what a contract is and the elements of a valid contract together with types of contracts. In this post will discuss some defenses to contract.

Defenses to enforcement of contract are legal arguments or reasons that a party may raise to avoid or limit their obligations under a contract. These defenses may render the contract unenforceable, excuse non-performance, or provide grounds for rescission or modification of the contract. In other words, they are the valid excuses a party to a contract can give that is acceptable in the eyes of the Law.


Here are some common defenses to contract enforcement:

  1. Mistake: If a party entered into a contract under a mistaken belief about a material fact, they may seek to avoid enforcement of the contract. Mistakes can be unilateral (affecting only one party) or mutual (affecting both parties), and they must concern a fact that was fundamental to the formation of the contract.
  2. Duress: Duress occurs when one party compels the other party to enter into a contract through threats, coercion, or undue influence. If a contract is entered into under duress, the aggrieved party may seek to have the contract declared void or voidable.
  3. Undue Influence: Undue influence involves the exertion of influence by one party over another that overcomes the other party’s free will and leads to the formation of a contract that unfairly benefits the influencing party. Contracts entered into under undue influence may be voidable at the option of the influenced party.
  4. Fraud: Fraud occurs when one party makes a false representation of a material fact with the intent to deceive the other party, who relies on the misrepresentation to their detriment. A contract induced by fraud may be voidable, and the defrauded party may seek rescission, damages, or other remedies.
  5. Unconscionability: Unconscionability refers to contract terms or conditions that are so unfair, one-sided, or oppressive that they shock the conscience or offend notions of fairness. Courts may refuse to enforce unconscionable contracts or may strike down or modify unconscionable terms.
  6. Illegality: If a contract is illegal or against public policy, it may be unenforceable. Contracts that involve illegal activities, violate statutory or regulatory requirements, or contravene public interests may be deemed void or unenforceable.
  7. Lack of Capacity: Certain parties, such as minors, individuals with mental incapacity, or persons under the influence of drugs or alcohol, may lack the legal capacity to enter into contracts. Contracts entered into by parties lacking capacity may be voidable at their option.
  8. Statute of Frauds: The statute of frauds is a legal requirement that certain types of contracts be in writing to be enforceable, such as contracts for the sale of real estate, contracts that cannot be performed within one year, and contracts for the sale of goods over a certain value. Failure to satisfy the statute of frauds may serve as a defense to enforcement.

Read: Contracts and Agreements in Business

These are some of the main defenses to contract enforcement, but the availability and applicability of defenses may vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case and the governing law. It’s essential for parties to understand their rights and obligations under contracts and to seek legal advice if they believe they have grounds for defense.

In conclusion, it is advisable to seek the services of lawyer when entering into any form of contract. It is also advisable to give a lawyer your contract document to read and interpret to you before signing it.


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