Contract law is an important and complicated subject, and a strong contract lawyer can create a great enforceable contract. If you have ended up with a contract that’s unenforceable, however, you could be putting yourself at an unnecessary risk that might haunt you later. Here are 5 of many reasons why enforcing a contract could prove to be impossible.
Lack of Capacity
Imagine a grown man is trying to make a deal with an 8-year-old boy. The boy signs the contract, and so whatever the boy agreed to is legally binding, right? Wrong! The boy is a minor, and thus has a ‘lack of capacity.’ People with a lack of capacity include those who are minors and those who have been declared legally unfit to manage themselves. If these people sign an agreement, the agreement is unenforceable because these people were not fit to make the decision.
Nondisclosure is when Party A purposely deceives Party B by not revealing, or disclosing, all of the facts about the deal being made, especially if Party B specifically asked for those facts to be disclosed. This is a major contract violation, and in court, it will not be viewed kindly, as purposely deceiving the other party into signing is a reason not to enforce the agreement.
Similar to nondisclosure, misrepresentation is when a party actively lies or misrepresents a fact involved in a deal. If you try to sell a business with artificially boosted profit margins and say they are accurate, that is a misrepresentation and therefore breaches whatever contract was signed for the sale of the business. Saying something false in a contract is always a bad practice, especially if you’re depending on the courts to enforce your agreement down the road.
Duress is an act that invalidates a contract when Party A threatens Party B into making the agreement. Some common types of duress are coercion and blackmail, and these both immediately remove all credibility from the person defending contracts that were written under such illegal conditions.
Mistakes do happen, even during contract drafting. A mistake that is of the utmost importance in a contract, such as a misplaced ‘not,’ could drastically hurt the chances of enforcing the contract, as it does not state the terms that it was meant to. Having a contract attorney review an agreement before you sign is always important.
If you are entering into a contract and want to make sure contract law is on your side, contact our Seattle contract attorney for a consultation.