Void and Voidable Contracts
An otherwise valid contract may be void pursuant to the law. That is, state law identifies certain types of contracts that are deemed void from the outset. These include contracts that violate public policy or have an illegal purpose. A voidable contract is an agreement where either one or both parties has the right to make the contract void. That is, the contract is valid and enforceable until one party elects to void it.
⁃ Example: A contract to purchase illegal drugs is void. A party to a contract who is below the legal age of mental capacity may void the contract at any point before she reaches the age of mental capacity. Various situations where contracts are deemed valid, enforceable, void, or voidable are discussed further below.
⁃ Discussion: What do you think are the justifications for deeming a contract voidable? Can you think of scenarios where you think one party should be allowed to get out of the contract, but not the other party? Can you think of scenarios where both parties should be allowed out of the contract?
⁃ Practice Question: Amy is extremely angry at David. She hires Laura to pour sugar into the gas tank of David’s car. Laura loses her nerve and backs out of their agreement? Can Amy enforce her agreement with Laura?