When entering into a contract, it is important to understand the potential vitiating factors that may render the agreement void or voidable. These factors can range from the misrepresentation of facts to duress, coercion or undue influence, and can have serious consequences on the enforceability of the contract.


A misrepresentation occurs when one party makes a false statement of fact that induces the other party to enter into the contract. The statement can be express or implied, and it must be material to the contract. If the misrepresentation is innocent, or the party making it had no reason to suspect it was false, the contract may still be enforceable. If, however, the misrepresentation is knowing and intentional, the contract may be voidable.


Duress occurs when one party is forced to enter into a contract under the threat of physical harm or other harm to their person or property. The threat can be explicit or implied, and it must be serious enough to overcome the other party`s free will. If duress can be proven, the contract may be voidable.

Coercion or Undue Influence

Coercion occurs when one party uses psychological or emotional force to pressure the other party into entering into the contract. This can take the form of threats, intimidation, or even flattery. Undue influence occurs when one party has a position of power or authority over the other party, such as a doctor or lawyer, and uses that position to influence the other party`s decision. If coercion or undue influence can be proven, the contract may be voidable.


A mistake occurs when one or both parties enter into the contract based on an incorrect understanding of the facts. There are two types of mistake: mutual mistake and unilateral mistake. Mutual mistake occurs when both parties are mistaken about a material fact, while unilateral mistake occurs when only one party is mistaken. If the mistake is material and affects the essence of the contract, the contract may be voidable.


If the subject matter of the contract is illegal, the contract is void from the outset. This can occur if the contract is in violation of criminal or civil law, or if it violates public policy.


Understanding the vitiating factors of a contract is essential when entering into any agreement. By being aware of these factors, parties can avoid entering into a contract that may be void or voidable, and can ensure that their agreements are enforceable and legally sound. If you are in doubt about the enforceability of a contract, it is always best to seek the advice of a qualified legal professional.