World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Void (law)

Article Id: WHEBN0005533415
Reproduction Date:

Title: Void (law)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Remedies in Singapore constitutional law, Ab initio, Southland Corp. v. Keating, Moral economy, Confederate States of America
Collection: Contract Law, Legal Terms
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Void (law)

In law, void means of no legal effect. An action, document or transaction which is void is of no legal effect whatsoever: an absolute nullity — the law treats it as if it had never existed or happened.

The term void ab initio, which means "to be treated as invalid from the outset," comes from adding the Latin phrase ab initio (from the beginning) as a qualifier. For example, in many jurisdictions where a person signs a contract under duress, that contract is treated as being void ab initio.

Black's Law Dictionary defines "void" as:[1]

Void. Null; ineffectual; nugatory; having no legal force or binding effect; unable, in law, to support the purpose for which it was intended.
which means there is no legal obligation therefore there will be no breach of contract since the contract is null .


The dictionary further goes on to define void ab initio as:

Void ab initio. A contract is null from the beginning if it seriously offends law or public policy in contrast to a contract which is merely voidable at the election of one of the parties to the contract.

In practical terms, void is usually used in contradistinction to "voidable" and "unenforceable", the principal difference being that an action which is voidable remains valid until it is avoided. The significance of this usually lies in the possibility of third party rights being acquired in good faith. For example, in Cundy v Lindsay (1878), a con man posing as a retailer induced Messrs Lindsay & Co to deliver to him a quantity of handkerchiefs. The fraudster then sold the handkerchiefs on to an innocent third party, Mr Cundy, and did not repay Lindsay; in fact the money was never recovered. Lindsay, claiming ownership of the handkerchiefs, sued Cundy for their return. If the contract of sale was held to be voidable for fraud, then Lindsay & Co would only have recourse against the insolvent fraudster. However, if (as was in fact held) the contract of sale was void ab initio, then title did not pass from Lindsay to the fraudster in the first place, and Lindsay could claim back the handkerchiefs as their property. Mr Cundy was left with only a claim against the insolvent fraudster.

In every case, third parties involved with bad faith in void or voidable contracts not only are affected by nullity, but may also be liable for statutory damages.

However, the right to avoid a voidable transaction can be lost (usually lost by delay). These are sometimes referred to as "bars to rescission". Such considerations do not apply to matters affected by absolute nullity, or void ab initio.

References

  1. ^ "Void." Black's Law Dictionary, 2nd edition.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.