Contract Law For Dummies
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A contract defense is any legal challenge to a contract’s enforceability. Following are common contract defenses:
  • Illegality: The agreement itself is illegal or violates public policy.

  • Unconscionability: The agreement is so one-sided that it shocks the conscience of the court.

  • Mental incapacity or incompetence: One of the parties had a mental illness or incapacity at the time of contract formation.

  • Party was a minor: A party was not of legal age (younger than 18 years).

  • Fraud: A party made an affirmative misrepresentation or failed to disclose something that he or she was required to disclose.

  • Duress: One party made an unlawful threat to the other, giving that person no reasonable alternative but to enter into the contract.

  • Undue influence: A dominant party used an inappropriate method of persuasion to convince a weaker or more vulnerable party to enter into a contract against his better judgment.

  • Mistake: The parties entered into the agreement with a belief that was not in accord with the facts, and the belief goes to a basic assumption of the contract and is material.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Scott J. Burnham is the Curley Professor of Commercial Law at Gonzaga University School of Law. For 30 years he has taught Contracts at law schools internationally and throughout the U.S. He is also a prolific writer on legal topics and a consultant on contract drafting for numerous businesses.

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