Contracts: Conduct Invalidating Assent

When considering whether there is “mutual assent”, sometimes called a “meeting of the minds” which is required for a contract to be formed, one of the issues is the existence of conduct that invalidates assent.  

Conduct Invalidating Assent:

Duress

  • Any wrongful or unlawful act or threat that overcomes the free will of a party, e.g. physical compulsion or improper threats

Undue Influence

  • taking unfair advantage of a person by reason of a dominant position based upon a confidential relationship

Fraud (Intentional Misrepresentation)

  • in the execution – misrepresentation that deceives the defrauded person as to the nature of the contract; renders the transaction void
  • in the inducement – fraud (Elements:  false representation, of fact, that is material, with knowledge of falsity and intent to deceive, and justifiable reliance)

Mistake

  • Mutual – both parties mistaken as to the same facts
  • Unilateral – one party is mistaken (no relief granted)
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