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Under what grounds can a contract be deemed void if what the contract purported to do was impossible at the time the contract was concluded?

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Published on LexisPSL on 07/12/2017

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  • Under what grounds can a contract be deemed void if what the contract purported to do was impossible at the time the contract was concluded?

Under what grounds can a contract be deemed void if what the contract purported to do was impossible at the time the contract was concluded?

In answering this Q&A, the grounds upon which a contract can be deemed to be void if what the contract purported to do was impossible at the time the contract was concluded have been taken into consideration.

A contract can be ‘deemed’ to be void by a court of law. However, a void contract, in contrast to a voidable contract, is void ab initio—from the moment it is purportedly entered into. The law treats a void contract as if it had never been made. It is not legally valid at any point in its existence and neither party can go to court to enforce its terms. See generally: Contracts—termination and contractual claims and remedies—overview and Practice Note: Void contracts.

A contract that is void must be distinguished from one that is merely voidable and one that is unenforceable.

Voidable contracts

A voidable contract is one that a party is entitled to rescind, or to have set aside by the court, by reason of some external act or event that precedes the contract and constitutes an improper inducement to enter into it (eg misrepresentation, undue influence or duress). The distinction between a void contract and a voidable contract is especially significant in the context of third party rights.

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