What does it mean when a contract is unenforceable?

An unenforceable contract is a contract that is valid but that a court decides not to enforce. Usually, unenforceable is used in contrast to void the contract or void it. A void contract is a contract that is not legally valid. A voidable contract occurs when one of the parties is not legally bound by the agreement.

A contract can become the subject of a court case when a dispute arises between the parties or when the applicability of parts of the contract or the contract as a whole is questioned. A great example that a contract cannot be enforced and becomes voidable is if a minor becomes a party to a contract; you can find more information about this example in our article on “How old do you have to be to form a contract? A contract or transaction that cannot be enforced is one that is valid but that the court will not enforce. Unenforceable is generally used in contradiction to annul (or annul ab initio) and voidable. If the parties comply with the agreement, it will be valid, but the court will not bind them if they do not.

Common types of contracts that must be in writing are prenuptial agreements, land sale or transfer contracts, and contracts that cannot be completed in one year. This category is for people who may generally be competent but who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol (including certain prescription drugs) when signing the contract. It is always best to have an attorney involved in drafting a contract, to avoid more obvious errors and to ensure that the language of the contract is clear and complete. To prove impossibility, the party will need to gather evidence to show that they cannot perform their duty due to an unexpected event over which they have no control, or the party must prove that performing their duty in the contract is much more difficult or costly now due to an outdoor event.

To be enforceable in a court of law, the contract must be legally valid, and the party against whom performance of the contract is sought must have no valid defense for claims for breach of contract. Undue influence refers to one party persuading another party to enter into an agreement by taking advantage of the parties' relationship and using pressure tactics to encourage the other to form a contract. If the court finds that a contract is excessive, you have other options instead of canceling the contract altogether. The concept of a good contract means that both people are making the agreement of their own free will and that no one has been forced to sign it.

Immeasurability refers to a term in the contract, or possibly the contract as a whole, that is so decisively unfair that the contract cannot exist in the form it currently is. Contracts that are considered unenforceable based on public policy are intended not only to protect the parties involved, but also to prevent the contract and similar contracts from causing harm to society as a whole. For example, an agreement to buy and sell illegal drugs is unenforceable, as is a contract that puts someone in a position to break the law. If one of the parties to a contract can be proven to commit fraud, the contract may be unenforceable.

If one party uses an unfair advantage during contract negotiations to pressure the other party to enter into a contract, the contract will not be executed. In addition, a court will never enforce a contract that includes anything in its terms that is already against state or federal law. An example of a transaction that is an unenforceable contract is a prostitution contract under English law. There are two types of errors in a contract: unilateral (committed by only one party) and mutual errors (committed by both parties).


Lloyd Dharas
Lloyd Dharas

General twitter enthusiast. Extreme tv maven. Infuriatingly humble internet aficionado. Typical zombieaholic. Hipster-friendly bacon junkie.