In contract law, four requirements must be met in order for there to be a contract. The first three elements are offer, acceptance, and consideration. They are dealt with fully elsewhere. The fourth is applicable defenses. It is vital to fully understand every defense because a single valid defense can render an entire contract voidable, unenforceable, or even completely void.
Contracts are also unenforceable if there is no consideration, but that also is a whole different subject, with its own special exceptions, limitations and other nuances. So, instead of trying to get an overview of the entirety of the law of contracts, let us get a general overview of the defenses to formation of a contract.
There are nine defenses. They are the statute of frauds, incapacity, illegality, the parol evidence rule (which is more of an evidence rule, as its name indicates), unconscionability, mistake, misrepresentation, duress, and undue influence. Continue reading →