What are Void Cases?
What does a void case mean?
What are some examples?
In this article, I will break down the notion of Void Cases so you know all there is to know about it!
Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!
Let’s see what is a void case and look at examples!
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Table of Contents
What Are Void Cases
Void cases refer to a legal matter or case where the action is void or the legal basis based on which the action is taken is void.
For example, a contract dispute lawsuit can lead to the voiding of a contract or the court declaring that the contract was void ab initio (void from the start).
Void cases can also refer to possible court judgments voiding a proceeding or declaring that a judgment is legally void (no longer to produce any legal effect).
Let’s look at a few examples of void contracts (contract void ab initio or voidable contract cases) along with void judgments (or court orders).
Void Contract Cases
Void contract cases can be a legal case or lawsuit where the contract is considered to be void ab initio (a contract invalid from its inception) or a voidable contract (where a party to the contract has legal grounds to void the contract).
A contract void ab initio is a type of contract that cannot be legally enforced in a court of law as the court does not recognize the contract to have been legally formed in the first place.
For example, if a person was hired to kill another person for a fee, the “killer” cannot sue the “client” for the non-payment of fees as the contract was illegal or void from the start.
Void contracts cases can be based on:
- The incompetence of a contracting party
- The inclusion of unlawful objects or illegal consideration
- The impossibility of performance
A void contract is one where the contract could not have been formed or legally recognized from the outset.
Voidable Contract Cases
On the other hand, voidable contract cases are those cases where a contracting party can either confirm the contract (ratify it) or have it declared as void.
Typically, when a person’s consent was vitiated or a contract was signed based on acts of fraud or misrepresentation, the contract can be voided.
A voidable contract case can be based on:
- The consent of a party was vitiated
- There was a mistake of fact
- A party was lured or enticed to sign
- There was a disproportion in the negotiation power of the parties
- There was a contract of adhesion
The plaintiff must prove the reason why the contract should be voided otherwise the court can recognize its validity.
A void judgment refers to a court decision that was either invalid in law or was declared void by another judicial instance.
For example, if a court renders a judgment outside its legal competence or jurisdiction, the judgment is void (as the law did not allocate jurisdiction on the matter in dispute to that judge).
A judgment can be voided if a plaintiff’s constitutional rights were violated, due process was not respected, or there was a legal defect affecting the validity of the court’s judgment.
Generally, for a judgment of the court to be legally valid and enforceable, the court must have proper personal and legal jurisdiction and render a judgment based on the proper assessment of facts and law in an impartial and fair manner.
If the court did not have personal jurisdiction on a party or subject matter jurisdiction, then the judgment may be subsequently voided.
Void Cases Definition
Before defining a “void case”, let’s define “void” and “case”.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, void means:
Having no legal force or effect
In other words, something that does not produce legal effects.
Dictionary.com defines a case as follows:
A specific occurrence or matter requiring discussion, decision, or investigation, as by officials or law-enforcement authorities
In other words, a case refers to a legal matter that must be heard and decided.
In light of the definition of void and case, here is I define a void case:
A void case is a legal matter where the underlying legal basis is void or voidable, as determined by a court, tribunal, or judicial body
Void Case Laws
There is a large body of case laws considering the notion of “void contracts”, “voidable contracts”, or the enforceability or appeal factors and considerations.
For example, here are some classic case laws relating to the notion of void or voidable contracts.
By studying the case laws, you’ll find a variety of reasons why the court may void a contract, such as:
- Made by incompetent parties
- Contract signed by a minor
- Due to a material bilateral mistake
- There was unlawful consideration (promise of sexual favors)
- The object was unlawful (selling illegal drugs)
- There was no consideration for a party
- Legal restrictions on trade
- The contract restricts legal proceedings
- The contract has uncertain terms
- The contract is based on an impossible performance
Examples of Void Cases
Let’s look at a few cases involving a void or voidable contract or void judgment cases to better illustrate the notion.
Void Contract Example
Imagine that Mary suffers a significant personal injury and is hospitalized.
As she is in the hospital and mentally inept, a friend gets Mary to sign a contract where she transfers the ownership of a property she owned to her.
In this example, Mary was unable to formulate proper consent as she did not have the “capacity” to enter into a contract.
As such, the contract will be void from the outset.
Voidable Contract Example
John starts a business that he struggles to financially keep afloat.
He is concerned that without getting the proper financing, he may lose everything.
He is put in touch with a person called Marc who claims to be an angel investor.
Marc advises John that he is able to finance the company and they agree that Marc purchase 25% of Jonh’s company shares.
However, due to various acts of misrepresentation, Marc gets John to sign a contract where he signs over majority ownership to Marc.
Eventually, Marc takes control of the company and fires John from the business.
In this case, John is voidable as there was a defect with one of the elements of the contract (consideration or consent).
If John is able to prove that he did not have the intention to give the majority control to Marc, the court may void the contract.
Otherwise, the contract will remain valid and binding.
Void Judgment Example
Let’s look at an example of a court judgment issued in violation of its subject matter jurisdiction.
The law typically defines the court’s sphere of competence or authority to hear specific types of cases.
For example, a bankruptcy court has the legal authority to hear bankruptcy and insolvency cases.
A state court is generally given general jurisdiction where it may hear cases that are not exclusively assigned to another court and a federal court will hear matters with subject matters defined under the US Constitution and Congressional enabling statutes.
In the US, copyright matters are of the exclusive jurisdiction of the US federal courts.
If a state court renders a judgment relating to copyrights, we clearly have a void judgment as it does not have subject-matter authority to render a judgment on this matter.
Voidable Judgment Example
By definition, when a court makes a final judgment in a case, it definitively puts an end to the dispute and the legal proceedings formally end.
However, if a party does not agree with the terms of the judgment, believes that there’s an error of fact or law, it may appeal the judgment with the objective to void its legal enforceability.
Appealing a judgment is the process where a court of higher authority reviews the judgment issued by a lower court to confirm its application, to modify it, or to void it altogether.
The court of appeal serves the function of safeguarding against errors made by an inferior court or interpreting statutes or clarifying conflicting interpretations.
Void Case Takeaways
So there you have it folks!
What does a void case mean?
A void case means that a legal case, lawsuit, contract, or matter is “void”.
A contract, by definition, must legally come into existence when the elements of contract formation are respected.
When the parties do not respect the contract formation elements, the contract is void (as if it never came into existence).
On the other hand, a contract may legally come into existence as it appears to respect the necessary legal requirements for it to be valid, however, a party may challenge its validity (this is when a contract can be voided or is voidable).
If a person contracts with another under duress, although the contract appears to be valid but the court will void it as one of the contracting parties never truly consented to its terms.
Mistakes of fact, misrepresentation, or fraud are common reasons why a contract may be voided by the court.
I hope I was able to provide you with the essentials you need to understand the meaning of a void case.
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Void Cases Meaning
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