Answer to Question #220677 in Law for Birago Irene

Question #220677
1What is vitiating factors?

2 Briefly explain any four of them
Expert's answer

A vitiating factor is one which spoils the contract, rendering it imperfect. The standard remedy is rescission, but damages may also be available. Vitiating factors in a contract are those factors the existence of (any of) which will cripple or invalidate the contract. Vitiating elements of contract such as mistake, duress, misrepresentation, undue influence and illegality, are determinants of the validity of a contract.

The main vitiating factors in the law of contract are;

• Misinterpretation 

A misrepresentation is an untrue or misleading statement of fact which induces a person into a contract. The misled party may normally rescind the contract, and may be awarded damages as well (or instead of rescission). There are three categories of misrepresentation: fraudulent, negligent and innocent.

• Mistake

A mistake is an erroneous belief (at the time of contracting) that certain facts are true. If raised successfully, an allegation of mistake may lead to the contract being declared void ab initio or voidable; but to be effective the mistake must be operative. There are three types of contractual mistake: unilateral mistake, mutual mistake and common mistake.

• Undue influence

Undue influence is an equitable doctrine whereby a person takes advantage of a position of power over another person. This inequality in bargaining power may vitiate the weaker party's consent. 

• Duress

Duress in contract law involves illegitimate threats or violence of a physical nature used to compel someone to do something. Where the threat is a contributing reason for entering into an agreement, even if not the main reason, the agreement may be voided.

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