A void or non-existent contract is a legal agreement that is considered null and void from the beginning. Such contracts do not have any legal standing, and they do not create any legal obligations or rights. There are several reasons why a contract could be void or non-existent.
The following are some of the characteristics of a void or non-existent contract:
1. Lack of capacity: When one or more parties to a contract lack the legal capacity to enter into a contract, the contract may be void. For example, a contract entered into by a minor is void because a minor lacks the legal capacity to enter into a contract.
2. Illegality: A contract that involves an illegal activity or purpose is void. For example, a contract entered into for the purpose of committing a crime is void.
3. Mistake: When both parties to a contract make a mistake regarding the terms of the agreement, the contract may be void. For example, if both parties agree to sell a car, but later discover that the car was destroyed before the contract was entered into, the contract may be void.
4. Fraud: A contract that is entered into as a result of fraud is voidable. Fraud involves the intentional misrepresentation or concealment of material facts. If one party to a contract fraudulently induced the other party to enter into the agreement, the contract may be voidable.
5. Duress: A contract that is entered into under duress is voidable. Duress involves the use of force or threats to coerce a party to enter into a contract. If one party to a contract was forced to enter into the agreement under duress, the contract may be voidable.
6. Statute of limitations: A contract that is entered into after the expiration of the statute of limitations may be void. The statute of limitations is a legal time limit within which a contract must be enforced. If the contract is not enforced within the prescribed time limit, it may be void.
In conclusion, contracts that are void or non-existent do not have any legal standing. If you are unsure whether a contract is legally enforceable, you may want to consult with a legal professional. By understanding the characteristics of a void or non-existent contract, you can protect yourself from unnecessary legal disputes or obligations.