The topic of this podcast is an introduction to defenses to enforcement of a contract based upon defects in the bargaining process, capacity of one of the parties, or public policy. There are three sets of defenses to enforcement of a contract which is otherwise valid. The first set of defenses relate to capacity to contract. There are three capacity related defenses: (i) infancy (where a party is a minor, meaning below the age of majority), (ii) mental illness or defect; and (iii) intoxication. The second set of defenses involves circumstances where a party might argue that their assent to contract was flawed such that enforcement should not be had against them. There are five assent related defenses: (i) mistake; (ii) misrepresentation; (iii) duress; (iv) undue influence; and (v) unconscionability. The last set of defenses relates to contracts that violate societal norms, including illegality and public policy. Each of these defenses have their own elements that dictate whether a party can avoid the contract or whether the contract is simply void.
This podcast introduces the defenses, but an in-depth review of the defenses and their elements are left to other podcasts. At the conclusion of this podcast, you should be able to (1) identify the defenses related to incapacity, assent and public policy; and (2) describe how defenses might render a contract void or might be used to enable a party to rescind a contract otherwise validly entered into.