Contracts are agreements that are meant to be legally binding. They are entered into by two or more parties with the intention of fulfilling certain obligations and achieving particular goals. However, not all contracts have legal standing. There are situations in which a contract may be deemed invalid and unenforceable. In this article, we will explore what makes a contract null and void and has no legal effect.

Illegal Contracts

If a contract involves illegal activities, it is considered null and void. For instance, if an agreement is entered into with the intention of committing a crime or breaking the law, such a contract is not legally binding. For example, if two parties agree to sell illegal drugs, the contract would be considered invalid and would have no legal standing.

Contracts with Minors

Contracts with minors (those under the age of 18) are generally voidable and may be cancelled by either party. This is because minors are considered to be lacking in the capacity to make informed decisions. As a result, their agreements are not considered to be legally binding.

Fraudulent Contracts

A contract entered into under fraudulent circumstances is also considered voidable. This means that the innocent party can choose to cancel the contract if they discover that they were deceived. For example, if a car dealer sells a car to a customer by misrepresenting its condition, the customer may be able to cancel the contract.

Contracts with Duress

If a party enters into a contract under duress, the contract is considered null and void. Duress refers to a situation where one party is compelled to sign the contract due to coercion or threats. For example, if a person signs an agreement because they are threatened with physical harm, the contract would be considered invalid.


If both parties to a contract make a mistake, the contract may be cancelled. This is known as a mutual mistake. If, for example, both parties agree to purchase a piece of land, thinking that it is larger than it actually is, the contract may be voided.


Contracts are essential for conducting business and establishing relationships between parties. However, not all contracts have legal standing. Contracts that involve illegal activities, minors, fraudulent activities, duress, and mutual mistakes may be declared null and void. As a professional, it`s essential to keep these factors in mind when reviewing and writing contracts. By doing so, you can ensure that the contracts you work on are legally binding and enforceable.