legal problems of genuineness of assent

Genuineness of Assent Affiliation: Legal provisions ensure that the enforceabilityof contracts is fair to all the parties involved. The agreements or promises made by the contracting parties have to be clear, concise, unambiguous, and well understood. This is due to the fact voluntary consent is a critical factor when it comes to contract performance. The terms and conditions that a contract carries must be adhered to, failure to which the contract may be voidable. For this reason, genuineness of assent greatly influences contract performance.

The contracting parties reach an agreement or promise that guides the actualization of the contract. Agreements or promises made must be consented to in order to bind all the parties to a contract. Essentially, the contracting process has to be genuine. If the genuineness of assent is questionable, the underlying contract(s) might fail to be legally binding. However, there are legal challenges involved relative to proving lack of genuineness of assent in a contract context. The enforceability of a contract is subject to genuineness of assent (Miller, 2012).

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Contracts are effectively and efficiently performed where genuineness of assent is not questionable. When genuineness of assent is characterized by doubt or lack of it altogether, legal provisions applicable to the contract context take their course. In this respect, the primary legal problems and challenges that surround genuineness of assent include mistake, misrepresentation, undue influence, or duress (Miller, 2012). The occurrence of these factors in a contract jeopardizes voluntary consent.

Mistakes in contracting can be made by one or more parties. In most cases, mistakes in contracting are either factual or value-based. On its part, misrepresentation encompasses fraudulent and non-fraudulent practices that could be perpetrated by one, more than one, or all the contracting parties. Where a contracting party’s free will is overcome by the influence of another party resulting in contract consent that is not driven by free will, undue influence is realized (Miller, 2012). Moreover, an agreement or promise made under threats or force is not genuine. an aspect referred to as duress. All these issues constitute legal problems involved in contracting as far as genuineness of assent is concerned.

For a contractual offer to be null and void relative to absence of genuineness, there are conditions that must be satisfied relative to mistake, misrepresentation, undue influence, or duress in contracting (Miller, 2012). Whether the mistake is unilateral or bilateral, the underlying condition is that the mistake has to be factual, not value-based regardless of whether the mistake was done by the promisor, promisee, or both. The condition that characterize misrepresentation in contracting entail evidencing material fact misrepresentation, intent to deceive, and reliability of the innocent party on the misrepresentation (Miller, 2012).

Use of force and threats in contracting constitute another avenue that affects genuineness of assent. The exertion of undue influence must be proven based on the underlying contractual benefits, especially to the party subdued by the influence. On the other hand, use of threats in contracting violates genuineness of assent. In the context of threats, the contract is null and voidable if wrongful or illegal threats are employed.


Miller, R. L. (2012). Fundamentals of Business Law: Summarized Cases (9th ed.). New York: Cengage Learning.

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