In the everyday life, people make choices on various subjects. The personal rights in the constitution grant every individual the chance and ability to choose. This cognitive process, which facilitates the individual to decide and commit to any course of action, refers to volition. It is a psychological venture, which hypothesizes the choices and actions that individuals take collectively with knowledge of the consequences that will follow the action or choice. In law, an individual, a board, or any group of persons can submit an ordinance of volition that outlines the expectations of the people, or evidence of an act. A contract is whichever concurrence enforceable by the law, creating obligations on the signing parties. The basic elements of contract and the law of contract assume the incorporation of volition in totality.
The statutes that govern volition in contract law
A contract comes into existence when two come into an agreement by mutual consent. The parties can agree and commit to act along a certain relation whether they commit formally or in an informal manner. The state law governs the basics of formation of a contract, which deems the agreement executable in consideration to the law of the state. Some contracts can be formal, whereas others are informal. However, the determination of the formality of the contract does not limit the basic principles of formation of a contract. The contract entails four basic elements, which form the statutes of volition in the law of contract. The statutory of the state, common law and private law, all govern the formation of contract in a related manner, with few differences existent amongst them.
The elements of the law of contract that define volition in a contract include the capacity to contract. The ability of a person to know and understand the contract terms is capacity. A contract that is valid the parties therein must have the capacity. The law considers minors, intoxicated and mentally impaired not to have the capacity. Therefore, volition is for the able people, who have the capacity to commit to a contract after understanding the terms of the contract to a full extent. The element of capacity defines that the person making a choice to join the contract be of sound mind and age, thus capacity to contract. Secondly, there is the element of mutual agreement. A mutual agreement is when two or more parties have alike thinking; hence, "a meeting of their minds." In such a case, an agreement can exist between the people and commitment into a contract is achievable. Both parties have the right to understand the agreement, ensuring that there are no misapprehensions between the parties or mistakes existing amongst them. Such a situation exists when there is an offer and the offered accepts the offer, thus validating the contract. This acceptance of the offer has to be voluntary, from the free will of a person in a sound mind. In case of negotiations, the final free will of the offered has to have preeminence, as it is all about the free will to make a choice that will bind the individual.
The third element that dictates volition in contract law is consideration. There should be exchange of consideration in a valid contract between the parties. In the commission of contract, there should be exchange of something that is real value, may be a tangible object or a performance of an act or a promise a future consideration. This consideration indicates the volition of the person in joining the contract, as this indicates there is free will to commit. A contract, once there is consideration accepted by all parties, then it indicates that there is voluntariness from the part of individuals and they have the go ahead on the contract. They can thus engage in the contract as there is free will established in the contract. The other element of volition in contract law is the aspect of transfer of contract rights and duties. At a certain point, the rights and duties of one of the involved parties, or all the parties may need transfer to a third party. In such a scenario, the third party, who is the assignee, has the same rights as the assignor. Therefore, in this case, the law provides that such transfer should only occur with the consent of the parties initially involved in the contract. They both should have consent to transfer the contract to the third party and any other subsequent parties. Thus, volition is a necessity in the transferring of the contract or duties and rights of the persons in the contract to other parties.
What does the current case law reveal on this issue?
The law is clear on some of the issues concerning volition in contract law, whereas, in others, it does not define the expectations clearly. It dictates the categories of contracts and outlines the requirements and prospects of the parties who wish to engage in the contract. It also states that it will not enforce all contracts, as some are wary of impeachment. In the case where the contract is illegal, this affects the enforceability of the contract. If the contract is illegal by a certain statute, it undergoes interpretation in view of that statute to determine its enforceability. The contracts prohibited by the statute will be invalid, irrespective of the knowledge of the parties. However, in the case where one of the parties commits an illegality, and the other is unaware of that illegality committed, they can still enforce the contract or recover the damages caused by the party.
The entry into the contract involves the element of free will and the proper understanding of the expectations on each party. Therefore, the law requires that the consent of each of the parties be genuine and free of coercion or any other factor that may hinder the enforceability of the contract. Only in the case where there is proper consent given, then there is an existing and binding contract; otherwise, the contract is invalid, it is non-existent.
How age, duress, intoxication, mental disability and other conditions affects voluntariness to contract
Volition dictates the application of free will in making a decision about any involvement that a person wishes to engage. However, in the process of drawing a contract, some factors hinder and influence the contract execution. These factors outlined in the legal continuum of the state laws show the inhibitors and limitations to the exercising of the personal free will by a certain group of people. These limiting factors can form the basis for annulment of a contract, when they appear in the existing contract.
The factors that affect voluntariness in the commission to a contract include the mental status of the individual. In general, people have the free will to enter into any contract, whether they have a mental impairment or are temporarily, not in a position to make rational judgment. This partial or full mental impairment allows the individuals vulnerability to being in contracts that they may not fathom fully. The individual may enter into a contract that will bind them without their knowledge. Therefore, the initial element of capacity to draw the contract only arises when the contract is in place. The way the person entered into the contract does not matter, rather the law does provide some form of protection for the individual. The statutes of voluntariness ascertain that a person enters into a contract if they are of sound mind and are conscious of the pledge they are making. Therefore, the mentally impaired person does not have the capacity to consent, as they may not have the general understanding of the contract. For instance, a person who is partially mentally impaired may understand simple acts such as the buying of loaf but not buying a car on credit. Therefore, the complicated stuff limits the impaired person's ability to commit to any form of contract. A person with such intellectual or psychiatric disability is partially liable to a reasonable extent and may pay the price for the necessaries in the contract that binds them. The contract with the mentally impaired is not valid, especially if the other party accepted the voluntariness of the mentally impaired person without knowledge of their condition. Similarly, if the person knew of the incidence but did not understand the extent of the mental capacity of that person, the law does allow the person the benefit of annulling the contract. Therefore, mental impaired and disability does prevent people from voluntariness in contract or any commitment that would dim them liable for their actions. The unconscious self of mentally impaired person makes them unreliable for voluntary actions in contract.
Secondly, there is the issue of the age of the participant in the formation of the contract. Voluntariness is about an individual voluntarily agreeing to commit to certain actions, which then holds them responsible for that action. However, the law in most states dictates the person under the age of eighteen as…