Reading time: 5 minutes

Even if you have signed a contract, it is possible that you and the other party do not fully agree on what you have signed. There may be circumstances that affected the formation of the contract, such as misrepresentation or duress, and as a result, you may be able to get out of the contractThis article will explain your rights and how you can void a contract.

What is the Difference Between a Void and Voidable Contract?

You may have heard of ‘void’ and ‘voidable’. Although they seem the same, they have two different legal meanings.


A void contract is one that neither party can enforce from the moment it is formed. In other words, a court will treat it as though the parties never created it.


On the other hand, a voidable contract means that there are factors which may entitle one party to end the contract. The key factors are:

  • mistake;
  • misrepresentation of facts
  • duress; or
  • undue influence.

However, unlike a void contract, you can still enforce a voidable contract.

The Reasons to Void a Contract

Reason Explanation
Mistake There are instances when parties can make mistakes when entering into a contract. Mistakes are made when there is a misunderstanding that is not caused by the other party. The mistake may be:

  • common (when both parties are mistaken about the same aspect of the contract);
  • mutual (when both parties are mistaken but about different aspects of the contract); or
  • unilateral (when one of the parties is mistaken about one aspect of the contract but the other party is not).

The remedy available is rescission which puts you and the other party back to the position that you were in before you entered into the contract.

Misrepresentation of facts

Misrepresentation occurs when the other party persuades you to enter into a contract based on something they said or represented that is untrue. For example, if the other party told you that a set of speakers were brand new but they were actually five years old, this is a misrepresentation. 

This misrepresentation can be intentional or unintentional. If it is intentional or made recklessly, it is called fraudulent misrepresentation. If it is unintentional, it is considered innocent misrepresentation. The remedies available may vary but the contract is voidable because it does not represent the true agreement of the parties. Consumer law also deals with misleading and deceptive conduct and provides other remedies like compensation.

Duress and Undue Influence The crucial aspect of duress and undue influence is that you have not genuinely consented to the contract. Duress and undue influence occur when the other party wants to enforce the contract but they have illegally obtained consent from you, either due to:

  • a threat; or
  • exerting influence on you that meant that you were not able to make an independent decision.

When Would You Want to Void a Contract?

Generally, you would want to void a contract if it does not reflect the true agreement between you and the other party for any of the factors explained above.

However, if you have a void contract, it is important to keep in mind that you have no choice whether to void the contract or not. It is simply not enforceable even if you want to keep the contract going. On the other hand, if you have a voidable contract, you can choose whether to keep the contract going or not.

If you can be restored to your position before the contract, then you may choose to void the contract. However, it is generally rare for a court to declare that a contract is void from the beginning, mainly because it is often impossible to restore you to your previous position.


Rescission is the main remedy for a void contract. It involves reversing the contract so that each party is restored to its original position. If you have a voidable contract, rescission doesn’t happen automatically. You must choose to do so. The main consideration with this remedy is whether it is possible to restore you to your positions before the contract. This may be impossible because:

  • goods may have changed hands;
  • there may have been third parties involved who did not sign the contract.

If it is not possible, you may seek other remedies depending on the reason for voiding the contract. For example, the Australian Consumer Law enables terms within contracts to be declared void if they are unfair and in some instances, compensation may be available.

Key Takeaways

If you are preparing to enter into a contract or would like to end a contract, it is important to be aware of how to void a contract and the difference between a void and voidable contract. If you want to void a contract because it does not represent a ‘true agreement’, there are different reasons you can do so, including:

  • mistake;
  • misrepresentation;
  • duress; and
  • unconscionable conduct.

If you need a lawyer to review your contract or assess your options to end your contract, you can contact LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page. 


Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

MG Moyo
Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards