Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
That which is not absolutely void, but may be avoided.
In contracts, voidable is a term typically used with respect to a contract that is valid and binding unless avoided or declared void by a party to the contract who is legitimately exercising a power to avoid the contractual obligations.
A contract may be voidable on the grounds of Fraud, mistake, Misrepresentation, lack of capacity, duress, Undue Influence, or abuse of a fiduciary relationship. A contract that is based on one of these grounds is not automatically void but is voidable at the option of the party entitled to avoid it. For example, a person who was induced by fraud to enter into a contract may disclaim the contract by taking some positive action to disaffirm the contract. Or the victim of the fraud may ratify the contract by his or her conduct or by an express affirmation after acquiring full knowledge of the facts. Likewise, a contract between a minor and another party is generally viewed as voidable by the minor. The minor may legally decide to ratify the contract or disaffirm the contract.
A voidable marriage is a marriage that is valid when entered into and remains completely valid until a party obtains a court order nullifying the relationship. The parties may ratify a voidable marriage upon removal of the impediment preventing a lawful marriage, thus making the union valid. Living together as Husband and Wife following the removal of the impediment typically constitutes a ratification. A voidable marriage can only be attacked by a direct action brought by one of the parties against the other and therefore cannot be attacked after the death of a spouse. It differs from a void marriage where no valid marital relationship ever existed.
Most jurisdictions hold that the marriage of a person under the statutory age of consent but over the age of seven is voidable rather than void. Such a marriage may be subject to attack through an Annulment or may be ratified when the under-age party reaches the age of consent. Some jurisdictions have determined that a marriage involving an incompetent party is void, but others hold that such a marriage is only voidable. A voidable marriage involving an incompetent party may be ratified during periods when the party is lucid or after she or he regains competency. Generally, a marriage procured or induced by certain types of fraud is viewed as voidable; voluntary Cohabitation following a disclosure of all pertinent facts ratifies the marriage. A marriage made without the voluntary consent of one of the parties is generally considered voidable. Moreover, a person who is so intoxicated at the time of marriage as to be incapable of understanding the nature of the marital contract lacks the capacity to consent, and such a marriage is voidable.
adj. capable of being made void. Example: a contract entered into by a minor under 18 is voidable upon his/her reaching majority, but the minor may also affirm the contract at that time. "Voidable" is distinguished from "void" in that it means only that a thing can become void, but is not necessarily so. (See: void)
voidableadjective capable of being adjudged innalid, capable of being adjudged void, capable of being annulled, capable of being declared ineffectual, capable of being declared void, defeasible, liable to be annulled, revocable, subject to being revoked, subject to cancellation
Associated concepts: voidable contract, voidable judgment, voidable marriage, voidable preference
See also: defeasible
VOIDABLE. That which has some force or effect, but which, in consequence of
some inherent quality, may be legally annulled or avoided.
2. As a familiar example, may be mentioned the case of a contract, made by an infant with an adult, which maybe avoided or confirmed by the former on his coining of age. Vide Parties, contracts.
3. Such contracts are generally of binding force until avoided by the party having a right to annul them. Bac. Ab. Infancy, 1 3; Com. Dig. Enfant; Fonb. Eq. b. 1, c. 2, Sec. 4, note b; 3 Burr. 1794 Nels. Ch. R. 5 5; 1 Atk. 3 5 4; Str. 9 3 7; Perk. Sec. 12. VOIR. An old French word, which signifies the same as the modern word vrai, true. Voir dire, to speak truly, to tell the truth.
2. When a witness is supposed to have an interest in the cause, the party against whom he is called has the choice to prove such interest by calling another witness to that fact, or be may require the witness produced to be sworn on his voir dire as to whether he has an interest in the cause, or not, but the party against whom he is called will not be allowed to have recourse to both methods to prove the witness interest. If the witness answers he has no interest, he is competent, his oath being conclusive; if he swears he has an interest, he will be rejected.
3. Though this is the rule established beyond the power of the courts to change, it seems not very satisfactory. The witness is sworn on his voir dire to ascertain whether he has an interest, which would disqualify him, because he would be tempted to perjure himself, if he testified when interested. But when he is asked whether he has such an interest, if he is dishonest and anxious to be sworn in the case, he will swear falsely he has none, and his answer being conclusive, he will be admitted as competent; if, on the contrary, he swears truly he has an interest, when he knows that will exclude him, he is told that for being thus honest, he must be rejected. See, generally, 12 Vin. Ab. 48; 22 Vin. Ab. 14; 1 Dall, 375; Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.; and Interest.