unconscionable

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Unconscionable

Unusually harsh and shocking to the conscience; that which is so grossly unfair that a court will proscribe it.

When a court uses the word unconscionable to describe conduct, it means that the conduct does not conform to the dictates of conscience. In addition, when something is judged unconscionable, a court will refuse to allow the perpetrator of the conduct to benefit.

In contract law an unconscionable contract is one that is unjust or extremely one-sided in favor of the person who has the superior bargaining power. An unconscionable contract is one that no person who is mentally competent would enter into and that no fair and honest person would accept. Courts find that unconscionable contracts usually result from the exploitation of consumers who are often poorly educated, impoverished, and unable to find the best price available in the competitive marketplace.

Contractual provisions that indicate gross one-sidedness in favor of the seller include provisions that limit damages against the seller, limit the rights of the purchaser to seek court relief against the seller, or disclaim a Warranty. State and federal Consumer Protection and Consumer Credit laws were enacted to prevent many of these unconscionable contract provisions from being included in sales contracts.

Unconscionability is determined by examining the circumstances of the parties when the contract was made; these circumstances include, for example, the bargaining power, age, and mental capacity of the parties. The doctrine is applied only where it would be an affront to the integrity of the judicial system to enforce such contracts.

Unconscionable conduct is also found in acts of Fraud and deceit, where the deliberate Misrepresentation of fact deprives someone of a valuable possession. Whenever someone takes unconscionable advantage of another person, the action may be treated as criminal fraud or the civil action of deceit.No standardized criteria exist for measuring whether an action is unconscionable. A court of law applies its conscience, or moral sense, to the facts before it and makes a subjective judgment. The U.S. Supreme Court's "shock the conscience test" in rochin v. california, 342 U.S. 165, 72 S. Ct. 205, 96 L. Ed. 183 (1952), demonstrates this approach. The Court ruled that pumping the stomach of a criminal suspect in search of drugs offends "those canons of decency and fairness which express the notions of justice of English-speaking peoples." The Court relied on these general historical and moral traditions as the basis for ruling unconstitutional an unconscionable act.

unconscionable

adj. referring to a contract or bargain which is so unfair to a party that no reasonable or informed person would agree to it. In a suit for breach of contract, a court will not enforce an unconscionable contract (award damages or order specific performance) against the person unfairly treated on the theory that he/she was misled, lacked information, or signed under duress or misunderstanding. It is similar to an "adhesion contract," in which one party has taken advantage of a person dealing from weakness. (See: contract, adhesion contract)

unconscionable

morally abhorrent. In the legal context, from time to time and place to place the law insofar as not already incorporating moral issues allows exceptions to allow parties some degree of relief from being imposed upon. The modern legal conception tends to be discussed around the more practical and objective concept of inequality of bargaining position, which can help consumers as much as the more traditional beneficiary of protection the small debtor pressed for excessive interest or repossession.
References in periodicals archive ?
The first gallery houses what the artist calls his "skyscapes." Using a telescopic lens, Paglen captures clandestine drone warfare, secret satellites, and an unconscionably large National Security Agency data center.
Russia unconscionably refuses to halt its arms sales to the Assad government.
"The Artist" is a nostalgia-drenched paean to the silent movie era and all of its conventions -- the unconscionably sentimental stories, the unrelenting bombast of the score (here composed by Ludovic Bource) and, of course, the actor's scenery-chewing pantomime mugging at the camera.
It is oppressive because each of the accused has already been the subject of a very lengthy first criminal trial involving at times unconscionably harsh conditions of incarceration and transport."
Now, it's just another drag on recovery; that seems unconscionably inappropriate.
At this critical juncture when the intractable problems confronting nations have been fused into one common concern for the whole world, failure to stem the tide of conflict and disorder would be unconscionably irresponsible.
Where were the unconscionably overpaid CEOs and bank presidents?
In all fairness, however, neither of us had shot skeet in an unconscionably long time.
IS it a great idea for ITV to base a prime-time show on a crusty old man going round the country being unconscionably rude to people?
"Corcoran unconscionably and flagrantly retaliated against Shmueli because of her refusal to commit perjury for Corcoran in a separate civil lawsuit," Fahringer argued in court documents.
The suit also alleges that the terms of loan modifications were unconscionably one-sided in favor of AHMSI."
To maintain effective parity against its much larger neighbour, Pakistan has sought external alliances, spent an unconscionably great amount of money on defence, made nuclear weapons and finally unleashed a covert war with the help of Islamist jihadis.