Discharge of a contract

National law – SP – The Spanish Legal System – chapter 2

A contract is discharged when it does not arrive to unfold the effects to what it was destined to. Discharges of a contract can be divided in two types (Gómez 2015):


It occurs when the contract is affected by the existence of essential elements which are not applicable by the legal system. Depending on the gravity of the circumstances it can be distinguish between:

Lack of existence

A contract is considered inexistent when it omits an element required by the legal business.


It is the greatest qualification of the legal system. It revokes any legal effectiveness to the contract relationship. It occurs when the contract is against imperative or prohibited norms, or when it lacks any requirement understood as inexistent.


It presents some anomaly proceeding from determined conflicts on the capability or willingness giving place to the action of nullity or impugnation.

Cancellation is a class of disability focused to the protection of one of the parts of the contractual relation, only when that part is legitimated to plead, which will produce the destruction of the act with retroactive character or co-validation of the contract through confirmation.

Causes of cancellation

Mistake: in order for the mistake to cause the cancellation, it should fall over the substance of the matter which was object of the contract, or over those conditions which were principally giving motive to it. A mistake about the person will only cancel the contract when the person was the principal cause of the contract.


It is considered as violence when “in order to get the agreement it is used an irresistible force”. It is given in the causes when the willingness of the contractor is replaced by the one of the aggressor.


It occurs when it is inspired in one of the contractors a rational and funded fear to suffer an imminent harm, either to the person, goods, descendants, family…

It must exist an efficient relation of causality between the fear and the agreement. The threat needs to announce an upcoming and grave evil, and it needs to be unjust and extravagant to Law. If the threat is merely related to the exercise of law, it is not considered intimidation.


It consists on inducing other people to celebrate a contract incurring in an error. It occurs when someone makes a contractor participate in a contract through words and schemes, when he/she would have not participated otherwise. In order for the contract to be annulled, it should be grave.

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