Ab initio definition law is a Latin word meaning from the first act, from the beginning, or from inception. An agreement is considered to be “void ab initio” if it is not legally valid at any point in time. The term ab initio can be used in a lot of instances. For example, an estate can be said to be good, an act or marriage can be unlawful, a deed or agreement can be void, or a party may be a trespasser, ab initio.

Abuse of Right

The revelation of the true facts or the illegality of the conduct makes the situation illegal ab initio (from the very beginning) and not at the point when the illegal/wrongful behavior was discovered or occurred. Individuals who enter a property lawfully but behave improperly have abused their right to be on the grounds of the property and are trespassers ab initio.

Examples of Wrongful Conduct Ab Initio

For instance, a sheriff who enters a property under a court order's authority that empowers him to seize an expensive painting but also takes a valuable marble sculpture is said to be a trespasser ab initio. Since the sheriff abused the court's authority, it is presumed that from the outset, he intended to use the authority to cloak his real intentions of entering the property for a wrong purpose.

Renders the Faulty Document Nonexistent

"Void ab initio" is a term that appears in the context of many legal arguments. It is used when one party argues that no legal document or contract exists. To skilled legal practitioners, the use of the term signals the direction that the counsel to the plaintiff or defendant will take, but to the unversed, it sounds like any other legalese. The term can be used either by the defendant or the plaintiff, depending on the party that wants to declare the document or contract void.

Proof of Assertion

It should be noted that merely declaring a document void ab initio is not sufficient. The defendant or plaintiff making the assertion must present sufficient reason or adequate evidence proving that the document is void. For example, the plaintiff could argue that the will in question is void ab initio due to reasons such as

  • Undue influence
  • Duress
  • Forgery

If the argument is valid, it will prevent the execution of the will, since the court will consider the will to be nonexistent. As such, the decedent's estate will be distributed in line with the provisions of the prior will or the state's intestacy statutes. Likewise, a contract can be declared void ab initio owing to unfair dealings or unconscionability, resulting in the contract being declared void. Defendants can also use void ab initio so that a court of law will not award damages or force performance against them.

Voidable and Void ab initio

It is essential to note the differences between voidable and void ab initio. A contract or agreement is voidable when it contains flaws sufficient to invalidate the terms of the contract. These flaws could arise during the tenure of the contract and may be resolved in any number of ways. However, a contract that is void ab initio will be treated as though it never existed.

Case Ab Initio

If a law court rules that a thing has been the case ab initio, it usually means that the ruling applies from the point when the act or circumstances surrounding the case occurred or came into effect, rather than at the time of the court's ruling. This means that any document declared by a court to be void ab initio is invalid from the point in time it was signed, written, or came into effect.

Ab Initio in Contract Law

The term “ab initio” is especially important in the area of contract law. Once a contract or document is declared void ab initio, it cannot be modified or remedied to correct what is wrong. This is because the court's ruling establishes that the contract never existed and, as such, has no binding power over the parties involved.

For instance, if an individual signs a document or contract under false assumptions or duress, a court will most likely declare that the contract is void ab initio since the individual didn't have enough information on the terms of the contract or did not sign the document or contract of his or her own free will.

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