Difference between Illegal Agreement and Unlawful Agreement

When it comes to legal terminology, it can be easy to get confused between similar-sounding terms that have different meanings. Two such terms are “illegal agreement” and “unlawful agreement.” While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are important differences between them.

An illegal agreement is a contract or agreement that violates a specific law or statute. For example, an agreement to sell illegal drugs is illegal because it violates drug laws. Another example is an agreement to engage in price fixing, which is illegal under antitrust laws.

On the other hand, an unlawful agreement is one that violates public policy or morals. This means that the agreement is not necessarily illegal, but it goes against societal values. An example of an unlawful agreement is a contract for a hitman to carry out a murder. While murder is illegal, the contract itself is not strictly illegal, but it violates public policy.

Another important difference between illegal and unlawful agreements is the consequences of each. If an agreement is found to be illegal, it is void and unenforceable. This means that neither party can enforce the agreement, and any funds or property exchanged as part of the agreement may have to be returned.

In contrast, an unlawful agreement may still be enforceable, but a court may refuse to enforce it on the grounds that it violates public policy. This can make it difficult for either party to receive damages or uphold their end of the agreement.

It`s also worth noting that some agreements may be both illegal and unlawful. For example, an agreement to discriminate against a specific group of people would be both illegal (violating discrimination laws) and unlawful (violating public policy).

In summary, while illegal and unlawful are often used interchangeably, there are important differences between them. An illegal agreement violates a specific law or statute, while an unlawful agreement violates public policy. Additionally, an illegal agreement is void and unenforceable, while an unlawful agreement may still be enforceable but may be refused by a court on public policy grounds. It`s essential to understand these distinctions to ensure you`re using the correct legal terminology.

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