“Consent” as a necessary element is, in some ways, the same as having the “mutual assent” necessary to form a contract. Consent means to agree willingly. There is a free-will component to consent. Consent to a contract must be free of force, intimidation or trick. Old melodramas where sweet Nell is tricked or forced by the evil villain into signing the deed to the ranch miss the issue of consent. Contracts induced by force, intimidation or trickery are not enforceable, or if you like, they are void.

Another component of consent often overlooked is the idea of mistake. A mistake as to what is being purchased can destroy consent. If I consent to A, but unbeknownst to either party what is really offered is B, can I be said to have consented to B? This issue of mistake is a powerful one and is discussed in detail in the section on Contract Formation.
Back to Top