The day after

For 20 years, readers of the Centralian Advocate looked forward to the Friday edition. Therein Povey Stirk Lawyers published a 300 word tale of fiction based on legally newsworthy events.

The following is a sample of these blogs.

20 March 2009

Cooper woke up on Sunday afternoon with a throbbing headache. He couldn’t remember much about the previous Saturday night, but knew that it had involved substantial amounts of alcohol.


Cooper was just about to make some breakfast, when there was a knock at the door. It was his football team-mate Pigskin, a shifty and opportunistic character. Pigskin gleefully waved a piece of paper under Cooper’s nose. “This is a contract you signed last night, in which you clearly state that you will sell your new laptop to me for a carton of milk and a piece of string.”


Cooper’s headache got worse. Now that he thought about it, he did remember signing a piece of paper. However, he was pretty drunk at the time, and Pigskin must have known this. Surely he couldn’t be held to a contract made whilst under the influence?


Except in situations where a drunk person has contracted for the supply of a necessity, he or she will not be held to a contract that he or she entered into whilst in a state of drunkenness. This is because a drunk person does not have the mental capacity to create a binding agreement. In such situations the contract is voidable, which means that after creation it remains provisionally enforceable, but this enforceability is subject to later ratification or rejection by the now sobered-up party.


Anyone seeking to reject a contract made while drunk will need to prove two things; firstly, that his or her mental state was impaired to the point that he or she was not capable of understanding the nature of what he or she was agreeing to; and secondly, that the other party was aware of his or her drunkeness, and consequent incapacity to understand the deal.

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Disclaimer: This document provides general information and is not legal advice. While we endeavour to ensure the information is correct at the date of publication, laws frequently change. If anything in this post is relevant to you, please contact us for advice on your specific situation.