v line


Criminal Law, Contracts. Constraint; compulsion; force. It is positive or presumed.

Positive or direct coercion takes place when a man is by physical force compelled to do an act contrary to his will; for example, when a man falls into the hands of the enemies of his country and they compel him, by a just fear of death, to fight against it.

It is presumed where a person is legally under subjection to another and is induced in consequence of such subjection to do an act contrary to his will. A married woman, for example, is legally under the subjection of her husband, and if in his company she commit a crime or offence, (except the offence of keeping a bawdy-house, in which case she is considered by the law as a principal), she is presumed to act under this coercion.

As will is necessary to the commission of a crime or the making of a contract, a person coerced into either has no will on the subject and is not responsible.