Properly, that which does not exist; that which is not in the nature of things. In a figurative sense it signifies that which has no more effect than if it did not exist.
Properly, that which does not exist; that which is not properly in the nature of things. In a figurative sense, and in law, it means that which has no more effect than if it did not exist, and also the defect which prevents it from having such effect. That which is absolutely void.
It is a rule of law that what is absolutely null produces no effects whatever; as, if a man bad a wife in full life, and both aware of the fact, he married another woman, such second marriage would be nun and without any legal effect.
Nullities have been divided into absolute and relative. Absolute nullities are those which may be insisted upon by any one having an interest in rendering the act, deed or writing null, even by the public authorities, as a second marriage while the former was in full force. Everything fraudulent is null and void. Relative nullities can be invoked only by those in whose favor the law has been established, land, in fact, such power is less a nullity of the act than a faculty which one or more persons have to oppose the validity of the act.
The principal causes of nullities are, 1. Defect of form; as, for example, when the law requires that a will of land shall be attested by three witnesses, and it is only attested by two.
Want of will; as if a man be compelled to execute a bond by duress, it is null and void.
The incapacities of the parties; as in the cases of persons non compos mentis, of married women's contracts, and the like.
The want of consideration in simple contracts; as a verbal promise without consideration.
The want of recording, when the law requires that the matter should be recorded; as in the case of judgments.
Defect of power in the party who entered into a contract in behalf of another; as when an attorney for a special purpose makes an agreement for his principal in relation to another thing.
The loss of a thing which is the subject of a contract; as when A sells B horse, both supposing him to be alive when in fact he was dead.