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What does the expression «not be contrary to the law, morality or public order» mean?

“Not be contrary to the law, morality or public order”

The expression «not be contrary to the law, morality or public order» refers to a condition that is usually included in contracts, provisions or laws to establish certain restrictions on the legal acts that are carried out.

In other words, this means that any action, contract, decision, etc., must respect the limits imposed by the legal system on the autonomy of the will.

These limits are:

  • The legal limits: they are the mandatory norms that cannot be derogated by the agreement of the parties. These rules are intended to protect the general interest or the interest of one of the weaker parties in the contract.

For example, unfair terms in consumer law.

  • The moral limits: they are the ethical principles that govern human behavior and that prevent the validity of immoral contracts. These contracts are those that violate the dignity of people, good faith, justice or solidarity.

For example, contracts that involve sexual exploitation or human trafficking.

  • The limits of public order: they are the fundamental rules that organize social coexistence and that reflect the essential values ​​of a community. These limits prevent the contracting parties from agreeing on something that is contrary to the public interest or fundamental rights.

For example, contracts that violate freedom, equality, security or property

Ultimately, if a legal act is contrary to any of these limits, it can be declared null or voidable, as the case may be.

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