Void For Vagueness Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Void For Vagueness, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Void For Vagueness?
(Adj) When a law, rule, contract or order is passed or signed, without clearly enforceable terms and if it cannot be enforced on the party with reasonable clarity, then such law, rule contract or order etc. shall become void and are treated as Void for Vagenes.
History and Meaning of Void For Vagueness
The "Void for Vagueness" doctrine is a fundamental principle in constitutional law that holds that a law is void if it is so vague and poorly defined that people of ordinary intelligence must guess at its meaning and differ as to its application.
The doctrine originated in the United States and has been used by courts to declare statutes or parts of statutes unconstitutional in various contexts, including criminal law, commercial law, and administrative law.
The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure that laws are written in a way that is sufficiently clear and precise so that ordinary citizens can understand what is expected of them, and authorities can enforce the laws effectively and fairly.
Examples of Void For Vagueness
Here are some examples of how the "Void for Vagueness" doctrine has been applied in various legal contexts:
Criminal Law: A statute that criminalizes "obscene exhibitionism" without defining what constitutes "obscene" or "exhibitionism" may be void for vagueness, as ordinary people cannot know what behavior is prohibited and may be subject to arbitrary enforcement.
Administrative Law: A regulation that requires businesses to maintain "adequate security measures" without specifying what those measures are may be void for vagueness, as businesses cannot know what steps they must take to comply with the regulation and may face arbitrary penalties for noncompliance.
Commercial Law: A contract that requires one party to "act in good faith" without defining what constitutes "good faith" may be void for vagueness, as the parties cannot know what their obligations are and may be subject to arbitrary enforcement.
Legal Terms Similar to Void For Vagueness
Here are some related legal terms:
Overbreadth Doctrine: A principle that holds that a law may be unconstitutional if it prohibits a substantial amount of protected speech or conduct, in addition to the speech or conduct that may legitimately be prohibited.
Presumption of Constitutionality: A principle that holds that a law passed by a legislative body is presumed to be valid and constitutional unless it is shown to be arbitrary, irrational, or discriminatory.
Due Process: A constitutional principle that requires that laws be written with sufficient clarity and precision so that ordinary citizens can understand what is expected of them, and that they are given notice and an opportunity to be heard before being deprived of life, liberty, or property.