Can a signed contract be cancelled without mutual agreement and thr signature of both parties?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a signed contract be cancelled without mutual agreement and thr signature of both parties?

Can a business cancel a signed contract after the start of it via email? What is the time frame/notice that is needed for a business to cancel a contract? Is it 30 days notice? Is an entrepreneur and investor considered as a merchant and consumer?

Asked on June 25, 2017 under Business Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A signed contract cannot be cancelled unilaterally (by one party, without the consent of the other) after it has been executed (signed) by both parties (both sides to the contract) unless the contract itself contains some early termination or cancellation clause. If there is a such a clause, it is legal and enforceable as per its plain terms (i.e. to cancel, the the cancelling party has to comply with any restrictions or requirements in the cancellation clause). But absent such an early cancellation/termination clause or provision, once executed by both sides, the contract may only be cancelled--
1) By mutual or joint consent;
2) If one party breaches or violates a material, or important, obligation, like not making a payment on time, the other party can generally then treat the contract as terminated by the breach; or 
3) If there is fraud--one party discovers that the other lied about or misrepresented something important to get them to sign the contract.
Without any of the above, the contract will be binding and may be enforced in court (e.g. via a lawsuit).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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