AskDefine | Define rescission

Dictionary Definition

rescission n : (law) the act of rescinding; the cancellation of a contract and the return of the parties to the positions they would have had if the contract had not been made; recission may be brought about by decree or by mutual consent [syn: recission]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. An act of removing, taking away, or taking back.

Extensive Definition

In contract law, rescission (to rescind or set aside a contract) has been defined as the unmaking of a contract between the parties. Rescission is the unwinding of a transaction. This is done to bring the parties, as far as possible, back to the position in which they were before they entered into a contract (the "status quo ante"). This is an equitable remedy and is discretionary. The court may decline to rescind a contract if one party has affirmed the contract by his action (see Long v Lloyd [1958] 1 WLR 753) or a third party has acquired some rights or there has been substantial performance in implementing the contract.
In common law jurisdictions, court judgments may also be rescinded, here meaning to be set aside or made void, on application to the court that granted the judgment or a higher court. Applications to rescind a judgment are usually made on the basis of error or for good cause.
In insurance, rescission is the termination of a contract from the beginning (as if it never existed). The insurer has the right to rescind a policy due to concealment, material misrepresentation, or material breach of warranty.
In American government, rescission authority rests with the President. This authority was granted in the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. The President can force Congress to vote on rescinding (or permanently withholding) already appropriated funds. The average amount Presidents have requested since 1974 has been approximately $15 billion.
In parliamentary procedure, the motion to rescind, repeal or annul is used to cancel or countermand a motion previously adopted.


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