How an Abrogate Works

When someone files for an abrogation or attempts to abrogate something, they cannot simply change their mind and expect a reversal on an agreement. They need just cause—the person who wishes to abrogate needs a fair reason. If a buyer who enters a sales agreement doesn’t follow through with the sale and cannot prove they have a just cause to abrogate, the seller can press charges. The seller is under no obligation to return any deposit the buyer put down.

Some of the more common reasons why somebody would file an abrogation are:

  • Contingencies have not been met in a purchase agreement. This is usually when the buyer cannot secure the proper financing for a house.
  • The seller finds that the buyer has falsified their identity or other documents and information.
  • Breach of contract, e.g., not being sold for what the buyer paid for.
  • The agreement is illegal.

Usually, in purchase agreements, contingencies outline when a contract or agreement is automatically abrogated.

Example of Abrogate

A studio guitarist purchased what he thinks is a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard. Since it’s a vintage guitar with high demand, he paid a lot of money for it. The buyer and seller enter a sales agreement because the guitar is so valuable. The seller can’t send the guitar in the mail, but the guitarist is okay with this since he wants to avoid damaging the Les Paul as much as possible. The guitarist puts down a deposit and promises to pay the rest upon pick up.

When the guitarist arrives at the seller’s house to pick it up, he sees that it is not a 1959 Gibson Les Paul but a 1983 Gibson Les Paul Studio. Upset by the false advertising, he abrogates the sales agreement since the guitar is not the product he paid for. Fortunately, the seller is kind enough to return the guitarist’s deposit.

Significance of Abrogate

Abrogating a contract or sales and purchase agreements protects either party from having to follow through with a faulty agreement. For instance, there’s no reason a buyer should have to follow through with the sale of a house if they do not have financing. Nor is there any reason for a buyer to have to pay for something they did not receive. On the seller’s end, it prevents them from entering into an agreement that could get them into legal trouble, especially if the buyer is not who they claim they are.

History of Abrogate

The first recorded instance of abrogation in United States history happened in 1798. Congress, under the Act of July 7, abrogated the treaty between the US and France. In doing so, it freed the US from the stipulations of the Treaties of 1778. This treaty required that neither France nor the US seeks out individual peace with Great Britain and that the two countries form one military to fight Great Britain in the face of America’s independence. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court considered this abrogation only one of several acts that declared a public war against France.