mis·take n
1: an unintentional error esp. in legal procedure or form that does not indicate bad faith and that commonly warrants excuse or relief by the court
the court's power to revise a judgment because of fraud, mistake, or irregularity
a clerical mistake
2: an erroneous belief: as
a: a state of mind that is not in accordance with the facts existing at the time a contract is made and that may be a ground for the rescission or reformation of the contract
b: a misconception at the time of an offense alleged by a defendant
mistake of fact
1: a mistake regarding a fact or facts esp. that significantly affects the performance of a contract
2: a criminal defense that attempts to eliminate culpability on the ground that the defendant operated from an unintentional misunderstanding of fact rather than from a criminal purpose
mistake of law: a mistake involving the misunderstanding or incorrect application of law in regard to an act, contract, transaction, determination, or state of affairs; also: a criminal defense alleging such a mistake
◇ In both contract and criminal law a mistake of law is a weaker ground for relief or acquittal than a mistake of fact.
mutual mistake: a mistake common to both parties to a contract who were in agreement about the purpose or terms of the contract
reformed the contract because of a mutual mistake
unilateral mistake: a mistake on the part of one party to a contract that is usu. not a ground for rescission or reformation unless one party stands to profit or benefit improperly from the mistake

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I verb be deceived, be erroneous, be in the wrong, be misguided, be misled, be mistaken, blunder, bungle, commit an error, confuse, err, fall into error, get wrong, go amiss, go astray, go wrong, identify incorrectly, ignorare, labor under a misapprehension, misapprehend, miscalculate, misconceive, misconstrue, misidentify, misinterpret, misjudge, misread, misunderstand, name inaccurately, put a false sense on, receive a false impression, receive a wrong impression, slip up, stumble associated concepts: excusable mistake, harmless error, mistake of fact, mistake of law, mistaken identity, mutual mistake, unilateral mistake II index catachresis, defect, err, error, failure (lack of success), fallacy, indiscretion, lapse (expiration), misapplication, misapprehend, miscalculate, miscarriage, misconstrue, miscue, misdeed, misestimation, misinterpret, misjudge, misjudgment, misread, misstatement, misunderstand, oversight (carelessness), wrong

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

An incorrect or wrong action or belief; an act or omission caused by ignorance or misconception about the true situation.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

a mental conception divergent from the true position. In law, mistake can be relevant. For a long time a distinction has been made between mistake of fact and mistake of law. A lenient attitude is taken towards the former, ignorance of the law often being said to be no excuse. In criminal law, many systems may accept the facts honestly believed by the accused to be those upon which he should be judged, but even an honest belief that a course of conduct is not criminal is unlikely to exculpate. In civil law, the general approach is that a mistake that destroys the consent upon which contract is founded can invalidate a contract. Error calculi, 'an error in calculation', has often been corrected by courts at their own hand where an error arose in a deed simply through a failure to record the correct computation. This has to be distinguished from cases where the whole basis of the computation was not truly agreed. In English criminal law, mistake can be relevant if it affects one of the essential factual elements of the crime. It seems that a genuine belief that one of the definitional elements of a crime is missing will be sufficient. The belief need not be reasonable: DPP v . Morgan [1976] AC 182. If in relation to a defence, such as self-defence, the mistake must be reasonable: Beckford v. R [1988] AC 130.
In relation to mistake of law, a mistake as to the civil law might exculpate; for example, where somebody takes something away genuinely believing it to be his through some application of the civil law. A mistake of criminal law is less likely to succeed, although some statutes may lead to this being available: Sec. of State v. Hart [1982] 1 WLR 481.
In the Scots criminal law, the word error is preferred for the phenomenon under discussion. It is not thought that the law is entirely settled nor internally consistent. It is probably the case that a reasonable mistake as to constitutive element of a crime would exculpate. Erroneous belief as to a defence, such as consent to rape, requires only an honest belief: Meek v. HMA 1983 SLT 280. So far as error of law is concerned, a mistake as to the civil law in principle exculpates (Roberts v . Inverness Local Authority (1889) 2 White 385), but in one leading case such a defence was not allowed where it was considered that the accused's belief was not founded on rational grounds: Dewar v . HMA 1945 JC
5. A mistake as to the general criminal law has no effect: Clark v . Syme 1957 JC
In the English law of contract, if a person completely mistakes the nature of the deed he signs he may be relieved if the restricted doctrine of non est factum applies. In other cases mistake may also be operative. A distinction is often made between common mistake, where both parties to a contract are both mistaken as to the same thing, and mutual mistake, which occurs where both parties are mistaken but make different mistakes. Recognised instances are a case of mistaken identity where the identity of the contracting party is crucial to the contract (Cunday v . Lindsay (1878) 3 App. Cas. 459) and where the subject matter is mistaken (Raffles v . Wichelhaus (1864) 2 H&C 906).
In the Scots law of contract, the term error is preferred to 'mistake' for the same phenomenon. Unilateral error uninduced is seldom successful as a basis for avoiding the contract: Steel v. Bradley Homes (Scotland) Ltd 1974 SLT 133, but see Steuart's Trs v . Hart (1875) 3 R 192. The distinction between common error and mutual error is noticed, and both can be effective: Stuart & Co. v. Kennedy (1885) 13 R 221. Error in the substantials of a contract renders it void in Scotland. Matters capable of being substantial are the subject matter, the persons involved, the price or consideration, the quality of the thing if essential or the nature of the contract.
In England, in equity, and in Scotland, under the Law Reform Miscellaneous Provisions (Scotland) Act 1986, the court has power to rectify written contracts that do not express the agreement of the parties, a power that in both jurisdictions is subject to detailed rules and qualifications. See misrepresentation, contractual mistakes.
In both England and Scotland, the law of restitution allows money paid by mistake to be recovered. In England the restitutionary action is called an action for money had and received, and in Scotland it will usually be called a condictio indebiti. In England a mistake of law has now been held to be a sufficient unjust factor to allow the money to be recovered: Kleinwort Benson v. Lincoln City Council [1999] 2 AC 349, in this respect catching up with other jurisdictions.
In Australia the rule against recovery based on mistake of law was relaxed: David Securities Pty Ltd v . Commonwealth Bank of Australia (1992) 175 CLR 353, and it was abandoned in the mixed civilian jurisdiction of South Africa: Wills Faber Enthoven Pty Ltd v . Receiver of Revenue 1992 (4) SA202 (A). It had been abandoned in Scotland: Morgan Guaranty v . Lothian Regional Council 1995 SLT 299.
In New Zealand, under the Contractual Mistakes Act 1977, the law is set out in statutory language and no longer depends upon the distinctions of the common law. Mistake includes mistake of law or of fact, but for most purposes a mistake in the interpretation of a document will be a mistake of law. Three different types of mistake are legislated for – mistake known to the other party, common mistake, and different mistakes about the same matter of fact or law.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

1) An error which causes one party or both parties to enter into a contract without understanding the obligations or results. Such a mistake can entitle one party or both parties to a rescission (cancellation) of the contract. A mistaken understanding of the law (as distinguished from facts) by one party only is usually not a basis for rescission.
2) An error as to facts or law made by a judge. Such errors may be harmless (not meriting a reversal) or material (a reversible error).
Category: Business, LLCs & Corporations → Self-Employed Consultants & Contractors
Category: Representing Yourself in Court
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits
Category: Working With a Lawyer

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

A contract can be voided under common law rules for mistake in the following situations:
• Common mistake (where the mistake is shared by both parties, is fundamental and directly affects the basic definition of what the parties are contracting for). The mistake will render the contract void if it robs it of all substance.
• Mutual mistake (where the parties are at cross-purposes with one another). If, from the parties' words and conduct, only one possible interpretation of what was agreed can be deduced, the contract will still be valid. Otherwise it will be void.
• Unilateral mistake (where one party is mistaken and the other knows or ought to have known of the mistake). If the mistake relates to the fundamental nature of the offer the contract can be voided.
Other possible remedies in equity include rectification, ordering specific performance of the contract or rescission.

Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. . 2010.

n. In contract law, a factual misunderstanding that may lead to a failure of a meeting of the minds.
@ mistake of fact
Improper understanding of a fact that is material to a contract.
@ mistake of law
Improper understanding of the law as applied to facts as to which a party has a correct and full understanding.
@ mutual mistake
A mistake in which each party has an incorrect understanding of the other's position, or in which both parties share the same mistaken belief, generally a basis for canceling the contract.
n. A mistake in which each party has an incorrect understanding of the other's position, or in which both parties share the same mistaken belief.
@ unilateral mistake
A mistake by only one party to a contract as to the underlying facts of the agreement, not generally a basis for avoiding the contract.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

An unintentional act, omission, or error.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

An unintentional act, omission, or error.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

   1) an error in comprehending facts, meaning of words or the law, which causes one party or both parties to enter into a contract without understanding the obligations or results. Such a mistake can entitle one party or both parties to a rescission (cancellation) of the contract. A mistaken understanding of the law (as distinguished from facts) by one party only is usually no basis for rescission since "ignorance of the law is no excuse."
   2) an error discovered to be incorrect at a later time.
   See also: contract, rescission

Law dictionary. . 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mistake — Mis*take (m[i^]s*t[=a]k ), v. t. [imp. & obs. p. p. {Mistook} (m[i^]s*t[oo^]k ); p. p. {Mistaken} (m[i^]s*t[=a]k n); p. pr. & vb. n. {Mistaking}.] [Pref. mis + take: cf. Icel. mistaka.] 1. To take or choose wrongly. [Obs. or R.] Shak. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mistake# — mistake vb Mistake, confuse, confound are comparable when they mean to mix up things, typically by taking one thing for another. One mistakes one thing for another when by an error of perception or of thought or as a result of a predisposition or …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • mistake — [mi stāk′] vt. mistook, mistaken or Obs. mistook, mistaking [ME mistaken < ON mistaka, to take wrongly: see MIS 1 & TAKE] 1. to understand or perceive wrongly; interpret or judge incorrectly [mistake someone s motives] 2. to tak …   English World dictionary

  • Mistake — Mis*take (m[i^]s*t[=a]k ), n. 1. An apprehending wrongly; a misconception; a misunderstanding; a fault in opinion or judgment; an unintentional error of conduct. [1913 Webster] Infallibility is an absolute security of the understanding from all… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mistake — Mis*take , v. i. To err in knowledge, perception, opinion, or judgment; to commit an unintentional error. [1913 Webster] Servants mistake, and sometimes occasion misunderstanding among friends. Swift. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mistake — [n] error, misunderstanding aberration, blooper*, blunder, boo boo*, bungle, confusion, delusion, erratum, false move, false step, fault, faux pas, flub*, fluff*, gaffe, illusion, inaccuracy, inadvertence, lapse, misapplication, misapprehension,… …   New thesaurus

  • mistake — ► NOUN 1) a thing that is incorrect. 2) an error of judgement. ► VERB (past mistook; past part. mistaken) 1) be wrong about. 2) (mistake for) confuse (someone or something) with …   English terms dictionary

  • mistake — mis|take1 W2S2 [mıˈsteık] n 1.) something that has been done in the wrong way, or an opinion or statement that is incorrect →↑error mistake in ▪ We may have made a mistake in our calculations. ▪ a mistake in the law ▪ Ivan s work is always full… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • MISTAKE — A legal transaction requires that the making up of the mind (or the conclusive intention of the parties to close the bargain – gemirat ha da at) be demonstrated (see acquisition , Modes of). When it is apparent that one of the parties lacked such …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • mistake — mis|take1 [ mı steık ] noun count *** 1. ) something that you have not done correctly, or something you say or think that is not correct: make a mistake: I won t make the same mistake again! Don t worry, it s an easy mistake to make. correct a… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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