A few questions (mostly about copyright) have me wondering if it's possible to enter into a legal contract which would make an action criminal when the same action would be perfectly legal had one not entered into the same contract.

To narrow the question down, I'd like to exclude contracts which establish a duty of care. So, to be clear, I am asking about contracts which do not that create a legal responsibility for another person's well-being (physical or financial).

  • 2
    I think you mean a "normal contract" not a per se criminal contract, e.g. an agreement to commit a certain crime. Is this correct?
    – K-HB
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 21:12
  • 1
    @K-HB I don't think a contract to break the law is legally enforceable.
    – grovkin
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 1:53
  • @grovkin It's not, but entering a contract to commit a crime is itself a crime.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 14:21

1 Answer 1


An obvious example would be a contract that gives possession of something to someone else. It's normally legal to use some reasonable amount of force to protect or prevent trespasses against property you own, but if you give possession of that property to someone else you can lose that right. For example, you can use force remove a guest who refuses to leave real property you own, but can't use force to remove a tenant even if they broke the terms of your contract. In most jurisdictions you'd need to get a court order and have the police use force if necessary remove the tenant.

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