An agreement, the meaning of which is not certain or capable of being made certain is void under sec. 29. Law requires parties to make their own contract. If the words used by the parties are vague or indefinite, the Law cannot lend its help to the parties.
Thus where a motor lorry was agreed to be bought on the basis of price being on the “Usual hire purchase terms”, the court held the contract unenforceable, as there were at least three types of “hire purchase terms” known to law, and it was impossible to say which was meant. Similarly, where goods were sold “Subject to war clause”, the same result followed, as none could say what was intended. An agreement to grant a lease with the addition that “the lease will contain all the usual clauses of a lease of this nature”, has been held void for uncertainty.
An agreement of sale “subject to force majeure” is not invalid on the ground of uncertainty; but where the words of a contract were that it was “subject to force majeure conditions” and there were various such conditions known in the trade, held the contract was unenforceable on the ground of uncertainty.
Notice, however, that where there is a latent ambiguity in terms of contract, it can be cured by extrinsic evidence. Thus in Burgees v. Wickham, a question arose as to the meaning of the term “seaworthiness” used in connection with ship called “the Ganges” which having been first used for river navigation, was subsequently put on an ocean voyage, which the insurance Co. had underwritten. Both parties contended for different meaning of word. Held, extrinsic evidence was admissible to show the nature of the subject-matter of the contract, e.g. the ship, to which the term was sought to be applied.
If the ambiguity is patent however, no such evidence can be led. Thus where a bill of exchange was drawn for “two hundred pounds”, but in figure stated for $245, no extrinsic evidence of intension was held to been admissible. Notice that where a contract contains terms, which are partly printed and partly written or typed, the latter will prevail over the former in case of conflict. An agreement to enter into an agreement is not a contract if an important term of the contract has been left to be settled in the future.