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Contracting illegal work

Printed From: AussieLegal
Category: General Legal Discussions
Forum Name: Discuss legal issues that are of a general nature
Forum Discription:
Printed Date: 21/April/2019 at 16:39

Topic: Contracting illegal work
Posted By: Microflop
Subject: Contracting illegal work
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 14:39
Hi Guys,

I was hoping someone would be nice enough to help a noob.

I am doing an assignment and I need to reference something that stipulates that a contract cannot enforce you to do something that is illegal.

E.G. Company is contracted to develop a system. Issues arise and the system is not able to be developed within the costings indicated in the contract without 'cutting corners' and the end result of cutting corners would mean the systems security would then not meet the Australian privacy guidelines. I.e. people could easily access confidential information (such as medical records).

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I am just after a link of something credible that backs up my statement.

Thanks heaps!

Posted By: QuoVadis
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 17:02
You're a student and this is your research?

BSL lawyers: leeches in suits and wigs. - Blood Sucking Lawyers - The Law Firm

Posted By: MickOne
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 17:39
Hmm nice try, but I think not.

They are not directing your client to perform an illegal activity - your client cannot meet the contract price without taking undue risks that border on failing to meet statutory guidelines. So it is your client that is choosing the option to 'break the law' - big difference.

Your client is the party which will breach the contract. What your client needs to weigh is the cost of breach (damages) vs the money lost by completing the contract to the specified level. The cheaper of the two is the winner - in some situations it is breaching, but certainly not all situations.

Find another basis on which to terminate/frustrate.

If your after a general reference and your NOT a law student - wikipedia will give you a good starting point. If you are a law student - ye gods man!

Posted By: Microflop
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 17:51
I am an IT student. I am studying an IT courses however I am doing an assignment on ethics. It's less about contractual obligations and more to do with ethical values.

I do not have to argue legal grounds and proceedings, I just want to offer an argument that you can't be contractually obliged to do something illegal (and have a reference to back it up).

I get that in real life if you were contracted to complete project X you must complete project x in line with the funding you have received and in line with state and federal law.

I can't use wikipedia as a reference.

If anyone could point me in the right direction I'd appreciate it...

Posted By: Cabal2
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 18:23
If it's about ethics, I think you're going about it the wrong way round. Things are (normally) unlawful because, for some social reason, they're deemed to be unethical or wrong. The illegality doesn't explain the immorality.To advance your argument from an ethical standpoint you have to think about the social/moral reason, not the legal reason.

Posted By: QuoVadis
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 19:16
Ethics and lawyers hehehehehehehe

BSL lawyers: leeches in suits and wigs. - Blood Sucking Lawyers - The Law Firm

Posted By: Cabal2
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 20:07
Exactly! There's also something of an irony trying to get others to help you do your ethics assignment...

Posted By: iconoclast
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 20:27
Well gee Cabal2 I disagree! Nothing remotely unethical - he's told us what it's all about. Tort law and Equity do address ethical issues as you may know.
Good luck with that assignment Microflop! I think you are ethical if that makes any difference. I commend your creativity and search for alternate avenues of information. That's called "thinking outside the square". Well done.

not legal advice

Posted By: MickOne
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 20:29
Don't reference wikipedia - use it to gain surface level knowledge and point you in a direction. Thought that was self explanatory.

If that is the concept your ethics assessment piece you are way, way, way off base. Ethically in that situation you should approach your client and air your concerns about the project and decline to deliver the project that is potentially unsafe. Anything else is unethical - arguably so is crowd sourcing your assignment content.

Your scenario does not hurdle the bar for contracting for an illegal purpose - think prostitution / murder / sale of drugs. Not: "I agreed to a stupid contract price and the only way to live to it is to knowingly cut corners and expose myself to prosecution" that is a long way off - if it were accepted law it would be abused.

For instance: We decided not to complete the contract because doing so would have cost me money or meant I had to use lead paint on the kids toys ...

Simple test, add the word's "Your Honour" to the end of that statement and imagine the reaction from a bored cranky judge. If you envisage anything other than a tirade you are wrong.

@QV totally agree with the irony.

Posted By: Cabal2
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 22:31
Iconoclast, I think it's widely held to be ethically dubious, in academia, to rely on information obtained from others without referencing it appropriately. Unless perhaps the OP is intending to reference material obtained from here...In that case it's more a question of identifying what constitutes an appropriate source.

Regarding the interplay between ethics and law, you'll note that I don't say they're independent; rather that ethics explains why the law is a certain way, and not vice versa. It goes without saying that law deals with ethical issues, but it doesn't explain them.

Posted By: iconoclast
Date Posted: 21/November/2011 at 23:24
Well hi there Cabal2. Who ever implied not appropriately referencing one's sources? Are you a lawyer by any chance?
Ethics and the law? What a joke! Please read Evan Whitton (Walkely award winning journalist) and his many penetratingly accurate works available free online re the alleged legal cartel. What a genius and of course I credit him fully. Get it yet? It may wake you up, if you bothered to read his [credited] works about the dare I say oxymoronic subject of "legal ethics". But apparently you are so full of knowledge on this wonderful subject which continues to provide such a rich vein of commentary. Carry on by all means!

not legal advice

Posted By: Cabal2
Date Posted: 22/November/2011 at 09:42
Hi again, iconoclast. Philosophy's my area, not law, hence the interest in ethics. As I mentioned in the second sentence of my previous post, there are two alternatives: that the OP didn't intend to cite assistance received on here (an ethical issue), or that he intended to cite anonymous posters on this forum (an issue with respect to identification of an appropriate source for a piece of academic work).

I'm not sure how that stuff about legal ethics is directly relevant to a general discussion of how ethics shapes jurisprudence, although it's an interesting topic in itself. Unless you were hoping to insult me in the mistaken belief I'm a lawyer, in which case, if I've offended you I apologise unreservedly.

Posted By: Microflop
Date Posted: 22/November/2011 at 11:45
It's not actually an assignment I am submitting, I am just practising case studies to help me develop my argumentative skills (and being able to reference appropriate material to back up my claim).

The principal I have asked help for is not the crux of my argument. The code of ethics in my profession equates to do no harm, so I am making the argument that if this system is to do no harm it either a) must be made within legal guidelines or b) not made. I was just trying to find a reference to reinforce point b.

I was hoping to reference material of a legal nature and I was hoping you guys could point me in the right direction.

This is not really about what is universally ethical, more about me backing up my claims with supporting evidence.

As I am not trained in any legal disciplines this is difficult for me.

Posted By: Cabal2
Date Posted: 22/November/2011 at 11:54
Fair enough, apologies if I was being unfair. The "do no harm" principle derives from medical ethics, doesn't it?

Posted By: Microflop
Date Posted: 22/November/2011 at 12:11
It does. I found an academic source that made a link between the IT ethics and the medical ethics which carried more weight to my claim.

Posted By: jaazzz
Date Posted: 22/November/2011 at 20:11
Originally posted by Microflop

I am doing an assignment and I need to reference something that stipulates that a contract cannot enforce you to do something that is illegal.

Sorry. we can't help you with assignments here. I have been away a couple of days, if I had seen this earlier I would have locked the thread then.

Good Luck


Any opinion given should not be accepted as legal advice.

Please post your legal questions in a forum rather than sending a PM. Thanks

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