Ignorance of the law v. Mistake of fact


QUESTION: Is there any difference in their legal effects between ignorance of the law and ignorance or mistake of fact?

ANSWER: Yes, there is difference in their legal effects.

According to the Civil Code, ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith. On the other hand, the Supreme Court has said that mistake of fact may excuse a person from liablity, especially under our penal law. (People v. Ah Chong) In addition to this, under property law, mistake on a doubtful or difficult question of law may be the basis of good faith. (Art. 526). In contract law, mistake of fact may, furthermore, vitiate consent in a contract and make it voidable. (Art. 1390)

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER: Yes, ignorance of the law differs in legal effect from ignorance or mistake of fact. The former does not excuse a party from the legal consequences of his conduct while the latter does constitute an excuse and is a legal defense.

Popular Posts