This Article offers a unified theory that explains why courts, despite the compelling argument for deterrence, should not apply the no-effect rule of illegal contracts uniformly and why they should vary the type of relief according to the factual setting. It posits that a graduated relief structure will maximize efficient deterrence. An efficient deterrence scheme will preserve limited personal, judicial and societal resources without burdening legitimate transactions.


Public Policy, Illegality, No Effect, Contracts, No-effect Rule, Illegal Contracts, Graduated Relief Structure, Deterrence

Publication Date


Document Type


Place of Original Publication

Iowa Law Review

Publication Information

74 Iowa Law Review 115 (1988)

Included in

Contracts Commons


COinS Juliet P. Kostritsky Faculty Bio