|WikiProject Law||(Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)|
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--Compulsion of an impossibility--
A separate but related defense of impossibility is that the law cannot compel an individual to perform an impossible action, nor can it punish an individual for failure to perform an impossibility. An example might be the paying of taxes. An insolvent or indigent person with no valuable assets cannot be forced to pay back taxes he or she may owe, and cannot be punished for such failure. Such logic led to the eventual discontinuance of "debtor's prisons" where persons who owed money were jailed until they could pay. If they had no means with which to pay, this effectively amounted to a life sentence. It similarly led to the creation of bankruptcy law allowing an insolvent person to either renegotiate the terms of a debt such that paying it becomes possible, or to liquidate their assets to pay as much of the debt as is possible, and force creditors to write off the remainder.
Other examples include the extension of deadlines under contract law or for governmental proceedings due to force majeure, where a party can claim that a contract that was initially possible to fulfill became impossible due to unforeseeable and uncontrollable circumstances such as a natural disaster. Even if the contract did not include a force majeure clause specifically mitigating or relieving contractual obligations, if the tortfeasor has made every effort to meet the terms of the contract, such that the force majeure is the only reasonable cause of the failure to fulfill the contract, courts generally accept the impossibility defense and force a modification of the contract's terms to include one, or hold the contract null and void.
Is the word "attempted" correct in this sentence?
Please consider this sentence in the article:
"An example of a failed attempt of law is a person who shoots at a tree stump, believing that he is committing attempted murder; that person cannot be prosecuted for attempted murder as there is no manifest intent to kill by shooting a stump."
Surely, in the example, the shooter would believe that he is committing a murder at the time that he shoots - perhaps just after, if he realizes that he has missed, he might think that he has just committed attempted murder, but, at the instant of commission, it is actual murder which he intends and believes he is committing. 188.8.131.52 (talk) 05:18, 13 September 2014 (UTC)