The doctrine of the preceding section is generally regarded as inoperative:
1. When the plaintiff is ignorant of the fact which made the contract illegal.
1 Professor Wigmore, in discussing the doctrine under consideration, says (25 Am. Law Rev. 712 n.): "But the whole notion is radically wrong in principle and produces extreme injustice. If A owes B $5000 why should he not pay it whether B has violated a statute or not ? Where the issue is as to the rights of two litigants, it is unscientific to impose a penalty incidentally by depriving one of the litigants of his admitted right. It is unjust, also, for two reasons: first, one guilty party suffers, while another of equal guilt is rewarded ; secondly, the penalty is usually utterly disproportionate to the offense. If* there is one part of criminal jurisprudence which needs even more careful attention than it now receives it is the apportionment of penalty to offense. Yet the doctrine now under consideration requires, with monstrous injustice and blind haphazard, that the plaintiff shall be mulcted in the amount of his right, whatever that may be. Take for example the case of Cambriozo v. Maffet (2 Wash. C. C. 98), in which plaintiff and defendant were joint owners of a vessel. To avoid paying the tax on alien owners, the vessel was registered in the name of the defendant. For this illegality the plaintiff is denied the help of the courts in making the defendant account for the vessel's profits. In this way, and in a hundred similar ways, a fine of thousands of dollars may be imposed for petty violations of the law. One cannot imagine why we have so long allowed such an unworthy principle to remain."
2. When the plaintiff is not in pari delicto with the defendant.
3. When the plaintiff withdraws from the contract before its illegal purpose is accomplished.