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Anson's Law of Contract

Anson's Law of Contract (31st edn)

Jack Beatson FBA, Andrew Burrows FBA, QC (Hon), and John Cartwright
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date: 21 July 2024

p. 37110. Duress, Undue Influence, and Unconscionable Bargainslocked

p. 37110. Duress, Undue Influence, and Unconscionable Bargainslocked

  • Jack Beatson, Jack Beatsonis a former Lord Justice of Appeal and Rouse Ball Professor of English Law, University of Cambridge; and is a Visiting Professor, University of Oxford
  • Andrew BurrowsAndrew Burrowsis Professor of the Law of England and Fellow, All Souls College, University of Oxford and (as of June 2, 2020) he has been appointed a Justice of the UK Supreme Court.
  •  and John CartwrightJohn CartwrightEmeritus Professor of the Law of Contract, University of Oxford


This chapter discusses the nature and operation of duress, undue influence, and unconscionable bargains. Duress and undue influence occur where one party to a contract has coerced the other or exercised such domination that the other’s independence of decision was substantially undermined. In the limited category of cases in which the doctrine of unconscionable bargains operates, it is necessary to show not only that the process by which the contract was made was unfair but that there is contractual imbalance, i.e., the doctrine extends to the actual substance of the contract and the fairness of its terms. Conduct which constitutes duress or undue influence by a trader against a consumer may also constitute a ‘prohibited practice’ under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which will give the consumer ‘rights to redress’ under the Regulations.

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