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Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

Poole's Textbook on Contract Law (15th edn)

Robert Merkin QC and Séverine Saintier
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date: 14 July 2024

p. 3599. Misrepresentationlocked

p. 3599. Misrepresentationlocked

  • Robert Merkin, Robert MerkinProfessor of Commercial Universities of Reading and Exeter
  • Séverine SaintierSéverine SaintierAssociate Professor in Commercial Law Exeter Law School, University of Exeter
  •  and Jill PooleJill Poole50th Anniversary Professor of Commercial Law and Head of Aston Law Deputy Dean, Aston Business School, Aston University


Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. False statements of fact that induce a contract are known as actionable misrepresentations. In case of a misrepresentation, there are different legal remedies for breaches of contract. A misrepresentation renders the contract voidable (liable to be set aside using the remedy of rescission) so that the contract will be treated as if it had never been made, whereas a breach of contract will have no effect on the existence of the contract (in the absence of a repudiatory breach that will terminate the contract when future contractual obligations will be discharged). The chapter identifies actionable misrepresentations and, in particular, loss in instances where there is a duty of disclosure in English law. There are three types of actionable misrepresentations, dependent upon the state of mind of the one who makes the false statement: fraudulent, negligent, and innocent. This chapter looks at the legal remedies for actionable misrepresentations such as rescission, the availability of damages for different types of misrepresentations, and the provisions of the Misrepresentation Act 1967. It also examines the effect of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) as amended on this area of law, the criminal offences and civil remedies for consumers, as well as the relationship of misrepresentation to other areas of law. Finally, it looks at clauses that seek to exclude or limit liability for misrepresentation or to deny any actionable misrepresentation, e.g. ‘non-reliance clauses’.

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