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Cover Contract Law Concentrate

10. Duress and undue influence  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. The doctrines of duress and undue influence may result in a contract being set aside (the remedy of rescission) where illegitimate pressure has been used in the contracting process. This chapter focuses on instances where the agreement cannot stand in light of duress or undue influence, including instances where the duress or undue influence was exercised by a third party and the contracting party had notice of that duress or undue influence.

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Cover Complete Contract Law

15. Undue Influence, Unconscionability, and Equality of Bargaining Power  

This chapter examines undue influence, which is largely about pressure and influence arising from a relationship. It begins with the basic role of the law on undue influence before moving to the substantive case law. The case law is divided into three categories, which are based on the different ways of proving undue influence. The first relates to what is known as ‘actual undue influence’, which is where a complainant proves undue influence. The second is where undue influence between two parties can be presumed from the circumstances. The third category has been a major problem in modern cases and it involves undue influence coming from a third party. The chapter then turns to the wider issues that complete the ‘bigger picture’. The first of these is the area often referred to as ‘unconscionability’, which is about the exploitation of weakness. The second is the attempt to create a wider ‘inequality of bargaining power’ principle. Finally, the chapter looks at the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Practices Regulations 2008, which can cover conduct otherwise classed as duress, undue influence, and harassment.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

10. Duress, undue influence, and unconscionable bargains  

Robert Merkin and Séverine Saintier

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. This chapter examines further vitiating factors which relate to the way in which the contract was entered into and render it voidable. It discusses the doctrines of duress and undue influence and whether contracts are affected by a general doctrine of unconscionability relating to the manner of formation and content relative to the nature and position of the contracting parties. The doctrine of economic duress allows for any contract to be set aside where unlawful threats to financial position were made in order to secure agreement. This doctrine is still evolving but represents a mechanism to prevent the enforceability of promises not freely given. Under the doctrine of undue influence, a contract may be set aside if one party has put unfair and improper pressure on the other in the negotiations leading up to the contract. The courts of equity have developed undue influence as one of the grounds of relief to prevent abuse of the influence of one person over another, particularly where the influence results from the nature of the relationship between the parties. The chapter examines types of undue influence, actual undue influence, presumed (or evidential) undue influence, undue influence exercised by a third party, the legal effect of undue influence, and the relationship between undue influence and unconscionability.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

10. Duress, undue influence, and unconscionable bargains  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. This chapter examines further vitiating factors which relate to the way in which the contract was entered into and render it voidable. It discusses the doctrines of duress and undue influence and whether contracts are affected by a general doctrine of unconscionability relating to the manner of formation and content relative to the nature and position of the contracting parties. The doctrine of economic duress allows for any contract to be set aside where unlawful threats to financial position were made in order to secure agreement. This doctrine is still evolving but represents a mechanism to prevent the enforceability of promises not freely given. Under the doctrine of undue influence, a contract may be set aside if one party has put unfair and improper pressure on the other in the negotiations leading up to the contract. The courts of equity have developed undue influence as one of the grounds of relief to prevent abuse of the influence of one person over another, particularly where the influence results from the nature of the relationship between the parties. The chapter examines types of undue influence, actual undue influence, presumed (or evidential) undue influence, undue influence exercised by a third party, the legal effect of undue influence, and the relationship between undue influence and unconscionability.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

10. Duress, undue influence, and unconscionable bargains  

Robert Merkin, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This chapter examines the doctrines of duress and undue influence, both of which provide a means for a person to avoid a concluded contract into which he entered due to threats or unfair pressures or influence exerted on him. It also looks at the circumstances in which the courts or Parliament have intervened to prevent one party from taking advantage of another. Duress refers to some form of coercion or threat to the person, property, or to a person’s financial interests (economic duress). Undue influence can arise if there is illegitimate pressure and abuse exerted by one party over the other (actual undue influence) or if something in the transaction is suspicious or calls for an explanation (evidential undue influence). The chapter also considers unconscionable bargaining, procedural and substantive unfairness, consumer legislation, and the link between unconscionability and undue influence.

Chapter

Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract

18. Undue influence  

This chapter examines ‘undue influence’. In a typical case, C claims that a transaction should be set aside because C reposed trust and confidence in D, and the influence that D had upon C was exerted in a way which was ‘undue’. The effect is to render a contract voidable such that it can be rescinded. The basis of undue influence is controversial: it has been argued both that undue influence is based upon D’s exploitation of the relationship, and that the focus is solely upon C’s impaired consent. There are two ways of proving undue influence, which explains actual undue influence and presumed undue influence. Actual undue influence is distinct, though there are overlapping areas, from duress since there is no need to prove a threat or illegitimate pressure. Presumed undue influence requires C to prove that C placed trust in D and that the transaction calls for explanation.