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Chapter

Cover Contract Law Directions

9. Duress, undue influence and unconscionable bargains  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter focuses on the principles applicable where a contract is entered into after there have been threats or improper influence brought to bear on one party or where the one-sided nature of the contract suggests that one party has been taken advantage of. The discussions cover duress (duress and pressure, threats against the person, threats against goods and economic duress); undue influence (actual undue influence, presumed undue influence and third-party cases); and unfairness and unconscionable bargains.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law Directions

9. Duress, undue influence and unconscionable bargains  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter focuses on the principles applicable where a contract is entered into after there have been threats or improper influence brought to bear on one party or where the one-sided nature of the contract suggests that one party has been taken advantage of. The discussions cover duress (duress and pressure, threats against the person, threats against goods and economic duress); undue influence (actual undue influence, presumed undue influence and third-party cases); and unfairness and unconscionable bargains.

Chapter

Cover Sanders & Young's Criminal Justice

7. Prosecutions and constructing guilt  

This chapter examines whether the combination of laws, policies, and procedures of different prosecuting and enforcement agencies is fair and effective, and why an overwhelming proportion of defendants plead guilty. It discusses the respective roles of the police and Crown Prosecution Service in prosecution decision-making; how cases are constructed for prosecution; the criteria for prosecution decision-making; diversion from prosecution; review of prosecution decisions; the different treatment of ‘regulatory’ offences and ‘real’ crime; the roles of police, prosecutors, judges and defence lawyers in persuading defendants to plead guilty; the incentives, even for the innocent, to plead guilty; whether plea bargaining should be abolished.

Chapter

Cover O'Sullivan & Hilliard's The Law of Contract

12. Unconscionable bargains  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter examines the concept of unconscionable bargains and the conditions under which it operates as a vitiating factor. It discusses the history of the court’s jurisdiction to give relief in cases of unconscionable bargains and explains the current scope of relief, considering the elements in modern case law on unconscionable bargains.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

20. Unconscionability and Inequality of Bargaining Power  

This chapter considers a group of cases, such as those concerned with unconscionable bargains, in which the courts have been asked to grant relief on the basis that the contract concluded between the parties was, in some way, unfair, outlining examples drawn both from the common law (including equity) and from statutes. The rise and fall of a doctrine of inequality of bargaining power is also noted. It then considers the arguments in favour of drawing these disparate cases together into one general doctrine and concludes by drawing on some academic reflections on the case-law and the role of fairness in the law of contract more generally.

Chapter

Cover Legal Skills

20. Negotiation skills  

This chapter introduces the skills needed to prepare for and conduct an effective negotiation, including the research process and different negotiation styles. It also considers the problems that can arise during negotiation and outlines a range of strategies that can be used to overcome them. In essence, it is a step-by-step introduction for those with no previous negotiation experience as well as a source of advice for the more experienced negotiator. A range of examples is used to demonstrate the skills involved in negotiation.

Chapter

Cover Legal Skills

20. Negotiation skills  

This chapter provides an introduction to the skills needed to prepare for and conduct an effective negotiation, including the research process and different negotiation styles. It also considers the problems that can arise during negotiation and outlines a range of strategies that can be used to overcome them. In essence, it is a step-by-step introduction for those with no previous negotiation experience as well as a source of advice for the more experienced negotiator. A range of examples is used to demonstrate the skills involved in negotiation.

Chapter

Cover The Criminal Process

10. Plea  

This chapter examines the law and practice on plea negotiation. After looking at the percentage of defendants who plead guilty, it then considers some of the principal reasons for changes of plea, looking at charge bargains (where the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for the prosecution reducing the level of the charge or the number of charges); at fact bargains (where the defendant agrees to plead guilty only on the basis that the prosecution will put forward a particular version of the facts); and at plea negotiation (where the change of plea is motivated by considerations of sentence). The tendencies evident in the English system are then evaluated in the light of defendants’ rights and the supposed advantages to the public.

Chapter

Cover Koffman, Macdonald & Atkins' Law of Contract

1. Introduction to the study of contract law  

This chapter introduces some of the key ideas that will be encountered in the rest of the book, such as what is required for a contract. It touches upon the everyday role of contract, and that, although the book is heavily concerned with case law, contract disputes are often resolved without resort to the courts. It also introduces the idea of the evolution of contract law with the changing nature of society: the limitations placed on the use of an idea, such as ‘freedom of contract’, through recognition of the impact of inequality of bargaining power. Additionally, it alerts the reader to the impact of the EU and Brexit.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Equity & Trusts

Crédit Lyonnais Bank Nederland NV v Burch [1997] 1 All ER 144, Court of Appeal  

Essential Cases: Equity & Trusts provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Crédit Lyonnais Bank Nederland NV v Burch [1997] 1 All ER 144, Court of Appeal. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Derek Whayman.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Equity & Trusts

Barclays Bank Plc v O’Brien [1994] 1 AC 180, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Equity & Trusts provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Barclays Bank Plc v O’Brien [1994] 1 AC 180, House of Lords. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Derek Whayman.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Equity & Trusts

Crédit Lyonnais Bank Nederland NV v Burch [1997] 1 All ER 144, Court of Appeal  

Essential Cases: Equity & Trusts provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Crédit Lyonnais Bank Nederland NV v Burch [1997] 1 All ER 144, Court of Appeal. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Derek Whayman.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Equity & Trusts

Barclays Bank Plc v O’Brien [1994] 1 AC 180, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Equity & Trusts provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Barclays Bank Plc v O’Brien [1994] 1 AC 180, House of Lords. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Derek Whayman.

Chapter

Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract

1. Introduction and fundamental themes  

This introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the fundamental elements of what constitutes a contract. It discusses undertakings or promises, deeds, written and oral promises, bargains, and bilateral and unilateral contracts. It concludes by examining some general themes in contract law to which reference will be made throughout the present title. These include freedom of contract, will theory, economic efficiency, objectivity in contract law, common law and equity, contract law within private law, and international influences on contract law. The outline provided in this chapter is necessarily brief; although some of the themes may seem a little difficult in the abstract, students approaching this subject for the first time should not be troubled. The concepts will become familiar and more easily understood through concrete examples provided in later chapters.

Chapter

Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract

19. Unconscionable bargains and inequality of bargaining power  

This chapter considers the law on unconscionability and inequality of bargaining power. English law has traditionally been cautious about wholeheartedly adopting such sweeping principles as ‘unconscionability’, preferring instead to avoid unfair outcomes through particular doctrines (for example, misrepresentation, duress, and undue influence). Some contracts may be set aside if they are considered to be an ‘unconscionable bargain’, i.e. if the claimant is ‘poor and ignorant’, the terms of the contract are substantially disadvantageous to the claimant, and the claimant had no independent advice. There is no general principle in English law that a contract can be set aside due to inequality of bargaining power.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

1. Introduction  

This introduction provides an overview of contracts and the law of contract. It first explains what the law of contract is about and why it matters before discussing the tasks of contract law. It then considers the role of debates in contract law, unity and diversity in contract law, and central issues in contract law. It also examines the main perspectives about contract that have influenced English law, including perspectives that used to be historically important. In particular, it explores the notions of bargains and the will. The chapter goes on to address two very different understandings of contracts: one that sees it primarily as a bundle of rights, and one that sees it as a relationship between the parties.

Chapter

Cover Smith & Wood's Employment Law

9. Collective labour law  

This chapter considers the laws that affect trade unions and employment relations at a collective level, with the exception of strikes and other industrial action, which are examined in Chapter 10. The chapter begins by considering the legal status of a trade union and the statutory concept of trade union independence. The applicability of trade union law to workers in the gig economy is also considered. The focus then shifts to the ways in which the law seeks to secure freedom of association, by provisions which protect and support union membership and activities including giving protection against discrimination and providing rights to time off for union duties and activities. The chapter then turns to the concept of recognition of unions for collective bargaining, and the legal rights that come with recognition. It also examines the statutory system for securing recognition. The relevance of the European Convention on Human Rights is considered throughout, as are the changes made by the Trade Union Act 2016. The law relating to domestic and European works councils is also considered.

Chapter

Cover Smith & Wood's Employment Law

9. Collective labour law  

Ian Smith, Owen Warnock, and Gemma Mitchell

This chapter considers the laws that affect trade unions and employment relations at a collective level, with the exception of strikes and other industrial action, which are examined in Chapter 10. The chapter begins by considering the legal status of a trade union and the statutory concept of trade union independence. The applicability of trade union law to workers in the gig economy is also considered. The focus then shifts to the ways in which the law seeks to secure freedom of association, by provisions which protect and support union membership and activities including giving protection against discrimination and providing rights to time off for union duties and activities. The chapter then turns to the concept of recognition of unions for collective bargaining, and the legal rights that come with recognition. It also examines the statutory system for securing recognition. The relevance of the European Convention on Human Rights is considered throughout, as are the changes made by the Trade Union Act 2016. The law relating to domestic and European works councils is also considered.

Chapter

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 Contract Law

9. Unfairness: undue influence, non-commercial guarantees, unconscionable bargains  

This chapter examines three doctrines that allow a party to set aside a contract: (1) undue influence, which deals with the abuse of relationships of trust and confidence; (2) a doctrine protecting non-commercial parties who guarantee another’s debts; and (3) unconscionable bargains, which deals with the exploitation of bargaining weaknesses. It discusses: (i) the justification for these doctrines; (ii) the burden of proof for undue influence, unfair non-commercial guarantees, and unconscionable bargains; (iii) how each element of the respective burdens of proof is satisfied; and (iv) whether the law is satisfactory, and if not, how it might be developed in the future.