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Chapter

Cover Tort Law

10. Defences to negligence  

This chapter discusses three key defences in the tort of negligence: voluntary assumption of risk (consent or volenti non fit injuria), contributory negligence and illegality. The defence of voluntary assumption of risk is based on the common-sense notion that ‘one who has invited or assented to an act being done towards him cannot, when he suffers it, complain of it as a wrong’. The defence of illegality denies recovery to certain claimants injured while committing unlawful activities. Contributory negligence is a defence that operates not to defeat the claimant’s claim entirely but rather to reduce the amount of damages the defendant must pay.

Chapter

Cover Tort Law

10. Defences to negligence  

This chapter discusses three key defences in the tort of negligence: voluntary assumption of risk (consent or volenti non fit injuria), contributory negligence and illegality. The defence of voluntary assumption of risk is based on the common-sense notion that ‘one who has invited or assented to an act being done towards him cannot, when he suffers it, complain of it as a wrong’. The defence of illegality denies recovery to certain claimants injured while committing unlawful activities. Contributory negligence is a defence that operates not to defeat the claimant’s claim entirely but rather to reduce the amount of damages the defendant must pay.

Chapter

Cover Markesinis & Deakin's Tort Law

23. Defences  

This chapter begins with a brief discussion of the role of defences in the law of torts. It then considers their application to torts which require proof of damage in order to be actionable, and in particular with the tort of negligence. The discussions cover contributory negligence; consent; exclusion and limitation of liability; illegality; necessity; inevitable accident; authorisation; and limitation of action. The chapter takes into account recent statutory developments including the effects of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on the law governing exclusion and limitation of liability. It also examines the extensive Supreme Court case law reexamining the defence of illegality.

Chapter

Cover Anson's Law of Contract

11. Illegality  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

This chapter considers what counts as illegality and the effect of illegality on a contract (and consequent restitution). The approach of the Courts to illegality has been transformed for the better, and simplified, by the Supreme Court in Patel v Mirza in 2016. Illegal conduct, tainting a contract, can vary widely from serious crimes (eg murder) to relatively minor crimes (eg breach of licensing requirements) through to civil wrongs and to conduct that does not comprise a wrong but is contrary to public policy. As regards the effect of illegality, where a statute does not deal with this, the common law approach is now to apply a range of factors. A final section of the chapter examines contracts in restraint of trade.

Chapter

Cover Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Human Rights

13. Substantive Grounds of Judicial Review  

This chapter discusses the substantive grounds of judicial review: illegality, irrationality, and proportionality. Illegality covers the following: excess of power; the relevant/irrelevant considerations doctrine; unlawful delegation of power; unlawful fettering of power; and the estoppel doctrine. Irrationality is also concerned with the substantive content of a government decision, but focuses on the political or moral rather than (in the strict sense) legal character of the decision. Proportionality review can be defined as a constitutional device that requires the courts to accept that the boundaries of moral consensus within which government bodies are confined are discernibly less broad in substantive terms than those that apply in respect of irrationality-based review.

Chapter

Cover Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law

10. Judicial Review: The Grounds  

This chapter introduces the nature and constitutional role of judicial review. It then examines the various grounds of review, which have been placed in three classes: illegality, procedural impropriety, and irrationality. The chapter also discusses the substantive aspect of legitimate expectations and the relationship between irrationality and proportionality in pure domestic law.

Chapter

Cover Koffman, Macdonald & Atkins' Law of Contract

15. Illegality  

This chapter explores the illegality of contracts. Contracts which may fall within the scope of the restraint of trade doctrine are considered, including the Court of Appeal’s approach in Proactive Sports Management Ltd v Rooney. The chapter also looks at other reasons why a contract may be declared illegal or void at common law, such as grounds of public policy. Policy factors and the illegality defence are explored in light of recent case law and the Law Commission Final Report ‘The Illegality Defence’. Useful case law illustrations demonstrate how the courts have dealt with the issues surrounding illegality in a range of contexts, such as contracts to commit an unlawful act, contracts promoting sexual immorality, contracts prejudicial to the interests of the state, contracts prejudicial to the administration of justice, and contracts promoting corruption in public life. The rules on severance in light of the Supreme Court decision in Tillman v Egon Zehnder (2019) and subsequent case law are also considered. The consequences and effects of impropriety and illegality are also looked at. The landmark case of Patel v Mirza [2016] UKSC 42, and its impact on the law, is also explored in this chapter.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

12. Judicial review: illegality  

This chapter considers ‘illegality’ as a ground of judicial review. Illegality is one of the three main grounds of judicial review as outlined by Lord Diplock in Council of Civil Service Unions & Others v Minister for the Civil Service. Broadly, the aim of this ground of judicial review is to ensure that public authorities act within the scope of their powers. This means that illegality is a wide ground of judicial review and is best considered as an umbrella term for a range of different ways in which a decision by a public authority can be challenged. A decision can be challenged under this ground of judicial review on the basis that the public authority lacks the power to make the decision in the first place, or if it does have the power, then the power has been exercised incorrectly.

Book

Cover Pearce & Stevens' Trusts and Equitable Obligations
Pearce & Stevens’ Trusts and Equitable Obligations provides a detailed and contextualized account of the law of equity and trusts. The text gives detailed analysis of all key decisions, statutes, and current academic debates related to the law of equity and trusts, providing a grounding in the subject. This new edition, which includes substantial additions on trusts of the family home, charities, and wills and intestate succession, brings the law coherently together. The text has been updated with recent cases and developments in the area, including Stoffel and Co v Grondona [2020] UKSC 42 on illegality, Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton UK LLP [2021] UKSC 20 on advisor liability, Webb v Webb [2020] UKPC 22 on beneficial ownership, and Matthew v Sedman [2021] 1 UKSC 19 on the running of time limits in limitation actions.

Chapter

Cover Street on Torts

8. Defences to negligence  

This chapter examines several defences in negligence cases, including contributory negligence (failing to take care of your own interests), voluntary assumption of risk, express exclusion or limitation of liability, and illegality (a plea by the defendant that the claimant should not be able to make a claim because the claim requires reference to the claimant’s own illegal acts). It explains that the plea of voluntary assumption of risk and the defences of express exclusion of liability and illegality can help the defendant reduce liability or avoid liability altogether. The chapter notes that contributory negligence is by far the most important of these defences in practical terms.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

18. Judicial Review 2: The Grounds of Judicial Review  

This chapter considers the grounds that have been and are being developed by the courts on which judicial review may be claimed. As well as the three established heads of judicial review presented by Lord Diplock in the GCHQ case—illegality, procedural impropriety (including procedural fairness) and irrationality (or Wednesbury unreasonableness)—the chapter considers proportionality, procedural and substantive legitimate expectations, and judicial responses to the argument that those exercising public functions must act consistently and with substantive fairness.

Chapter

Cover Complete Contract Law

16. Frustration of the Contract  

This chapter focuses on the frustration of the contract. It is possible for an unexpected event to take place that would make the performance of a contract completely different to what both parties intended. It might be that the event made performance physically impossible or illegal. Alternatively, perhaps the contract was based on a state of affairs that no longer exists as a result of the event. In such circumstances, it might be that the event has ‘frustrated’ the contract so that the contract is ended automatically. The chapter presents the background and basis of the frustration principle before turning to the ways in which a contract can be frustrated. It then addresses the factors limiting the scope of the principle. Finally, the chapter examines the effects of a frustrated contract, which includes limited ‘restitutionary’ financial adjustments between the parties based on specific legislation. Unlike misrepresentation, duress, and influence, frustration is not about remedying wrongdoing. But nor is it about providing a fair distribution of the loss in response to unexpected risks. Rather, the law seeks to prevent one party unfairly benefiting from an unforeseen windfall at the expense of the other in the aftermath of a frustrating event.

Chapter

Cover Trusts & Equity

7. Charity: trust creation and public policy II  

This chapter explores how the creation of trusts is influenced by special considerations of public policy, focusing on charity that is beneficial to the public as opposed to illegality. Charity will render a purpose trust valid that the law of trusts would otherwise consider to be void. In contrast, illegality will sometimes render an interest or transaction void or unenforceable that the law of trusts and gifts would generally consider to be valid. After considering the creation of charitable trusts, the chapter also discusses charitable purposes and the public benefit as well as the administration of charitable trusts, before concluding by analysing their variation in accordance with the ‘cy-près’ doctrine.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Equity & Trusts

Patel v Mirza [2016] UKSC 42, Supreme Court  

Essential Cases: Equity & Trusts provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Patel v Mirza [2016] UKSC 42, Supreme Court. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Derek Whayman.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

Congreve v Home Office [1976] QB 629, Court of Appeal (Civil Division)  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Congreve v Home Office [1976] QB 629, Court of Appeal (Civil Division). This case provides an example of illegality in the context of judicial review and also discusses the concept of parliamentary intention, and theoretical models for justifying particular interpretations of it. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service [1985] AC 374, House of Lords (also known as the GCHQ case)  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service [1985] AC 374, House of Lords (also known as the GCHQ case). This case note discusses both the ‘new nomenclature’ (Lord Roskill at 415) of judicial review established by Lord Diplock, and the House of Lords’ conclusion that prerogative powers are, in principle, reviewable by the courts. There is also discussion of the deployment of national security arguments to avoid review. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Henderson v Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation [2020] UKSC 43  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Henderson v Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust [2020] UKSC 43. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

Congreve v Home Office [1976] QB 629, Court of Appeal (Civil Division)  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Congreve v Home Office [1976] QB 629, Court of Appeal (Civil Division). This case provides an example of illegality in the context of judicial review and also discusses the concept of parliamentary intention, and theoretical models for justifying particular interpretations of it. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service [1985] AC 374, House of Lords (also known as the GCHQ case)  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service [1985] AC 374, House of Lords (also known as the GCHQ case). This case note discusses both the ‘new nomenclature’ (Lord Roskill at 415) of judicial review established by Lord Diplock, and the House of Lords’ conclusion that prerogative powers are, in principle, reviewable by the courts. There is also discussion of the deployment of national security arguments to avoid review. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Lunney & Oliphant's Tort Law

6. Defences to Negligence  

Donal Nolan and Ken Oliphant

This chapter examines the following defences to a claim in negligence: volenti non fit injuria; contributory negligence; exclusion of liability; and illegality. The defence of volenti non fit injuria reflects the common sense notion that ‘[o]ne who has invited or assented to an act being done towards him cannot, when he suffers from it, complain of it as a wrong’. Contributory negligence is a partial defence that operates not to defeat the claimant’s claim entirely but rather to reduce the amount of damages the defendant must pay. A defendant may seek to exclude all potential liability to another person in advance of exposing himself to the risk of a possible claim. The defence of illegality denies recovery to certain claimants on the grounds that their claim is tainted by their own illegal conduct.