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Contract LawText, Cases, and Materials

Contract Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (9th edn)

Ewan McKendrick
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date: 04 August 2021

p. 60718. Duresslocked

p. 60718. Duresslocked

  • Ewan McKendrickEwan McKendrickProfessor of English Private Law, University of Oxford


A contract can be set aside on the ground that it has been entered into under duress. This chapter presents cases illustrating the different forms of duress, namely duress of the person, duress of goods, and economic duress. The case-law establishes that there are two principal elements to a duress claim: (i) lack of consent/coercion of the will and (ii) the illegitimacy of the pressure exerted. The chapter examines the idea of ‘illegitimacy’, in particular whether a threat to breach a contract is always illegitimate and the scope of ‘lawful act’ duress.

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