Contract Law: Duress and undue influence

August 13, 2023

If the contracting parties’ consent to the agreement was procured by duress to the person or economic duress, this can act as a vitiating factor which, if successfully proven, can nullify the contract. This is because the law does not see consent procured by duress as legitimate and thus there was no agreement – Kaufman v Gerson [1904]. Undue influence is similarly a vitiating factor, however, undue influence entails taking advantage of relationships of dependence to acquire consent to a contract. Undue influence falls short of the high threshold required for duress but can still set aside a contract if actual or presumed undue influence can be proven – Bank of Credit & Commerce International v Aboody [1990].

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