Undue Influence In Contract Law

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Introduction Undue influence is a vital concept under the contract law. It exists in situations where one party to a contract entered into an agreement with the other party due to the result of pressure exerted to him by that other party. The innocent party who has been subjected to the pressure may then seek an action to set aside the said contract. Undue influence can be said to be developed from the doctrine of duress under the English Common Law. Hence, it can be said that undue influence has certain similarities to the doctrine of duress under the English Common Law, such as rendering a contract to become voidable, except a few distinctive features. For instance, undue influence only exists in situations where there is unlawful pressure…show more content…
In other words, there must be a gain of unfair advantage and/or a relationship that is abused by the one party who is dominating the other, innocent, weaker party. Moreover, the doctrine of duress requires the intentional use of force, or threats by one party in order to coerce the other party to enter into a contract with him. But in undue influence, the use of force, or the threatening of the use of force is not required. The more significant element under the concept of undue influence is that there must be pressure exerted on the other party and/or a well-established relationship between the parties to a contract and that relationship had been abused by one dominating party to force the weaker party to enter into an agreement. Overall, the doctrine of undue influence can only be applied when there is pressure exerted by one party, who has a relationship with the other, weaker party, and has been abusing the said relationship through the said pressure to…show more content…
In Johnson v. Buttress , an Australia case of undue influence, where the appellant had been looking after the deceased for many years and transferred ownership of a land to the appellant without receiving proper, independent legal advice. The son of the deceased challenged the said transfer as the deceased was illiterate, unsophisticated in business affairs and sole rely on the appellant and alleged undue influence. The High Court of Australia held that the transfer was set aside and further held that although there was no evidence of the appellant pressuring the deceased to make the transfer of the land, there was, however, a real and actual relationship between them because the appellant was trusted and relied by the deceased which then placed the burden of prove that the appellant had not taken any advantage by using her position which was not rebut by the appellant. The most important evidence however, is that the deceased did not have knowledge that he was parting with his piece of land permanently. Starke J stated as follows: “… But the age and capacity of the deceased, the improvident and unfair nature of the transaction, the want of proper advice, the retention of the rents of the property transferred, the various testamentary dispositions,

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