Differences Between Duress And Undue Influence

1923 Words Dec 12th, 2014 8 Pages
Explain the differences between ‘duress’ and ‘undue influence’. Do both categories together amount to a law against unconscionable contracts? It is of great importance that parties to a contract enter into the agreement voluntarily rather than as a result of pressure which is called duress or manipulation which is called undue influence. The basis of a contract, a legally binding contract is founded upon the parties giving their free consent to be bound by the terms of the agreement. In other words, the contract is made within the context of some pressure or obstruction. Equally, there are significant differences between them that will make it harder to regard them as simply aspects of a wider legal framework prohibiting unconscionable bargains.
Duress involves a threat, for example, ‘if you do not make this contract, I will hit you '. A contract made in such a way will be voidable. There is no actual agreement just force, and so the person being threatened should not be held to the contract. Unlawful threats of physical violence however are clearly going to have this effect, but, in recent years, courts have extended the concept far beyond this. Any threat of criminal behaviour will apparently amount to duress, but the courts have also identified the category of ’economic duress ' which is in contracts occurs where a party to a contract threatens to cancel a contract unless the other party agrees to their demands. The economic duress occurs when the other party has no…
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