A contract which has been made as the result of one party being forced into it is not considered valid – and in such cases, the contract is deemed to have been made either as the result of undue influence or as a result of duress.
Contracts can be ruled invalid if it can be proved by one party that the contract was signed as a result of pressure, or if the contract was made between parties where there was a position of trust – as in family relationships, where a will may be central to contract dispute.
In such cases one party might sign a contract believing that it was “the right thing to do” because of the relationship between the parties, without having been fully appraised of the implications of the contract, – or without having been given sufficient or independent information allowing them to make an informed decision.
Not being given sufficient information might happen, for example, in the case of a contract for financial services, where the provider does not make it clear that independent advice should be taken before signing the contract.
A contract signed under duress might involve threats – such as blackmail –
or even violence to persuade one party to sign the contract.
There may be different circumstances in which duress is involved in the signing of a contract – including threats made to property (eg destruction of property), persons or businesses.
Economic duress – the threat to damage a business or personal financially – is a common form of duress and the court will consider each case involving economic duress according to its individual circumstances.
Duncan Lewis litigation solicitors can advise at any stage of a contract matter where undue influence or duress may be an issue. The Duncan Lewis litigation department can call on the expertise of its own in house legal experts to advise on any area of law – including commercial law, criminal law, family law, property law, employment law, and mental health and healthcare law.
For expert legal advice on contract disputes and Undue Influence or Duress in contracts, call Duncan Lewis Litigation Solicitors on 0333 772 0409.