Mistake of Fact in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • E v Secretary of State for the Home Department
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 02 Feb 2004

    First, there must have been a mistake as to an existing fact, including a mistake as to the availability of evidence on a particular matter. Secondly, the fact or evidence must have been "established", in the sense that it was uncontentious and objectively verifiable. Fourthly, the mistake must have played a material (not necessarily decisive) part in the Tribunal's reasoning.

  • Lipkin Gorman (A Firm)(Original Appellants and Cross-Respondents) v Karpnale Ltd (Formerly Playboy Club of London Ltd) (Original Respondents and Cross-Appellants)
    • House of Lords
    • 06 Jun 1991

    At present I do not wish to state the principle any less broadly than this: that the defence is available to a person whose position has so changed that it would be inequitable in all the circumstances to require him to make restitution, or alternatively to make restitution in full.

  • Fibrosa Spolka Akcyjna v Fairbairn Lawson Combe Barbour Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 15 Jun 1942

    It is clear that any civilised system of law is bound to provide remedies for cases of what has been called unjust enrichment or unjust benefit, that is to prevent a man from retaining the money of or some benefit derived from another which it is against conscience that he should keep.

  • Bell v Lever Bros Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 15 Dic 1931

    Corresponding to mistake as to the existence of the subject matter is mistake as to title in cases where unknown to the parties the buyer is already the owner of that which the seller purports to sell to him. To such a case Lord Westbury applied the principle that if parties contract under a mutual mistake and misapprehension as to their relative and respective rights the result is that the agreement is liable to be set aside as having proceeded upon a common mistake.

  • Kleinwort Benson Ltd v Lincoln City Council
    • House of Lords
    • 29 Oct 1998

    Cases where the payer was aware that there was an issue of law which was relevant but, being in doubt as to what the law was, paid without waiting to resolve that doubt may be left on one side. A person who pays when in doubt takes the risk that he may be wrong–and that is so whether the issue is one of fact or one of law.

  • Woolwich Equitable Building Society v Commissioners of Inland Revenue
    • House of Lords
    • 20 Jul 1992

    I would therefore hold that money paid by a citizen to a public authority in the form of taxes or other levies paid pursuant to an ultra vires demand by the authority is prima facie recoverable by the citizen as of right.

  • Geogas S.A. v Trammo Gas Ltd (Baleares)
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 01 Dic 1992

    On an appeal the court must decide any question of law arising from an award on the basis of a full and unqualified acceptance of the findings of fact of the arbitrators. It is irrelevant whether the court considers those findings of fact to be right or wrong. It also does not matter how obvious a mistake by the arbitrators on issues of fact might be, or what the scale of the financial consequences of the mistake of fact might be.

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Legislation
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Book Review: Criminal Defences
    • Núm. 18-2, Junio 1985
    • Journal of Criminology (formerly Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology)
    ...... infancy or insanity, necessity, duress, compulsion, coercion, mistake of fact or law and, in some cases, consent. Particular defences ......
  • Excessive Self-Defence: Third-Party Problems
    • Núm. 76-6, Diciembre 2012
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The
    ......-defence; Involvement in attack by victim; Putative self-defence; Mistake of fact The defendant stood trial for intentionally causing bodily harm ( ......
  • Book Review: Young Offenders and the State: A Canadian Perspective on Delinquency
    • Núm. 18-2, Junio 1985
    • Journal of Criminology (formerly Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology)
    ...... infancy or insanity, necessity, duress, compulsion, coercion, mistake of fact or law and, in some cases, consent. Particular defences ......
  • The Australian Criminal Code: Time for Some Changes
    • Núm. 37-2, Junio 2009
    • Federal Law Review
    ...... My particular concern, in this essay, is the effect of mistake or ignorance on criminal responsibility. I have two objectives in th e ... criminal responsibility are relatively well settled when errors of fact are in issue and Chapter 2 faithfully reproduced the received common law ......
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Law Firm Commentaries
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