Unconscionable Bargain in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • PORTMAN BUILDING SOCIETY v DUSANGH and Others (Defendants/Appellant)
    • Court of Appeal
    • 19 Apr 2000

    To my mind none of the essential touchstones of an unconscionable bargain are to be found in this case. The appellant was not at a serious disadvantage to the building society: neither he nor his son had any existing indebtedness towards them. His situation was not exploited by the building society. The building society did not act in a morally reprehensible manner. The transaction, although improvident, was not "overreaching and oppressive".

  • Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland NV v Burch
    • Court of Appeal
    • 20 Jun 1996

    He must advise his client that she is under no obligation to enter into the transaction at all and, if she still wishes to do so, that she is not necessarily bound to accept the terms of any document which has been put before her but (where this is appropriate) that he should ascertain on her behalf whether less onerous terms might be obtained.

  • Lobb (Alec) (Garages) Ltd v Total Oil (Great Britain) Ltd
    • Court of Appeal
    • 08 Nov 1984

    Mere impecuniosity has never been held a ground for equitable relief. On the contrary the defendants were reluctant to enter into the transaction. The plaintiffs took independent advice from their solicitors and accountants. They went into the transaction with their eyes open, and it was of benefit to them because they were enabled to continue trade from the site for a number of years. In my view the Judge was right to refuse equitable relief.

  • Paragon Finance Plc v Nash and Another; Same v Staunton and Another
    • Court of Appeal
    • 15 Oct 2001

    "Nevertheless, it seems clear that the concepts of extortion and unconscionability are very similar. 'Extortionate', like 'harsh and unconscionable', signifies not merely that the terms of the bargain are stiff, or even unreasonable, but that they are so unfair as to be oppressive. This carries with it the notion of morally reprehensible conduct on the part of the creditor in taking grossly unfair advantage of the debtor's circumstances.

  • Tufton v Sperni
    • Court of Appeal
    • 25 Jul 1952

    Is it that it is right and expedient to save persons from the consequences of their own folly, or is it that it is right and expedient to save them from being victimised by other people? Courts of Equity have never set aside gifts on the ground of the folly, imprudence, or want of foresight on the part of donors. Huguenin v. Baseley is itself a clear authority to this effect.

  • Yorkshire Bank Plc v Tinsley
    • Court of Appeal
    • 25 Jun 2004

    A substitute contract will often come into existence in a different factual context from an earlier contract and that factual context may show that the second contract is not a true substitute for the first. But if the factual situations are materially similar and, if it is a condition of the rescission or release of the original void or voidable bargain that the parties enter into a new bargain, that new bargain must be as open to attack as the old one.

  • Times Travel (UK) Ltd v Pakistan International Airlines Corporation
    • Court of Appeal
    • 14 May 2019

    My conclusion on the central legal issue is that the doctrine of lawful act duress does not extend to the use of lawful pressure to achieve a result to which the person exercising pressure believes in good faith it is entitled, and that is so whether or not, objectively speaking, it has reasonable grounds for that belief. The common law and equity set tight limits to setting aside otherwise valid contracts. In this way undesirable uncertainty in a commercial context is reduced.

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