Duress and Undue Influence in Contract Validity

Duress and undue influence are vitiating factors that can impair the validity of a contract (Shilling, 2013). Duress refers to a substantial threat of violence of other illegal harm that puts undue pressure on a person signing a contract. Duress covers unlawful restraint, property, and economic wellbeing. However, legal action with a proper motive cannot constitute a threat; therefore, the unconscionability of a contract signed in a lawful context cannot be questioned (Shilling, 2013). Undue influence arises when one party takes advantage of their position of power to enter into a contract. According to Shilling (2013), “the person’s immaturity, illness, bereavement, lack of sophistication, etc., has the effect of limiting the ability to make valid decisions” (p. 29). Besides, a presumption of this vitiating factor can be automatically raised if there are special relationships between two parties (Monaghan & Monaghan, 2013). The factor is less severe than duress but can also nullify a contract.

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The book’s manuscript was discovered in a safe-deposit box by the writer’s lawyer, Tonia Carter (Pilkington, 2015). However, this version of the event is disputed by Kovaleski and Alter (2015) who argue that the document has been recovered much earlier. It can be argued that Lee’s decision to publish the book after several decades after its writing has been taken under undue influence. It has to do with the fact that the writer has been affected by the death of a close person and a stroke. Also, the woman’s ability to make sound judgments has been questioned by her caretakers (Kovaleski, Alter, & Howard, 2015). If severely-impaired decision-making ability of Lee can be proven, a court should order the remedy of rescission (Virgo, 2015).

References

Kovaleski, S., & Alter, A. (2015). Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’ may have been found earlier than thought. The New York Times. Web.

Kovaleski, S., Alter, A., & Howard, J. (2015). Harper Lee’s condition debated by friends, fans and now state of Alabama. The New York Times. Web.

Monaghan, N., & Monaghan, C. (2013). Beginning contract law. London, England: Routledge.

Pilkington, E. (2015). Go Set a Watchman: Mystery of Harper Lee manuscript discovery deepens. The Guardian. Web.

Shilling, D. (2013). Lawyers desk book. New York, NY: Aspen Publishers.

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Virgo, G. (2015). Principles of the law of restitution. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, November 11). Duress and Undue Influence in Contract Validity. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/duress-and-undue-influence-in-contract-validity/

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"Duress and Undue Influence in Contract Validity." StudyCorgi, 11 Nov. 2020, studycorgi.com/duress-and-undue-influence-in-contract-validity/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Duress and Undue Influence in Contract Validity." November 11, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/duress-and-undue-influence-in-contract-validity/.


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StudyCorgi. "Duress and Undue Influence in Contract Validity." November 11, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/duress-and-undue-influence-in-contract-validity/.

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "Duress and Undue Influence in Contract Validity." November 11, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/duress-and-undue-influence-in-contract-validity/.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Duress and Undue Influence in Contract Validity'. 11 November.

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