The Contractual Defence of Economic Duress - Further Refinement Required Despite Encouraging Advances

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This paper was written in an attempt to create a viable test for the judiciary to employ when deciding whether the pressure applied by one party in a case where economic duress is alleged is merely an "everyday business pressure", or a legitimate threat which would then be grounds for a voidable contract. It is argued that the courts, in assessing the facts of a duress case and attempting to figure whether the said pressure is illegitimate or not, are actually re-distributing the risk between the parties to the levels that could within the sphere of reasonable expectations, and one of the criteria for determining this would be reasonable disclosure of information at the start of the contract. A case study involving a duress case decided in 2007 is analyzed to illustrate this point.

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