Bank of Victoria Ltd v Mueller: 1925

Cussen J opined that a wife was entitled to relief from a guarantee granted to the bank undertaken under pressure from her husband where amongst other matters it could be shown: ‘that the husband in procuring and pressing for such consent misrepresents in a material respect what is proposed to be the nature of her liability as guarantor, and that, by reason of such misrepresentation, the wife in respect of such matter does not understand the true nature of her liability as expressed in a form of guarantee signed by her.’
Cusen J drew a comparison with equity’s treatment of gifts made by a mistaken donor’ and the ‘long established principles which would preclude enforcement of a guarantee in some cases where the creditor has not disclosed to the intending surety some features of the transaction’.
Cussen J said: ‘In the first place, it is obvious that a large benefit is conferred both on the creditor and the debtor, which, so far as any advantage to the guarantor is concerned, is voluntary, though no doubt ‘consideration’ exists so far as the creditor is concerned, so soon as forebearance is in fact given or advances are in fact made. It is, I think, to some extent by reference to the rule or to an extension of the rule that, in the case of a large voluntary donation, a gift may be set aside in equity if it appears that the donor did not really understand the transaction, that such a guarantee may be treated as voidable as between the husband and wife.’
Cussen J
[1925] VLR 642
England and Wales
Cited by:

  • Cited – Barclays Bank Plc v O’Brien and Another HL 21-Oct-1993
    The wife joined in a charge on the family home to secure her husband’s business borrowings. The husband was found to have misrepresented to her the effect of the deed, and the bank had been aware that she might be reluctant to sign the deed.
    Gazette 17-Dec-93, Times 22-Oct-93, Independent 22-Oct-93, [1993] 3 WLR 786, [1994] 1 AC 180, [1993] 4 All ER 417, [1993] UKHL 6

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 December 2020; Ref: scu.180572