R v Her Majesty’s Attorney-General for England and Wales: PC 17 Mar 2003

PC (From Court of Appeal of New Zealand) T had been a member of the British SAS. Other members had written books and the Army sought to impose confidentiality contracts or to impose a return to their unit. R signed, but alleged this had been under duress and without resource to independent advice.
Held: The finding that the contract was an agreement which anyone who wished to serve or continue serving in the SAS could reasonably have been required to sign was fatal to any suggestion of undue influence or duress. It was a matter for regret that members of SAS were not told explicitly that arrangements could be made for them to obtain legal advice. However, R did not allege that he did not understand the implications of what he was being asked to do. The contract was in simple terms and the explanatory memorandum even plainer. Consideration had been given in not returning R to his base unit. Appeal dismissed. Lord Scott dissenting on undue influence: ‘the relationship between the appellant and his senior officers and the circumstances, as found by the judge, in which the contract came to be signed by the appellant produced a classic ‘relationship’ case in which undue influence should be presumed.’
Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Steyn, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Millett, Lord Scott of Foscote
[2003] UKPC 22, [2003] EMLR 24
PC, Bailii, PC
England and Wales
CitedRoyal Bank of Scotland v Etridge (No 2); Barclays Bank plc v Harris; Midland Bank plc v Wallace, etc HL 11-Oct-2001
Wives had charged the family homes to secure their husband’s business borrowings, and now resisted possession orders, claiming undue influence.
Held: Undue influence is an equitable protection created to undo the effect of excess influence of . .
CitedUniverse Tankships Inc of Monrovia v International Transport Workers Federation HL 1-Apr-1981
A ship belonging to the appellants had been blacked by the defendant union. Negotiations to clear the threat resulted in payment by the appellants to a welfare fund of the defendant. The company sought its refund saying that it had been paid under . .
CitedThorne v Motor Trade Association HL 1937
The House confirmed a declaration granted as to validity of a rule of association notwithstanding the absence of any dispute. The House considered the nature of the threat required to establish a defence of duress.
Lord Wright observed that the . .
CitedAlliance Bank Ltd v Broom 1864
The bank demanded security for its loan in circumstances in which it would otherwise have enforced payment. It made no promise not to demand payment but: ‘the [bank] did in effect give, and the defendant received, the benefit of some degree of . .
CitedBarton v Armstrong PC 5-Dec-1973
(New South Wales) The appellant had executed a deed on behalf of a company to sell shares to the respondent in the context of a long running boardroom battle. He said that the deed had been obtained by duress and was voidable. The respondent was . .
CitedDunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company Ltd v New Garage and Motor Company Ltd HL 1-Jul-1914
The appellants contracted through an agent to supply tyres. The respondents contracted not to do certain things, and in case of breach concluded: ‘We agree to pay to the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company, Ltd. the sum of 5 l. for each and every tyre, . .
CitedRegina v Shayler HL 21-Mar-2002
The defendant had been a member of the security services. On becoming employed, and upon leaving, he had agreed to keep secret those matters disclosed to him. He had broken those agreements and was being prosecuted. He sought a decision that the . .
CitedAllcard v Skinner CA 1887
The donor had parted with almost all her property. She now sought to have the transaction set aside for undue influence.
Held: Where a wife has entered into a gratuitous transaction with her husband, the burden was on the husband as donee to . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 January 2021; Ref: scu.179985