The plaintiff, an elderly solicitor wishing to retire, advertised for someone to enter into partnership with him and to buy his house. The defendant responded to the advertisement and negotiations followed, in which the plaintiff stated that the practice brought him in about 300 pounds a year. In fact it did not bring in anything like that amount. The parties entered into partnership and into a separate contract for the sale of the house, which made no reference to the business. The defendant paid a deposit and was let into possession. On discovering that the practice was not worth what the plaintiff had said, the defendant gave up possession and refused to complete the purchase. The plaintiff sued for specific performance; the defendant counterclaimed for rescission of the contract and damages for deceit. The plaintiff succeeded at first instance.
Held: In the absence of proof that he had in fact become aware of the falsity, he was entitled to relief. To claim that a misrepresentation was corrected before the contract was entered into, it is not sufficient to say that he would have discovered the true position if he had acted with all due care. ‘Nothing can be plainer, I take it, on the authorities in equity than that the effect of false representation is not got rid of on the ground that the person to whom it was made has been guilty of negligence. One of the most familiar instances in modern times is where men issue a prospectus in which they make false statements of the contract made before the formation of a company, and then say that the contracts themselves may be inspected at the offices of the solicitor. It has always been held that those who accepted those false statements as true were not deprived of their remedy merely because they neglected to go and look at the contract. Another instance with which we are familiar is where a vendor makes a false statement as to the contents of a lease, as, for instance, that it contains no covenant preventing the carrying on of the trade which the purchaser is know by the vendor to be desirous of carrying on upon the property. Although the lease itself might be produced at the sale, or might have been open to the inspection of the purchaser long previously to the sale, it has been repeatedly held that the vendor cannot be allowed to say, ‘You were not entitled to give credit to my statement’. It is not sufficient, therefore, to say that the purchaser had the opportunity of investigating the real state of the case, but did not avail himself of that opportunity.’
Sir George Jessel MR
 20 ChD 1,  UKLawRpCh 251, (1881-1882) 20 ChD 1
England and Wales
Cited – Assicurazioni Generali Spa v Arab Insurance Group (BSC) CA 13-Nov-2002
Rehearing/Review – Little Difference on Appeal
The appellant asked the Court to reverse a decision on the facts reached in the lower court.
Held: The appeal failed (Majority decision). The court’s approach should be the same whether the case was dealt with as a rehearing or as a review. . .
Cited – Weir and others v Secretary of State for Transport and Another ChD 14-Oct-2005
The claimants were shareholders in Railtrack. They complained that the respondent had abused his position to place the company into receivership so as to avoid paying them compensation on a repurchase of the shares. Mr Byers was accused of ‘targeted . .
Cited – Halpern and Another v Halpern and others ComC 4-Jul-2006
The court considered whether a party can avoid a contract procured by duress in circumstances where he cannot offer the other party substantial restitutio in integrum.
Held: Unless the claimant could offer counter-restitution, the remedy of . .
Cited – Hayward v Zurich Insurance Company Plc CA 31-Mar-2015
The claimant sought damages alleging his back had been injured at work. The insurers accepted liability but said that the claimant had exaggerated the extent of his injury. The claim was settled, but later a neighbour of the claimants said that the . .
Cited – Hayward v Zurich Insurance Company Plc SC 27-Jul-2016
The claimant had won a personal injury case and the matter had been settled with a substantial payout by the appellant insurance company. The company now said that the claimant had grossly exaggerated his injury, and indeed wasfiully recovered at . .
Cited – Takhar v Gracefield Developments Ltd and Others SC 20-Mar-2019
The claimant appellant alleged that properties she owned were transferred to the first defendant under undue influence or other unconscionable conduct by the second and third defendants. The claim was dismissed. Three years later she claimed to set . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 January 2022; Ref: scu.187267