Turnbull and Co v Duval: PC 1902

Mr Duval owed three separate sums to a firm Turnbull and Co including andpound;1,000 owed to the Jamaican branch for beer. Turnbulls’ manager and agent in Jamaica was a Mr Campbell. Mr Campbell was also an executor and trustee of a will under which Mrs Duval had a beneficial interest. Mr Campbell threatened to stop supplying beer to Mr Duval unless security was given for the debts owed and, with Mr Campbell’s knowledge, a document was prepared under which Mrs Duval charged her beneficial interest under the will to secure the payment of all debts owed by Mr Duval to Turnbull i.e. not only the money owed for beer but all the debts. Mr Duval put pressure on Mrs Duval to sign the document. She was under the impression that the document was to secure the beer debt only.
Held: A transaction may be set aside for misrepresentation or undue influence whether it was procured by the misrepresentation or undue influence of the party seeking to uphold the transaction or that of a third party.
Lord Lindley: ‘In the face of such evidence, their Lordships are of opinion that it is quite impossible to uphold the security given by Mrs. Duval. It is open to the double objection of having been obtained by a trustee from his cestui que trust by pressure through her husband and without independent advice, and of having been obtained by a husband from his wife by pressure and concealment of material facts. Whether the security could be upheld if the only ground for impeaching it was that Mrs. Duval had no independent advice has not really to be determined. Their Lordships are not prepared to say it could not. But there is an additional and even stronger ground for impeaching it. It is, in their Lordships’ opinion, quite clear that Mrs. Duval was pressed by her husband to sign, and did sign, the document, which was very different from what she supposed it to be, and a document of the true nature of which she had no conception. It is impossible to hold that Campbell or Turnbull and Co. are unaffected by such pressure and ignorance. They left everything to Duval, and must abide the consequences.’

Lord Lindley
[1902] AC 429
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedBarclays 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.
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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Undue Influence

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.180580