Walker v Chapman: 1790

The defendant, who was a page to the King, offered to take a bribe of pounds 50 from the plaintiff in return for securing him a place in the Customs. The bribe was paid but the plaintiff did not obtain the appointment and so he sued for the return of his money. It was argued for the defendant that no action would lie, the plaintiff being party to an iniquitous contract, and that the law would not suffer a party to ‘draw justice from a foul fountain’. Lord Mansfield rejected the defence, distinguishing between a claim to overturn an illegal contract and a claim to obtain benefit from it. Later judges have taken a different and stricter approach.


[1790] EngR 2105, (1790) Lofft 342, (1790) 98 ER 684




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedPatel v Mirza SC 20-Jul-2016
The claimant advanced funds to the respondent for him to invest in a bank of which the claimant had insider knowledge. In fact the defendant did not invest the funds, the knowledge was incorrect. The defendant however did not return the sums . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.365158