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The Purpose of the Doctrine of Presumed Undue Infuence

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the doctrine of presumed undue influence in the light of a number of recent English appellate court decisions. It argues that these decisions have failed to clarify the law, and that they suggest that there is no predominant English judicial view about the purpose of the doctrine. Chen-Wishart states that there are three main competing interpretations of the rationale of the doctrine. The first two views focus on procedural unfairness, one that focuses on whether the stronger party was guilty of a form of wrongdoing in relation to a position of influence, and other that focuses on whether the 'weaker' party's will was 'overborne' and which regards any misconduct on the 'stronger' or ascendant party's part as irrelevant. The third view of the doctrine of presumed undue influence emphasises substantive unfairness, characterising the purpose of the doctrine as the protection of vulnerable parties from provident transactions.

Keywords: Chen-Wishart; Doctrine; English appellate court decisions; presumed undue influence



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