Undue Influence

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  • Created on: 29-04-18 20:37

Allcard v Skinner (1887) - Religious advisor and disciple is a protected relationship. The claimant had inherited her family's wealth. She became a member of the 'protestant sisters of the poor' (religious order with oaths of poverty and obedience) and this involved giving up her property. She gifted her property to the sisterhood. She left the order but it was a further 6 years before she sought to reclaim her property. The Court of Appeal held that although she had been unduly influenced, she could not recover due to delay (laches) and acquiescence since leaving the sisterhood. The judgment involves distinctions of actual and presumed undue influence. It is important for Lindley LJ's test of the types of gifts which will be set aside (raising suspicions) which later became the test adopted more expressly in Royal Bank of Scotland v Etridge (No 2), and for the fact that it is not necessary to prove 'wrongdoing' (or a motive to abuse the relationship) in order to establish undue influence based on the parties' relationship. 

Bainbrigge v Browne (1881) - Parent and child is a protected relationship. An impoverished father had prevailed upon his inexperienced children to charge their reversionary interests upon their parents' marriage settlement to pay his mortgage debts. Undue influence was claimed. It was held that the defendants who were not volunteers did not have the requisite notice of the undue influence and were entitled to enforce their security.

Wright v Carter (1903) - Solicitor and client is a protected relationship. The plaintiff sought to set aside a gift that he had made to his solicitor asserting undue influence.

Bank of Montreal v Stuart (1911) - Husband and wife relationship is not a protected relationship. The court used the phrase 'immoderate and irrational' to describe the character of a transaction which might of its nature suggest undue influence. A solicitor who is advising a client about a transaction and has reason to suspect that the client is the victim of undue influence is placed under a duty to the client to try and protect her. The relationship between husband and wife did not as a matter of law raise a presumption of undue influence.

National Westminster Bank v Morgan (1985) - Bank and customer is not a protected relationship. the defendants (Mr and Mrs Morgan) had brought their home using a mortgage from the Abbey National Building Society. They fell into arrears repaying the mortgage and Mr Morgan also had business debts. To save their home, the defendants sought, and obtained, a short-term bridging loan secured by a charge over the house, from the claimant bank. The bank manager, Mr Barrow, had visited the home of the defendants to obtain Mrs Morgan's signature for the loan and charge. The defendants failed to repay the loan and the claimant brought proceedings for possession. The wife's defence was that, in obtaining her signature to the charge, the claimant, through its manager Mr Barrow, had exercised undue influence over her. The House of Lords, allowing…


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