Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of undue influence and duress in equitable defenses?
Undue influence and duress play a significant role in equitable defenses, which are legal strategies used to ensure fairness in the enforcement of contracts. Equitable defenses are invoked when the remedy sought is "at law" and are designed to address situations where the strict application of the law would result in an unfair outcome. Undue influence refers to situations where one party uses their position of authority to take advantage of the other party in the creation of a contract. If there is evidence of undue influence, equitable relief may not be possible. This is because the contract may be seen as inherently unfair, having been formed under conditions where one party was able to exert an unfair level of influence over the other. Duress, on the other hand, involves situations where a party feels pressured into doing something, often involving threats or physical harm to oneself or loved ones. Like undue influence, the presence of duress can prevent the enforcement of a contract under equitable principles. This is because the contract may be seen as having been formed under conditions of coercion, rather than free will.
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