Actionable Misrepresentation

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  • Topic: Misrepresentation, Contract, Misrepresentation Act 1967
  • Pages : 8 (3020 words )
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  • Published : May 28, 2013
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Misrepresentation
Misrepresentation is a concept in contract law referring to a false statement of fact made by one party to another party, which has the effect of inducing that party into the contract. For example, under certain circumstances, false statements or promises made by a seller of goods regarding the quality or nature of the product that the seller has may constitute misrepresentation. A finding of misrepresentation allows for a remedy of rescission and sometimes damages depending on the type of misrepresentation.[citation needed] According to Gordon v Selico (1986) 18 HLR 219 it is possible to make a misrepresentation either by words or by conduct, although not everything said or done is capable of constituting a misrepresentation. Generally, statements of opinion or intention are not statements of fact in the context of misrepresentation.[1] If one party claims specialist knowledge on the topic discussed, then it is more likely for the courts to hold a statement of opinion by that party as a statement of fact.[2] As enacted by the Misrepresentation Act,[3] the statement in question may constitute a representation even if later incorporated into the contract as a term (i.e. a warranty, condition or innominate term). An alternative approach, applied in parallel but in exclusivity to, is to find a collateral contract by interpreting the representation as a promise accompanied by some sort of consideration (see Heilbut, Symons & Co. v Buckleton [1913] A.C. 30 (H.L.)). The collateral contract will have the effect of adding the representation as a term to the contract. If the representation is found to be a term then the normal remedies for breach of contract apply. [edit] Criteria for Misrepresentation

Misrepresentation is one of several vitiating factors that can affect the validity of a contract. A misrepresentation occurs when one party makes a false statement, inducing another party to contract. For an action to be successful, some criteria must be met in order to prove a misrepresentation. These include: • A false statement of fact has been made,

• The statement was directed at the suing party and
• The statement had acted to induce the suing party to contract. [edit] Distortion of Fact
A representor may make a statement which prima facie is technically true; however this may tell only half the story. If a statement of fact is made but the representor fails to include information which would significantly alter the interpretation of this fact, then a misrepresentation may have occurred. In Krakowski v Eurolynx Properties Ltd (1995) 183 CLR 563, Krakowski agreed to enter into a contract to buy a shop premises from Eurolynx as long as a 'strong tenant' had been organised. The contract proceeded on the grounds that such a tenant had been arranged. Unbeknown to Krakowski, Eurolynx had entered into an additional agreement with the tenant to provide funds for the first three months rent to ensure the contract went ahead. When the tenant defaulted on the rent and subsequently vacated the premises, Krakowski found out about the additional agreement and rescinded the contract with Eurolynx. It was held that Eurolynx’s failure to disclose all material facts about the 'strong tenant' was enough to constitute a misrepresentation and the contract could be rescinded on these grounds. [edit] Learned Falsity

The negotiating stage of a contract can be a time consuming process. Because of this, new information may arise and circumstances may change. This can result in two situations which can result in a misrepresentation if silence is kept. The first is if the representor subsequently discovers that the statement was false, the second being if the statement becomes false at a later time. If a statement is made and it is subsequently made known to the representor that it is false, it would obviously be inequitable to allow the representor to remain silent with the new information. In Lockhart v. Osman [1981]...
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