oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Economic duress in the law of unjust enrichment in USA, England and South Africa

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The doctrine of economic duress, in England, in the USA and in South Africa, is still in the process of development and the prevailing notions of what constitutes equitable or decent conduct furnish the basis for the legal definition of duress. All the elements in the transaction must be considered and the pressure used must be compared with what the court thinks is decent conduct, which probably means the standards generally prevailing in the community. Recognition of economic duress is more important to the Anglo-American law of contract than to European law because in both England and the USA, the courts refuse to inquire into the adequacy of consideration. If the courts are to refuse to inquire into adequacy of consideration, it becomes all the more important that they inquire into the pressure used to bring about a private settlement of disputes. The point is also relevant to South African law.

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