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Hermione - Law Case Study
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| Words: 1298 | Submitted: 30-Apr-2011
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DescriptionCommon Law of Contract Case Study
Case Study One: Hermione
Hermione is an auctioneer who has recently experienced some legal problems:
Hermione placed adverts in several national newspapers detailing that a sale of antique furniture by the seventeenth century designer James Boswell, would be held in Edinburgh on 21st June. Morag, a private collector, who saw the advert, was very interested in bidding for this furniture and she has decided to make the trip to Edinburgh from the Shetland Islands to attend the sale. Several conditions were set out in Hermione’s advert, one being:” The highest bidder to be the buyer.” Morag attended the auction as planned. She successfully bid for a 17th Century oak dining table. The next lot contained a collection of Boswell pieces in which Morag was greatly interested. Her bid was the highest, but before the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer, the owner of the goods, who was present in the auction room, decided to withdraw the goods from sale. Morag is furious and demands that she be given the furniture.
Q1. Morag quickly discovers that whilst the oak dining table is indeed of 17th Century origin, it is not the work of James Boswell after all, but rather that of a promising apprentice who worked for the famous designer. She is unhappy with her purchase and wishes to rescind the contract. Advise her of her legal position.
The area of law which was wrong is misrepresentation. A misrepresentation is a false statement of fact, which induces the other party to enter into the contract. It may be fraudulent, innocent or negligent.
To have a damaging effect on the contract, the following requirements must be met:
The misrepresentation must be one of fact.
Statements of existing fact are to be contrasted with statements of law and statements of opinion or belief.
No remedy is generally available for a misrepresentation of law, unless perhaps it is deliberate. Statements of opinion or belief include those vague boasts, which sellers commonly make about their goods (and which buyers rarely take literally). On the other hand, a statement of opinion or belief may amount to an actionable misrepresentation if the maker does not actually hold the opinion or belief in question, since he misrepresents his own state of mind
The misrepresentation must induce the contract.
The person seeking redress must have relied upon the statement in question. Even if a reasonable person had acted upon the statement, the contract will not be harmed if it was not in fact relied upon. Where a person is unaware of misrepresentation he obviously will not rely upon it; on other occasions he may be aware of the statement in question but not allow it to influence his judgement.
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