D, a young man in much debt, owed X money and borrowed money off P to pay X. P advanced D money a rate of 60% interest. P had no advice on the loan and the CA stayed P’s claims for repayment, instead ordering that the money be repaid at a rate of 5%. It said that P took advantage of D’s vulnerable position and the burden was put on P for proving that the loan was fair.
Lord Selbourne: There is equitable release and fraud is presumed/inferred where D is weak and P has undertaken extortion, usury or taken advantage of the weakness. In this context fraud means an “unconscientious use of the power arising out of these circumstances and conditions.” Where these circumstances exist, there is a prima facie presumption that the contract was fraudulent, which can only be overturned if D show that the contract was “fair, just and reasonable”. This “fraud” often occurs when heirs to property (as here) are “snared” by money lenders.