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Fry v Lane

[1888] 40 Ch 312

Case summary last updated at 04/01/2020 19:09 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Fry v Lane

Ps were selling their interest in a property to D and were being advised by D’s solicitor. D then sold the property for vastly greater sum than he paid, and the court ordered that the release of Ps’ interest and that they be given the proportion of the proceed from the sale in proportion to their interests. 

 Kay J: Ps were “poor and ignorant”, had “no independent advice” and the sale was at an “undervalue”. He bases on his judgment on (1) the vulnerability of Ps and (2) the substantive unfairness of the contract. He says that although normally deals cant be set aside “merely on the grounds of undervalue”, they can where there is an “undervalue so gross as to suggest fraud”. In such cases (weakness of P and usury, extortion, taking advantage etc by D) there is a presumption of fraud which D can overturn by showing the transaction to be “fair, just and reasonable” as in Aylesford. 

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