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L’ Estrange v Graucob

[1934] 2 KB 394

Case summary last updated at 01/01/2020 18:54 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case L’ Estrange v Graucob

 P bought a machine off D and signed a sales agreement, which maintained that payment was still required even if the machine was faulty. The machine stopped working and D refused to pay, claiming that the sales agreement was misrepresented to her as an order form, so that she was misled as to the purpose of the form and couldn’t be bound by the terms therein. CA found no misrepresentation and held that although P had failed to read the small print, she was still bound by the agreement. This case demonstrates the general rule that a signature is taken to mean that the signer has agreed to the terms. 

Maugham LJ: There are two ways of escaping contractual obligations where the party has signed: (1) where there is a “non est factum” i.e. where through no fault of the signer (usually fraud) the contents are fundamentally different from those he assumed to be present; (2) misrepresentation induced her to sign. Neither applied here. 

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