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North Sea Shipping Co v Hyundai Construction, The Atlantic Baron

[1979] QB 705

Case summary last updated at 04/01/2020 18:12 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case North Sea Shipping Co v Hyundai Construction, The Atlantic Baron

D was contracted to build a tanker for P for a price in dollars that was not to change. When the dollar devalued, D demanded that a higher price be paid to compensate and threatened to terminate unless P agreed. P paid and then tried to reclaim the money due to economic duress. Mocatta J held that there was duress, BUT that P couldn’t reclaim the money because, in paying the final instalments later on without protest and in making a big delay in their claim for payments, they had actually affirmed the contract. 

Mocatta J: The approach to economic duress is to see if the principles fit, NOT to reason by analogy or see if the case falls within previously established categories. A threat to break a contract MAY = economic duress in the right circumstances. Generally money paid under economic duress can be recovered and contracts voided (provided no affirmation). 

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