P was illiterate, spoke little English and was given a mortgage whose contract stated that P’s earnings were higher than they actually were. The mortgage was to help P’s son start up a business. P’s son guaranteed the father’s mortgage but became bankrupt and so couldn’t do it. The bank, D, began mortgage repossession proceedings when P failed to make the payments. P sought to stay the proceedings on the grounds that his agreement with his son was unconscionable. CA rejected this.
Ward LJ: To show an unconscionable bargain, there was a need for one of the parties to have imposed objectionable terms in a way which affects that person's conscience. It was not enough to show that the bargain was hard, unreasonable or foolish because the concern is instead with the behaviour of the stronger party. “No unconscientious advantage had been taken of the father's illiteracy, his lack of business acumen or his paternal generosity. True it may be that the son gained all the advantage and the father took all the risk, but this cannot be stigmatised as impropriety.”