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Misrepresentation (Part 2 of 2)

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Part II - Requirements for Actionable Misrepresentation


After the basic principles were established for actions in misrepresentation, there were various elements that became refined through judicial interpretation. These requirements shaped the concept into its modern form and may be summarised as follows:

  1. A false statement of fact has been made;
  2. That statement was made by the defendant to the claimant; and
  3. The statement induced the claimant to enter into a contract.

False Statement of Fact Made to the Claimant

The claimant must be able to show that the misrepresentation was directed at him or at a class of persons into which he fell and that it was reasonably foreseeable that the false statement might be relied upon by him. He must also show that it was intended that he act upon the misrepresentation.


The misrepresentation must have induced the claimant into the contract. Therefore, a misrepresentation of which he was unaware or he knew to be false would not be sufficient to offer any remedy. However, where there is a material misrepresentation, there is likely to be a presumption that inducement existed, particularly in cases of fraud.

Where it is plausible that the misrepresentation did in fact induce the claimant into the contract, it is for the defendant to prove that there was no inducement.

If there were several factors that led a claimant into entering into a contract, this does not prevent the misrepresentation being actionable. It does not need to be the sole inducement into the contract.

One potential complication with this last factor can arise if the defendant can prove that the claimant would have entered into the contract despite the misrepresentation. This is a valid defence where the misrepresentation was negligent but not if it was fraudulent.

If you need advice in respect of claims for misrepresentation or other contractual issues, Rollingsons has experienced lawyers who can assist you; for more information please contact James Crighton on 0207 611 4848.