Abuse of a Relationship: Undue Influence in English Law and French Law

Andrew P Bell

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This article compares the protection provided by English law and French law against the abuse of relationships where one party places trust and confidence in the other or is subject to the other’s authority. It focuses on the English law of undue influence as it applies to contracts, gifts inter vivos and testamentary gifts, and it identifies the function- ally equivalent French rules, in particular those based on presumptions of suggestion and captation. The first part of the article looks at the problem at a general level, while the second concentrates on the treatment of particular relationships (parent and child and analogous cases, sexual relationships and religious relationships). The study notes some common ground and common heritage, but sheds light equally on the distinctive strate- gies of the two legal systems and highlights the impact of the different social contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-599
Number of pages45
JournalEuropean Review of Private Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Contract
  • Gifts
  • Wills
  • Consent
  • Undue Influence
  • Captation


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