Undue influence (in contract law) (Ro.: abuz de putere/ leziune/ viciu de consimţământ, Fr.: abus d'autorité, n.m./ lésion, n.f./ influence indue, n.f., Gr.:  καταχρηστική άσκηση επιρροής / κατάχρηση επιρροής, Cz.: nedovolené ovlivňování ) (See also: duress, necessity) = a wrongful act, by means of which one of the parties of a contract takes advantage of the weaker position of the other while entering the contract. When undue influence is invoked and proved by the innocent party, the contract will be rendered voidable. 

Actual ~ (Ro.: abuz de putere efectiv/ leziune efectivă/ viciu de consimţământ efectiv, Fr.: abus d’autorité réel, n.m./ lésion réelle, n.f./ influence indue réelle, n.f.) = a legal defence available to the claimant, in which he or she must prove that at the moment of the formation of the contract, actual threats were exerted upon him or her, and that power was unbalanced between the parties.

Presumed ~ (Ro.: abuz de putere prezumat/ leziune prezumată/ viciu de consimţământ prezumat, Fr.: abus d’autorité présumé, n.m./ lésion présumée, n.f./ influence indue présumée, n.f.) = an imbalance of power between the parties, considered to exist until proof of the contrary.


Useful links

Legislation - California Civil Code, USA [English] - Romanian Civil Code, Art. 1221 [Romanian] - Report of the Superior Court of California, USA [English]

Case Law - West v. Public Trustee, Supreme Court, State Reports, South Australia, 1942 - R v. Her Majesty's Attorney-General for England and Wales, New Zealand, 2003 - CIBC Mortgages v. Pitt, 1 AC 200 House of Lords, UK, 1994 - Margaret Betina Hammond v. Susan Osborn & Anor, England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division), 2002 - National Westminster Bank plc. v. Morgan, UK, 1985

Organisations and associations - Stiegel, Lori, Klem, Ellen, Undue Influence: Context, Provisions, and Citations in Adult Protective Services Laws, By State, American Bar Association (USA) 

Online Publications - Tidgren, Kristine A., 2014, Iowa Supreme Court Clarifies Standard of Proof for Undue Influence Cases, Iowa State University - Nievod, Abraham, 1993, Undue Influence in Contract and Probate Law, Cultic Studies Journal - Kelly, Peter K., 2012, Objections to Probate: Undue Influence and Duress, LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom Estate and Elder Law - Randolph, Mary, Undue Influence in Estate Planning, NOLO -Law For All


Beatson, Jack, Friedman, Daniel, 1997, Good Faith and Fault in Contract Law, Oxford, Clarendon Press


By Ana Pintea