Many private laws are geared towards preventing mistakes on one hand while the other aspect looks into the amelioration of the consequences of the same. What needs to be noted is that in the law of contract the terminology ‘mistake’ is used particularly in the case where the beliefs the involved parties have concerning the world are not correct at the time the contract is being made.
Assuming that writing a contract did not cost anything, the involved parties would state which of the beliefs they had were necessary to the contract and condition performance of those beliefs, just in the same way they would avoid any cases of ambiguity in defining their performance by stating all the relevant details. Because reading and writing a contract is expensive, the courts have always filled gaps in contracts which have not been completed by providing the missing terms while asking what the parties would have stated (Rasmusen, 1993).
Mistake’ in the Law of Contract The law clearly distinguishes between beliefs which are not correct at the time of making the contract. Mistake and incorrect belief concerning events taking place after the agreement but prior to performance. Excuses given for incorrect beliefs concerning later events are categorized as performance excuses as opposed to formation excuses, and while they raise similar concerns. A mistake in the law of contract is inclusive of many situations and courts usually make a distinction between unilateral and mutual mistakes (Rasmusen, 1993).
A unilateral mistake is considered an incorrect belief held by on of the parties top the contract but not shared by the other party to the same. A mutual mistake on the other hand is an incorrect belief which is shared by both the parties to the contract. According to Rasmusen (1993), in the law of contract, conventional wisdom states that a contract is likely to be void should the mistake be mutual, a distinction which the courts have maintained for a long time. Although judicial excuse for either unilateral or mutual mistake is considerably not common, the courts have always cited mutual mistakes as conditions for avoidance.
According to Rasmusen (1993), law digests continue to state mutual mistakes as a doctrine separate with regular new investments, and the term is frequently common in cases of contract. The other common issue is informal excuse. Many organizational stores permit customers to return goods even in cases where there had not been any prior agreement with regards to the same. At the same time, in many business transactions, buyers are usually allowed to cancel the orders they have made though this would actually dignify a breach of contract. Mistakes as to Persons Contracted
In the case of Shogun Finance Ltd v. Hudson, Lord Hobhouse spearheaded the leading judgment and indicated that the relevant question appertained to whether the rogue was the debtor regarding the rogue was the debtor under the contract of higher purchase pertaining to the car (Shogun Finance Ltd v. Hudson, 2004). In this case, Hudson considered he was while finance company did not hold the same perspective. The judge stated that the contract lay emphasis that the hirer could only be the individual whose name appear on the front of the agreement.
At the same time, the judge held that the agreement was the documented agreement stipulated in the written document, the offer the creditor was accepting being stated in the written document, that of Mr. Patel. That was to say that for the offer to have been made, it had to have been signed by Mr. Patel alongside the most important fact that the questions in the concerns surrounded the construction of the written document alone. While considering each of the scenarios at a time, Lord Hobhouse made a consideration that the document referred to no one else other than Mr. Patel.
The finance company was unwilling to engage in business transactions with any other person apart from the person named in the document. This was the exact expectation of the rogue given the fact that the company was only willing to engage in commercial transactions with Mr. Patel but not with the rogue. This has the implication that Lord Hobhouse considered that Sedley L. J of the Court of Appeal was incorrect the above case involved a rogue using an alias to disguise whoever was purchasing as opposed to deceiving the vendor (Shogun Finance Ltd v. Hudson, 2004).
Judgement-Shogun Finance Limited (respondent) vs. Hudson (FC) Appellant In the case of shogun Finance Ltd. and Hudson, the House of Lords makes decisions such as declining or complying with the recommendation by precursory, rejecting to sign the offer if there is alteration conditions since there are given particulars for the contractors or any other reason in their prudence. Also if there is no agreement. Therefore, if there is no contract the House of Lords will notify the contractor. In this case, the goods which were possessed in the anticipation that the offer could be accepted will have to be returned.
Consequently, there will be compensation of the contractor’s goods which might not be in good condition or tampered with (Wilford et al, 2004, pp. 1-48). The set down or given commodities in the part of trading, should be recuperated. If the House of Lords, marks there is an indication of legal binding. This will be looked upon as having been permitted to the provision and use of the goods and also bounded by the stipulations and circumstances of the conformity as from the signing period. This is what an individual is offered after signing the contract.
Once there is complete signing, by two parties, there is a hire-purchase contract in which there is observation of rental and permission of transacting commodities (Wilford et al, 2004, pp. 1-48). In the present case of shogun Finance Ltd. and Hudson the law is not appropriate for common agreements which are recognized. Significantly, there is a difference in the agreement of sales of commodities case whereby, confronting each other is applicable of the opinion. This application is in the concentration of the agreement of affectation on the designation, form of imbursement and secondary liberation.
However, in the agreement of rental acquirement which is a credit surety without designation transitory, the method of payment and liberation are very important (Wilford et al, 2004, pp. 1-48). The appeal on the case of shogun Finance Ltd. vs. Hudson raised a difficult problem on the effect of fraudulent misrepresentation on the formation of a contract. It is unsatisfactory for one to claim on fraudulent conduct of selling goods since this is part of mistaken identity. The law ties itself into a Gordian knot and is in a sorry condition which only Parliament or the Lordships House can remedy.
The case is identified with the creditworthiness of the proposed buyer where the seller wants to be sure of the payment of the goods sold to the buyer. Here there are two distinct kinds or cases of fraudulent misrepresentation. The crook fraudulently asserts he is creditworthy and that he is someone else known to be creditworthy (House of Lords, 2003). It is easy for one to suppose that there is no difference of substance between these two cases. These are merely two ways a crook may assert a spurious creditworthiness. However the law does not allow this.
It is a mistake as to persons attributes for a seller to part with his goods for the pursuant of a voidable contract. In some circumstances the seller is held to part with his goods pursuant to a void contract where there is no contract at all. This is known to be a case of mistake as to a person’s identity ((House of Lords, 2003). When a crook sells goods to an innocent third party the third party should be able to defend him or her self. The defence can be done by the use of the best distinction between a void and a voidable contract.
It is a mistake for a seller to fraudulently misrepresent ones identity. The legal principle applicable in the case does not differ according to whether the transaction is negotiated face to face, by letter, by fax, by e-mail, over the telephone, by video link or video telephone (House of Lords, 2003). When a purchaser is buying goods with a credit card or debit card, the purchaser is required to produce the card in person in a shop or give details of the card over the telephone, by email or by fax.
The fraudulent misuse of the credit card has the same essence of the transaction in each case. The provision of details does not differ from one means of communication to the next. The real meaning of the transactions is that the owner of the goods agrees to sell the goods on the basis of a fraudulent misrepresentation made by another person regarding his identity. The law in its response should apply the same principle in all the cases, irrespective of the precise mode of communication of offer and acceptance (House of Lords, 2003).
The appeal in the case of shogun Finance Ltd. and Hudson was ascended to by the House of Lords in their decision. The principles in this case are applicable to the formation of a contract sale of goods and hire purchase agreement. The document submitted to Shogun Finance and signed by the crook in the name of Mr Patel does refer explicitly to Mr. Patel. It identifies him with some of his particular details in his full name and address, his date of birth, his driving licence number, and his employer’s name and address (House of Lords, 2003).
These details were most important to Shogun Finance since the person whose credit rating it had checked and approved was identified. The company had an intention of contracting with this other person. But it is clear from the evidence that Shogun Finance had evidence that the dealer in the car showroom was one and the same person as the individual in the showroom. Shogun Finance proceeded in this fraud-induced belief. The house of lord relied on the statutory exception for Mr Hudson that in Part III of the Hire-Purchase Act 1964 as re-enacted in the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
The depiction was that, a bailed motor vehicle under a hire purchase agreement when the property in the vehicle has not yet been owned by the debtor and disposes of the vehicle to another person who is a private purchaser and has purchased the motor vehicle in good faith without notice of the hire-purchase agreement. The hire purchase agreement gives the disposition that the seller shall have effect as if the creditor’s title to the vehicle has been vested in the debtor immediately before that disposition. The principle in this case accords better with basic principle concerning the effect of fraud on the formation of a contract.
This principle is as matters of legal policy between two innocent persons where the loss is more appropriately tolerated by the person who handle the risk build within in parting with his goods without receiving payment (House of Lords, 2003). Conclusion It is evident that a party bears the risk of mistake when the risk is owed to him by agreement of the parties. One also bears the risk of mistake when one is aware at the time when the contract was made one had only limited knowledge of the facts to which the mistake relates but treated the limited knowledge as sufficient.
The risk is allocated to the party by the court on the opinion that it is rational in the circumstances to do so. It is obvious that courts are left confused about when to void for mistake. It is not easy for Courts to agree on what is mutual and what is unilateral. Relief cannot be given on the argument of mistake unless the mistake is mutual but this broad generalization is misleading and untrue (House of Lords, 2003). The emphasis has been on unilateral mistake and confession rather than on whether the mistake is mutual.
A normative evaluation of the law of mistake requires the examination of the different judicial conduct of unilateral and mutual mistakes. There are three economic effects of excuse rules on mistake (House of Lords, 2003). These are excuse for Unilateral Mistake where a party can withdraw if he was mistaken regardless of whether the other party was mistaken or not. The Excuse for Mutual Mistake occurs when the party can cancel only if both the buyer and seller were mistaken. Also there might be no excuse and the party can annul regardless of mistakes.