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Non est factum … bite size

As a general rule, someone who signs a contract is bound by it even if they haven’t read or understood it.

But this is not always the case.

If someone signs a document believing it to be something totally differed from what it actually is, the common law remedy of non est factum (‘this is not my deed’) may make the contract void.

To make such a contract void, the claimant must prove 3 things:

  • Their signature was induced by a trick or fraud
  • They made a fundamental mistake as to the nature of the document
  • They were not careless in signing it.


Key cases:


L’Estrange v Graucob (1934)


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