Where the parties have entered a contract under a fundamental mistake of fact, the contract is void at common law1. The transaction will be set aside by the court and the buyer is entitled to recover any money paid2. This principle has been applied where the subject matter of the contract had been destroyed before the contract was made3, where the buyer unknowingly contracts to buy property which he already owns4, where the parties misunderstood the legal effect of the transaction5 and where both parties were mistaken as to the meaning of the contract6.
A mistake as to the quality
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