The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
The remedy of rescission is available to a party whose consent, in entering into a contract, has been invalidated in some way:
the effect of rescinding a contract is to extinguish it and restore the parties to their pre-contractual positions
the main grounds of rescission are misrepresentation, undue influence and duress
rescission is not a remedy for breach of contract
rescission can take effect by mutual agreement of the parties
rescission is barred in certain circumstances
Rescission is retrospective in effect:
it cancels the contract from the beginning so that it is treated as never having existed
the rights and duties of the parties under the contract are retrospectively extinguished
each party must (so far as possible) restore to the other any benefits received under the contract
The purpose of rescission is to restore the status quo ante, ie the state of affairs existing before the contract was entered into. When a contract transferring title to property is rescinded, it usually has the effect of re-vesting any property so transferred in the transferor.
It is important to distinguish the remedy of rescission from the remedy of termination for breach of contract, which historically was sometimes also called rescission (or ‘rescission de futuro’). In this
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