Misrepresentation

If someone is misrepresentating something then the person is representing something incorrectly.

A misrepresentation is different in nature and quality from the expression of an opinion. 

Not all misrepresentations are actionable in the courts.  Actionable misrepresentations are false statements of fact made by one party to another.  Such statements are capable of influencing the other party and the law accepts that even though such a statement may not amount to a term of the contract, it may nevertheless induce the other party to enter into the contract.

Statements which amount to expressions of opinion, the law or future intention are not actionable.  On occasions some flattering statements are to be seen as mere 'puffs' and do not amount to the basis of a claim.  For example in Dimmock v Hallet (1866) land described 'fertile and improvable' was held not to amount to a misrepresentation.

Most law students will have heard of the principle that one cannot excuse themselves from criminal liability just because they are ignorant of the law. However, representations as to fact and law can be complex and care must now be taken in light of the case of Pankhania v London Borough of Hackney (2002).

The effect of an actionable misrepresentation is to make the contract voidable.  As a consequence the innocent party has the right to rescind the contract and/or claim damages.

The effect of a misrepresentation is that it may make what might have otherwise have been a valid contract void or voidable.  There are different degrees of misrepresentation and these are often categorised as innocent, negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation.

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