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   Home      R v Attorney-General for England & Wales 2003
R v Attorney-General for England & Wales [2003] UKPC 22 Privy Council

R was a member of the SAS. He was a member of the patrol Bravo Two Zero which became infamous after other members of the patrol had published books on the activities and a film was made based on the books. The publicity lead to controversy amongst the patrol as it was motivated by commercial gain and distorted the truth placing blame on some of the dead and surviving members of the patrol. In response to this the Ministry of Defence introduced confidentiality agreements to prevent future publications. R was told that he must sign the confidentiality agreement if he wished to continue in the regiment or be Returned to Unit which would be a considerable demotion for the claimant and was generally given as a form of punishment. R asked if he could take legal advice on the agreement and was told that he could not. He signed the agreement in Oct 1996 and in March 1997 took the decision to leave the Army. The following year he wished to put his side of the events of Bravo Two Zero to correct the earlier errors and save the memories of his lost colleagues. He entered a contract with a publisher and the Attorney- General brought a claim seeking an injunction to prevent publication. R sought to have the confidentiality agreement set aside as it was signed under military orders he raised both duress and undue influence in his defence.

Held: A lawful demand may constitute illegitimate pressure where the demand is not justified. However, there must still be absence of choice. R was not acting under military orders to sign the agreement. He may have been faced with overwhelming pressure, but he still had choice. The MOD were justified in introducing the confidentiality agreement therefore the demand was both lawful and justified and thus did not amount to illegitimate pressure.

Back to lecture outline on Duress