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North Ocean Shipping v Hyundai Construction (The Atlantic Baron) [1979] QB 705

The defendants agreed to build a ship for the claimants for a certain price specified in US dollars. After entering the contract the US dollar was devalued by 10%. The defendants threatened not to complete unless the claimants paid an additional 10% on the contractually agreed price. The claimants had a valuable charter lined up so agreed to pay the additional sums and did pay them without protest. 8 months after delivery of the ship the claimants brought an action to recover the additional sums paid.

Held: The contract was voidable for duress, however, since the claimants had left it so long in bringing their claim they had affirmed the contract and lost their right to rescind.

Back to lecture outline on Duress in Contract law