The Fiduciary Explanation for Presumed Undue Influence


  • Marshall Haughey Student-At-Law, Bennett Jones LLP, Calgary, Alberta



Despite centuries of the common law more or less recognizing the distinction between actual and presumed undue influence, recent cases from the House of Lords and Supreme Court of Canada indicate a failure to appreciate the true nature of presumed undue influence and its connection to fiduciary law. As such, an appropriate legal test for presumed undue influence is still required. Through an examination and critique of leading case law and academia on the conventional fiduciary obligation, deferential trust, and the two types of undue influence, this article makes a case for the adoption of fiduciary influence as the appropriate test for deferential trust. The circumstances that can give rise to fiduciary influence are infinitely variable; however, courts must determine whether, on the facts, the trusted party acquired influence for the limited and defined purpose of acting in the trusting party’s interest at the time of the impugned transaction.