The homosexual teacher, Tony Blair and that night in Brussels
Numberwatch raises a point that I have been mulling over:
The not-a-constitution, largely dreamt up by anonymous authoritarian bureaucrats and rejected whenever exposed to democratic choice, has been forced through by the well-known technique of persuasion that is sleep-deprivation.
If a contract is obtained by undue influence, the document is invalid, literally as contract law theory sees it, no contract has been formed. Within the conceptual framework of contract law, no contract can be formed unless there has be a "meeting of the minds" of independent, bargaining individuals. If a contract is obtained through the use of undue influence then there has never been an actual meeting of the minds of two bargaining parties.
The concept of undue influence developed in the English courts as a means of policing unfair agreements induced by improper means of persuasion. By contrast, the common law doctrines of duress were conceived as corollaries of the law of crime and tort. The English equity courts sought to protect individuals, affected with a "weakness" that fell short of total incapacity, against improper persuasion by others in positions of authority, control, trust, familial relation, or the like, who had the means and opportunity to exercise improper persuasion.
In the US it has been ruled that undue influence also includes situations in which the weaker individual comes under the domination of the stronger, when such"strength" is based on knowledge, training, or relationship and "weakness" is a product of weakness of mind or necessities of life and/or distress.
In the most important of such cases, Odorizzi v. Bloomfield School Districts, the plaintiff was an elementary school teacher who had been arrested on criminal charges of homosexuality. In his complaint, he alleged that on that day, after his arrest, booking, interrogation by the police, and release on bail, and after he had gone 40 hours without sleep, the superintendent of the school district and the principal of his school came to his apartment to ask for his resignation. The school officials said that they were acting in Odorizzi's best interests in seeking his resignation, after which they would not publicize the arrest and thereby interfere with his chances to secure future employment. They also said that if he did not resign immediately, they would dismiss him and publicize the incident. The plaintiff signed a written resignation at that time. Later criminal
charges were dismissed. He was later denied reinstatement and reemployment. Odorizzi brought his case against the school district to rescind his resignation.
The appellate court reversed a trial court decision and said that the situation rightfully fell under the doctrine of undue influence: taking unfair advantage of another's weakness of mind or distress. The court held that improper persuasion may occur when the person being influenced suffers from great weakness or when the person exercising the influence has excessive strength.
Further, the court listed a series of criteria that indicate whether this type of undue influence has taken place:
(l) discussion of the transaction at an unusual or inappropriate time,
(2) consummation of the transaction in an unusual place,
(3) insistent demand that the business be finished at once,
(4) extreme emphasis on untoward consequence of delay,
(5) the use of multiple persuaders by the dominant side against a single servient party,
(6) absence of third-party advisers to the servient party,
(7) statements that there is no time to consult financial advisers or attorneys.
Subsequent cases hold the undue influence occurs when a number of these elements, not necessarily all, are simultaneously present. The simultaneous operation of such factors ultimately indicated that the contract was achieved by means that impaired the free will and independent judgment of the schoolteacher.
Doesn't that sound like how Blair was persuaded? If he knew a decent lawyer he should get them to cry foul on his, and our, behalf.