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Illegality and Public Policy

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Illegality and Public Policy is an invaluable text in clarifying the complexities surrounding the law relating to illegality, public policy and restraint of trade.

It comprehensively addresses issues of criminal and civil law, consequences of illegality, and reform in the UK and Commonwealth. Practical examples are given to encourage creative solutions to disputes, making this a must-have text.

Key features:-

  • Clarifies the particularly complex law relating to illegality and public policy in contracts and the possible consequences of such agreements.
  • Provides hypothetical examples of illegality and suggests possible approaches to dispute resolution to give practical guidance on an elusive subject.
  • Distinguishes between ‘statutory illegality’ and illegality derived from common law.
  • Considers issues arising from the relationship between criminal and civil law, including claimant recovery actions, the forfeiture rule, and the Estates of Deceased Persons Act 2011.
  • Looks at the nature and scope of the doctrine of public policy by analysing contracts affected by fraud, issues of integrity of the legal process, and the application of public policy to cases with an international element.
  • Covers the need to distinguish between an agreement and the surrounding circumstances when ascribing degrees of responsibility for any illegality to the parties involved.
  • Detailed examination of the doctrine of restraint of trade and the distinction between public and private interest.
  • Sets out the availability of restitutionary relief in cases of contract illegality.
  • Explores UK and Commonwealth case law and the most recent reforms in these jurisdictions.
  • Highlights potential arguments for challenging and examining contracts.
  • Includes commentary on the statutory prohibition of contracts.
  • Discusses the effect of criminal activity under the enforceability of a contract.
  • Deals with the passing of property under unenforceable contracts and difficulties surrounding the transfer of limited interests.
  • Analysis of the Law Com No.320 report regarding the illegality defence.
The 4th edition:-


  • Addresses the highly significant and wide-ranging discussions of illegality in relevant recent Supreme Court cases
  • Comprehensively updates the latest High Court and Court of Appeal decisions
  • Offers updated analysis of the rapidly developing area of restraint of trade, with over 30 reported decisions on this issue in the past couple of years
  • Addresses the latest and most important Commonwealth decisions, such as Ting Siew May v Boon Lay Choo [2014] SGCA 28 in the Singapore Court of Appeal


Contract Law
Part One Contravening the law
1. Crime, tort, and statutory illegality
2. Implied prohibition of contracts
3. Unlawful performance
4. Knowledge and participation
5. Indemnity and forfeiture

Part Two Public Policy
6. Policy and morality
7. Fraud and corruption
8. Compromising the legal process
9. Maintenance and champerty
10. Peace and war

Part Three Restraint of Trade
11. Nature of the doctrine
12. Frontiers of protection
13. Construction and scope of covenants
14. Customers, rivals and the professions
15. Oppression, repudiation and interim injunctions

Part Four Relief from the consequences
16. The enforceability of proprietary interests
17. Illegality and restitution
18. Repentance and protection
19. The doctrine of severance

Part Five Reform
20. The New Zealand Illegal Contracts Act 1970
21. Reform proposals in Commonwealth jurisdictions

Part Six Cases and comments
22. Hypothetical situations involving illegality

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