Three high court judges in South Africa, sitting as an appeal bench, have found an agreement between a now-estranged couple is invalid because the woman signed due to the “undue influence” of her then partner. The agreement would have given the man half the sale price of the woman’s property if their relationship ended – which it did, just days after she signed, when he became violent and she obtained a protection order against him. The man then demanded his share of the property and business as detailed in the agreement.
Sometimes, to the relief of ordinary people, the courts actually seem to “get it” when it comes to complex inter-personal relations. Or so I feel after reading a decision from a full bench of the high court, Johannesburg. It involved a couple, previously in a romantic as well as a business relationship. The man turned out to be a bi-polar bully, domineering, violent and determined to get his own way, while the woman was placatory, fearful and unduly influenced by him.