non est factum

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Related to non est factum: Non est inventus

non est factum

‘it is not the deed,’ in English law the plea that what seems to be a person's deed is not. It is usually raised when there has been a mistake as to the nature of the transaction. The courts do not accept it lightly. Where old and infirm people sign things thinking they are not legal documents, the plea is more likely to be successful.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

NON EST FACTUM, pleading. The general issue in debt on bond or other specialty, and is, in form, as follows: "I and the said C D, by E F, his attorney, comes and defends the wrong and injury, when, &c., and says, that the said supposed writing obligatory, (or 'indenture,' or 'articles of agreement,' according to the subject of the action,) is not his deed. And of this he puts himself upon the country." 6 Rand. Rep. 86; 1 Litt. R. 158.
     2. Though non est factum is, in most cases, the general issue in debt on specialty, yet, when the deed is only inducement to the action, the general issue is nil debet. Steph. Pl. 174, n.
     3. In covenant tlie general issue is non est factum; and its form is similar to that in debt on a specialty. Id. 174. It is, however, said, that in covenant there is, strictly speaking, no general issue, as the plea of non est factum only puts the deed in issue, as in debt on a specialty, and not the breach of covenant or any other matter of defence. 1 Chit. PI. 482. See generally, 1 Harring. R. 230; 6 Munf. R. 462; Minor, R. 103; 1 Harr. & Gill, 324; 13 John. R, 430; 12 John. R. 337; 2 N. H. Rep. 74; 4 Wend. R. 519; 2 N. & M. 492. See Issint; Special non est factum.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the latter, the deed is void for non est factum, and a finding of knowledge of the circumstances giving rise to the non est factum plea on the part of the other contracting party does no more than confirm the independent conclusion that the impugned transaction is void.
Although the agreements were void for non est factum, (24) the Bank nonetheless argued that it was entitled to restitution of the amount of the loan on the basis of the law of unjust enrichment.
One final point must be made before considering how these enrichment principles operate in non est factum cases.
If autonomy-based principles are of doubtful applicability in cases of non est factum, what other policies are relevant to determining the availability of an unjust enrichment claim in that context?
(73) The policy concerns that operate to limit a minor's contractual liability, notwithstanding the law's general interest in upholding bargains, must apply even more critically to cases of non est factum. This is because contractual interests are absent in such cases, and thus there exists no countervailing interest that would favour the imposition of full contractual liability in order to uphold the security of the concluded bargain.
In Ford, Harrison J (at first instance) expressed his regret that there were no cases addressing the public policy issues that arise when a defendant receives a benefit pursuant to a contract subsequently found to be void for non est factum. (114) In contrast, the Court of Appeal drew an analogy with the minority cases to argue that adopting a mechanical approach to addressing the elements of a claim in unjust enrichment (rather than examining the substance of the claim) would undermine the protection given to the weak and disabled by the plea of non est factum.
doctrine of non est factum to have the document set aside for mistake.
defence of non est factum is that in truth, the document has not been
to obtain relief by reason of non est factum may be able to set aside
The modern boundaries of the doctrine of non est factum can be
scope of the defence of non est factum but indicated the narrow class of
defendant who wishes to establish the defence of non est factum as this

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