Magee v Pennine Insurance [1969]

M bought car for son to drive.
Insurance form, signed by M, incorrectly stated that
he, M, had licence.
M signed form without reading.
Basis of contract of insurance was that M’s answers
were true.
Four years later son wrote off car.
M claimed, and accepted sum in settlement of claim.
Insurers then discovered M had no licence and refused
to pay.
Court of Appeal held both parties under common
mistake.
Denning MR:
Common mistake, even on most fundamental matter, does
not make contract void at common law if not condition.
But does make it voidable in equity.
Whether contract should be set aside in equity depends
on [his own] principles in Solle.
In present case, not equitable that insurance company should
pay.
[Also in this case, suggested plaintiffs in Bell would have recovered if they had
pleaded mistake in equity.
Illustrates potential of equity to undermine common
law rules]