Torts;The Torts of Deceit



Mr Greg falsely represented to Mr Peter that a certain man was credit worthy and that Mr Peter could safely sell goods to him on credit. Mr Peter suffered damage as the said person was unable to pay, Mr Peter sued Mr Greg for false representation that he Mr Peter suffered damage due to the representation by Mr Greg he relied on. The case of Palsey v Freeman (1789) 100 ER 450.

Deceit is a false representation made expressly or impliedly by a person, knowingly or without belief in its truth, with the intention that the receiver should rely on it, and which the receiver does rely to his detriment.

Essentially, the tort of deceit is:

  • The deliberate making of a false representation.
  • Which the plaintiff is induced to rely, to his detriment.

What a plaintiff must prove in a Tort of Deceit


  1. That the defendant made a false representation: For a plaintiff to succeed in the tort of deceit, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant made a false representation to him (false representation may be made by words or by conduct calculated to mislead the plaintiff).
  2. That the defendant knew that the representation was false: For a defendant to be liable for deceit, the defendant must have made the deceitful statement.
  3. That the defendant intended the plaintiff to rely on the information. Intention means that the misrepresentation was calculated to induce or its natural consequences were to induce the plaintiff.
  4. That the plaintiff relied on the information; it is irrelevant that the plaintiff only acted partially on the false representation.
  5. That the plaintiff suffered damage; the tort of deceit is not actionable per se on mere occurrence. The plaintiff must actual damage, see the case of East v Maurier (1991) 1 WLR 461.

Remedies for the Tort of Deceit


The main remedies for the torts of deceit available to the plaintiff include;

  • Award of damages
  • Restitution of any property that may have passed between the parties
  • Criminal prosecution; where the deceit amounts to crime.