One of the most fundamental purposes (and indeed contractual legal principles) of a contract is that its terms should be certain, such that each party to the contract knows what it is signing up to and the terms by which it must abide. However, in some instances, it may be the case that the parties agree to the terms of a contract on the basis of a shared mistaken assumption about a fact which is integral to the contract. In such circumstances, the equitable doctrine of "common mistake" may be used as a defence and, if successful, render the contract void.

In the recent case of Triple Seven MSN 27251 Limited & another v Azman Air Services Limited, the English High Court held that the doctrine of "common mistake" did not apply and the contracts in question were not void. In reaching its decision, the court provided some useful guidance on how this doctrine will be assessed and applied by the English courts.
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