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Formation – is there a contract?

Is my document binding?

Jason Rix

Last week, Richard Hooley spoke to us about what makes an agreement binding. He began with a quote from Blue v Ashley (incidentally, the post on that case is the most read on this blog): “…no reasonable person present in the Horse & Groom … would have thought that the offer to pay Mr Blue £15 million Read More

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New Balance and Fellaini … have you signed on the dotted line?

Megan Betts

In Rosalina v New Balance the court found that, having considered the full run of communications, the parties only intended to be bound when all parties had signed.  As they had not, there was no binding agreement. An attempt to rely on an open-end duty to negotiate in good faith was void for uncertainty. Under a Read More

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Court of Appeal shows certainty to be its forte

Muir MacKean

In Openwork v Forte, the Court of Appeal confirmed that finding a clause lacks certainty is only ever a last resort. A provision, the overall effect of which is explicit despite its terms being incomplete, may still be sufficiently certain in effect to be enforced. Mr Forte, a financial adviser, had entered into a contract Read More

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Retro scooters: a licence to ride?

Adrian Dykes

In Scomadi v RA Engineering, the High Court construed a poorly drafted agreement against a licensor, meaning that the licensee could continue to manufacture the licensor’s retro scooter, even after the original agreement was terminated. Scomadi entered an agreement with Hanwei for the design and manufacture of a retro scooter. The agreement provided that Scomadi Read More

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Grin and bear it. Your contract is your bond.

Nitish Upadhyaya

In Secure Capital v Credit Suisse, the Court of Appeal confirmed that an investor who purchased an interest in notes issued in bearer form did not have a direct claim for breach of contract against the issuer of the notes. Secure Capital had indirectly purchased “longevity” notes issued by Credit Suisse which were linked to Read More

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Uncertain but not unenforceable

Emily Davies

In Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust v ATOS IT Services, the court found that (i) an ambiguous limitation of liability clause was enforceable and (ii) damages for wasted expenditure were distinguishable from damages for loss of profits. The Trust engaged ATOS to provide information management services. Unhappy with the performance of the system, Read More

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That is certain which can be rendered certain

Damien Ryan

In Vinci Construction v Beumer the High Court confirmed its reluctance to find contractual terms void for uncertainty. Vinci was engaged to carry out construction works at Gatwick airport. It subcontracted a portion of those works to Beumer. The subcontract contained sectional completion dates and liquidated damages if those completion dates were missed as set Read More

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Wishful thinking – when is an agreement a binding contract?

Jason Rix

During a conversation, in the Horse and Groom, Mr Ashley said he’d pay Mr Blue £15 million if Mr Blue could get the price of Sports Direct shares to £8. Mr Blue agreed and those present laughed. Thirteen months later the Sports Direct share price had risen from £4 to £8. In Blue v Ashley Read More

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Renegotiation clause in long-term contract – what if parties cannot agree?

Alex Hiendl

In Associated British Ports v Tata Steel, the court upheld a provision in a 25-year licence which referred a failure to renegotiate terms in certain circumstances to arbitration. The clause in question, provided that either party could serve notice on the other to renegotiate the agreed terms “in the event of any major physical or Read More

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A done deal: when a contract has been formed

Richard Farnhill

In order to consider whether a contract has been formed the court will need to look at the parties’ exchanges to determine whether an agreement has been reached. That is an objective exercise: the court puts itself in the position of a third party observer to the parties’ negotiations and determines when that third party Read More

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