D leased a farm to P, but without the necessary formalities, under the condition that P look after the farm in a good manner. P let the farm badly deteriorate and D evicted him. P sued for wrongful eviction, but the court refused to exercise its equitable jurisdiction because D “came to equity with unclean hands” i.e. he had taken poor care of the farm.
Lord Esher MR: The central question is this: “Would the court of equity in this case have decreed specific performance? If it would, then that is to be considered as done, and then there is a lease. But if it would not, then, there being no lease at common law, it being in the position that the court of equity would not decree specific performance for a lease, then it is no lease at common law.”