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Hounslow LBC v Twickenham Garden Developments

[1971] Ch 233

Case summary last updated at 09/01/2020 15:20 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Hounslow LBC v Twickenham Garden Developments

P contracted with D for D to build on P’s site. There was a clause that if P had served notice that D’s work was not progressing adequately, and this was not served unreasonably, P would be entitled to determine the contract after 14 days of the notice being served. The notice was served but after 14 days D refused to vacate the premises. P sued for an injunction. Megarry J held that D’s licence to remain was a contractual one, due to last for a specified period. Unless the contract had been validly “determined” by P, the court would not grant an injunction since this would be to aid a wrongful repudiation of contract. In this case, P failed to show that D had breached the contract and therefore was not entitled to determine (i.e. terminate) the contract. Therefore the license would not be ended (by injunction). 
Megarry J: Cites dicta of Lord Porter and Lord Uthwatt (above) in support off his contention that injunctions will not be granted to end contractual licenses where this will help a wrongful repudiation of a contract.  He summarises as follows: 
(1) A licence to enter land is a contractual licence if it is conferred by a contract; it is immaterial whether the right to enter the land is the primary purpose of the contract or is merely secondary. (2) A contractual licence is not an entity distinct from the contract which brings it into being, but merely one of the provisions of that contract. (3) The willingness of the court to grant equitable remedies in order to enforce or support a contractual licence depends on whether or not the licence is specifically enforceable. (4) But even if a contractual licence is not specifically enforceable, the court will not grant equitable remedies in order to procure or aid a breach of the licence. 

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