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Brewer Street Investment V. Barclays Wollen Co. Notes

BCL Law Notes > Restitution of Unjust Enrichment BCL Notes

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BREWER STREET INVESTMENT V. BARCLAY'S WOLLEN CO. FACTS The defendants, who were prospective tenants of certain premises, and the plaintiff landlords were in negotiation as to the terms of a lease. Agreement on the principal matters had been reached subject to contract. The plaintiffs undertook to make certain alterations in the premises desired by the defendants, who accepted responsibility for the cost. The parties were eventually unable to agree on a term of the lease concerning a possible future sale of the premises to the defendants and, as a result, the matter went off, and work on the alterations, which had progressed to a considerable extent, was stopped. The landlords (plaintiffs) here claim remuneration from the tenants (defendants). HOLDING SOMERVELL LJ Fault Reasoning It seems to me that much turns upon the reason why the whole of this matter came to an end, and the correspondence seems to me to show that the reason was that the defendants insisted on having an option though an option had never been promised, so for that reason the whole of the negotiations came to an end. The highest I think that it could be stated from the point of view of the defendants was as I have put it, namely, that the promise was on the basis of the plaintiffs remaining of the same mind as they had revealed before the promise to pay for items of work was made. Although the plaintiffs by the first draft of their lease were seeming to depart from it, the correspondence seems to me to show that the real reason why this matter went off was that the defendants were insisting on an option. Implied Contract/Undertaking of Responsibility Reasoning I agree with that construction of the correspondence, but if one considers the matter in principle the defendants undertook responsibility for this work at a time when they knew that either side could resile and decide not to conclude a lease. DENNING LJ In these circumstances, the proper way to formulate the claim is on a request implied in law, or, as I would prefer to put it in these days, on a claim in restitution.

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