Alghussein Establishment v Eton College: HL 1985

A literal construction of the relevant provision of a lease would have led to an absurd result that a contractor who failed to complete a development without fault could not call for a lease, whereas a contractor who wilfully defaulted could do so.
Held: The implication of a term into a contract is a matter of law. A party may be prevented from enforcing a contractual provision where he is in breach of another contractual provision designed to avoid the situation sought to be achieved coming about, or to cast onto him responsibility for the matter in question.
Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle said: ‘Although the authorities to which I have already referred involved cases of avoidments a clear theme running through them is that no man can take advantage of his own wrong. There was nothing in any of them to suggest the foregoing proposition was limited to cases where the parties in breach were seeking to avoid the contract and I can see no reason for so limiting it. A party who seeks to obtain a benefit under a continuing contract is just as much taking advantage of his own wrong as a party who relies on his breach to avoid a contract and thereby escape his obligations’.


Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle


[1988] 1 WLR 587


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedPortsmouth City Football Club v Sellar Properties (Portsmouth) Limited, Singer and Friedlander Properties Plc ChD 17-Sep-2003
Various contracts were entered into for the sale of land, with compensation being paid in certain circumstances. One contract required a calculation of consideration as a set figure less a sum to be calculated as the cost of acquiring land. The sum . .
CitedTesco Stores Limited v Pook, Pook, Universal Projects (UK) Limited ChD 14-Apr-2003
A trustee in breach of his duty has a duty to disclose that breach. It was alleged that the defendants, including a director of the claimant, had submitted false invoices to the claimants, and purchased property with the resulting profits.
CitedMicklefield v SAC Technology Ltd 1990
A Share Option Scheme provided that the option could not be exercised if the option holder ceased to be an executive ‘for any reason’. The employer dismissed Mr Micklefield wrongfully, so that he ceased to be an employee before he was able to . .
CitedMurray v Leisureplay Plc QBD 5-Aug-2004
The claimant sought payment of three years’ salary after termination of his service contract. He said that an agreement had been made by the company to purchase a ‘financial institution’, which would trigger the additional payments. The defendants . .
CitedMichael Wilson and Partners Ltd v Emmott ComC 8-Jun-2011
The claimant challenged an arbitration award made concerning the agreement under which the defendant had been admitted to partnership. MWP contended that the Tribunal were guilty of a large number of serious irregularities in their conduct of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Damages

Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.186485