Brewer Street Investment v Barclays Woollen Co: CA 1953

A prospective tenant for whom a landlord had carried out alterations on the premises was not permitted to break off negotiations for the lease solely to escape liability for the cost of such alterations. Lord Denning said: ‘What, then, is the position when negotiations go off without the default of either? On whom should the risk fall? In my opinion the prospective tenants ought to pay all the costs thrown away. The work was done to meet their special requirements and was prima facie for their benefit and not for the benefit of the landlords. If and in so far as the work is shown to have been of benefit to the landlords, credit should be given in such sum as may be just. Subject to such credit, the prospective tenants ought to pay the cost of the work, because they in the first place agreed to take responsibility for it; and when the matter goes off without the default of either side, they should pay the costs thrown away. There is no finding here that the work was of any benefit to the landlords, and in the circumstances the prospective tenants should, I think, pay the amounts claimed.’


Lord Denning MR


[1954] 1 QB 428, [1953] 2 All ER 1330


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBecerra v Close Brothers ComC 25-Jun-1999
ComC Claim for fee for introducing successful bidder at a controlled auction – no express contract – no implied contract based on City practice – claim for quantum meruit failed because no express or implied . .
CitedCountrywide Communications Limited v ICL Pathway Ltd 1996
The court considered the authorities bearing on the question of whether or not a claim under a quantum meruit can successfully be made for work done in anticipation of a contract which does not materialise. Strauss J concluded: ‘I have found it . .
MentionedMSM Consulting Ltd v United Republic of Tanzania QBD 30-Jan-2009
The claimants sought commission or a quantum meruit for the part they had taken in finding a suitable site for the defendant’s High Commission in London.
Held: The works undertaken were consistent with the claimant seeking work from the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Landlord and Tenant

Updated: 05 August 2022; Ref: scu.245319