Brunner v Greenslade: ChD 1971

Megarry J discussed the ratio decidendi of and approving dicta in Lawrence.
‘The substance of the views of Simonds J was that where there is a head scheme, any sub-purchasers are bound inter se by the covenants of that head scheme even though they have entered into no covenants with the sub-vendor or with each other. What binds the sub-purchasers inter se is not any covenant of their own making (for there is none) but an equity independent of any contractual obligation entered into by them, and arising from the circumstances of the existence of the head scheme, the process of division into sub-lots and the disposal of those lots. If on the disposal the common intention was that the local law created by the head scheme should apply within the sub-area, then apply it would. It would be remarkable if the restrictions of the head scheme were to be reciprocally enforceable between the owners of a sub-lot and of a plot elsewhere on the estate, however distant, and yet be unenforceable as between neighbouring owners of sub-lots. I have ventured a somewhat free summary of the conclusions reached by Simonds J., but I think that it contains the kernel of his reasoning.
…Perhaps I may go back to first principles and try to summarise the matter in my own way. The most straightforward case is where A owns the entire estate and, having laid it out, himself sells individual lots to individual purchasers who enter into the covenants of the scheme. As soon as he sells a lot to the first purchaser, B, the scheme crystallises. Not only is B bound in respect of his lot to A, for the benefit of the remainder of the estate, but also A is bound, in respect of the remainder of the estate, to B, for the benefit of B’s plot. It may be noted that while B is bound by the express covenants that he entered into, A may well have entered into no express covenants with B; and yet the concept of a scheme of development requires that A shall be treated as having impliedly bound himself by the provisions of the scheme. If A then sells another plot to C, C is taking part of the land that has already been subjected to the scheme in favour of B, and the covenants that he enters into are treated as being made for the benefit not only of A’s remaining land but also of B’s plot. If A continues to sell off one lot to each purchaser, and all the purchasers are different, in this way the whole concept of the enforceability of the covenants under a scheme of development, as between all within the area of the scheme, is readily explicable in terms of covenant, express or implied.’

Megarry J
[1971] Ch 993
England and Wales
CitedLawrence v South Country Freeholds Ltd ChD 1939
Simonds J held that on the facts before him no general scheme of development existed. It was accordingly not necessary to determine what rights as between the sub-purchasers there might have been if the main scheme had been held to exist. However, . .

Cited by:
CitedSmall v Oliver and Saunders (Developments) Ltd ChD 25-May-2006
The claimant said his property had the benefit of covenants in a building scheme so as to allow him to object to the building of an additional house on a neighbouring plot in breach of a covenant to build only one house on the plot. Most but not all . .
Dicta approvedYoungsam, Regina (on The Application of) v The Parole Board Admn 7-Apr-2017
The claimant challenged being recalled to prison from licence after being found in an area from which he was excluded as a condition of his parole. . .
CitedPickett v British Rail Engineering HL 2-Nov-1978
Lost Earnings claim Continues after Death
The claimant, suffering from mesothelioma, had claimed against his employers and won, but his claim for loss of earnings consequent upon his anticipated premature death was not allowed. He began an appeal, but then died. His personal representatives . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Constitutional

Updated: 30 November 2021; Ref: scu.242394