Doherty v Allman: HL 2 Apr 1878

Two leases were granted of pieces of land with some buildings on them, one granted in 1798 for 999 years, the other granted in 1824 for 988 years. There was no reservation of a power of re-entry for breach of covenant, nor was there any negative covenant obliging the lessee not to change the use of the premises. There was a power of re-entry, for rent in arrear and no sufficient distress on the premises. In each lease there was a covenant by the lessee that he, his executor, and co, will ‘during the term hereby granted preserve, uphold, support, maintain, and keep the said demised premises, and all improvements made and to be made thereon, in good and sufficient order, repair, and condition ; and at the end or sooner determination of this demise, shall and will so leave and deliver up the same unto,’ the lessor, his heirs, and co. The premises had been used as corn stores for some years ; and afterwards as artillery barracks, and dwellings for married soldiers. They had fallen into disrepair : it became necessary to repair them ; the lessee thought it would he beneficial to convert the store buildings into dwelling-houses, which would much increase their value, and was proceeding to convert them accordingly, when the lessor filed a bill to restrain him, alleging waste, Held, that this was not the case of enforcing a negative covenant where the words of contract were clear and indisputable; that the waste alleged was meliorating waste, and that, under the circumstances, the Court below had, in the due exercise of its discretion in such matters, properly refused to interfere by injunction.
An injunction will always issue to restrain a breach of a negative term in a contract. Lord Cairns LC said: ‘If parties, for valuable consideration, with their eyes open, contract that a particular thing shall not be done, all that a court of equity has to do is to say, by way of injunction, that which the parties have already said by way of covenant, that the thing shall not be done; and in such case, the injunction does nothing more than give the sanction of the process of the court to that which already is the contract between the parties. It is not then a question of the balance of convenience or inconvenience, or of the amount of damage or of injury – it is the specific performance, by the court, of that negative bargain which the parties have made, with their eyes open, between themselves.’

Lord Cairns LC
[1878] 3 App Cas 709, [1878] UKLawRpAC 20
England and Wales
Cited by:
AppliedAttorney General v Barker CA 1990
A claim was made for an injunction to enforce an express covenant in a contract of employment by a member of the Royal Household by which he undertook (amongst other things) not to publish any information concerning a member of the family which came . .
CitedAraci v Fallon CA 4-Jun-2011
The claimant said that the defendant jockey had agreed to ride the claimant’s horse in the Epsom Derby (to be run on the date of the hearing), and that he should not be allowed to ride another horse. The parties had entered into a Rider Retainer . .
CitedHeythrop Zoological Gardens Ltd (T/A Amazing Animals) and Another v Captive Animals Protection Society ChD 20-May-2016
The claimant said that the defendant had, through its members visiting their premises, breached the licence under which they entered, by taking photographs and distributing them on the internet, and in so doing also infringing the performance rights . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Contract

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.440456