Firstpost Homes Ltd v Johnson and Others: CA 14 Aug 1995

The parties disputed whether a contract had been made. The proposed contract was contained in a letter and a plan but only the plan was signed by both parties.
Held: The requirements of Section 2 had not been satisfied because it was the letter which contained the contract which referred to the plan and incorporated it and it was the letter which under Section 2 had to be signed. A typed signature is insufficient for a land contract. Old Frauds cases are irrelevant under the new regime introduced for exchange and otherwise of contracts for the sale of land.
New provisions on signatures are to stand free of both old cases and statutes on the topic. The purpose of section 2 was to introduce a new and stricter regime in relation to contracts for the creation or transfer of interests in land.
Peter Gibson LJ said: ‘The point is a short one and largely one of first impression, though in considering whether the two sheets of paper are one document or two for the purposes of s 2 of the 1989 Act it is important to bear in mind that the section expressly contemplates that one document may incorporate the terms of a second document by reference. It seems to me that the natural way of looking at the letter enclosing the plan, to use the significant language of the letter, is to treat the letter alone as one document and the plan as another document, the terms of which are incorporated in the letter. That incorporation comes about because of the reference in the letter to the plan as showing what are the 15.64 acres of land at the rear of Fulfen Farm.’ and ‘the Act of 1989 seems to me to have a new and different philosophy from that which the Statue of Frauds 1677 and section 40 of the Act of 1925 had.’
Balcombe LJ: ‘Like the proverbial elephant, a document may be difficult to define but it is easy to recognise’.

Peter Gibson, Balcombe, Hutchison LJJ
Gazette 15-Sep-1995, Times 14-Aug-1995, [1995] 1 WLR 1567, [1995] 4 All ER 355
Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 2
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedYaxley v Gotts and Another CA 24-Jun-1999
Oral Agreement Creating Proprietory Estoppel
The defendant offered to give to the Plaintiff, a builder, the ground floor of a property in return for converting the house, and then managing it. They were friends, and the oral offer was accepted. The property was then actually bought in the name . .
CitedCourtney v Corp Ltd CA 1-Mar-2006
The claimants sought to enforce an offer of finance to support a land purchase. The defendants argued that the offer failed to meet the characteristics required under section 2 of the 1989 Act.
Held: The judge had been correct to say that the . .
CitedOrton v Collins and others ChD 23-Apr-2007
The court considered how a Part 36 offer could be treated as accepted when it involved an agreement to transfer land, because the offer and its acceptance would not operate under the 1989 Act.
Held: The agreement was enforceable. The Civil . .
CitedRudra v Abbey National Plc and Stickley and Kent (Risk Management Unit) Limited CA 26-Feb-1998
The parties disputed whether a contract had been entered into for the sale of land, and whether new evidence could be entered on an appeal against a strike out. The estate agents had signed a contract as agents for the mortgagee in possession, but . .
CitedMilebush Properties Ltd v Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and Others ChD 13-May-2010
The claimant sought a delaration that it had a right of way over an access road. The defendants said that the agreement fell foul of the 1989 Act.
Held: The claimant was not entitled to the declaration. Agreements under the 1990 Act are . .
CitedR G Kensington Management Co Ltd v Hutchinson IDH Ltd ChD 2003
Neuberger J decided that he could not follow the court in Jelson, saying: ‘The defendant’s case is that the reference to ‘the parties’ in s.2(3) is to the parties to the proposed conveyance or transfer. Two strands of authority are put forward as . .
CitedBankers Trust Company v Namdar and Namdar CA 14-Feb-1997
The bank sought repayment of its loan and possession of the defendants’ property. The second defendant said that the charge had only her forged signature.
Held: Non-compliance with section 2 of the 1989 Act does not make a bargain illegal, and . .
CitedUrban Manor Limited v Sadiq CA 20-Feb-1997
Appeal by prospective purchaser of property from order that contract rescinded, and deposit forfeited. . .
CitedKeay and Another v Morris Homes (West Midlands) Ltd CA 11-Jul-2012
The claimants sought damages alleging breach of contract. The defendants argued that the contract related to land, and since it was an oral agreement it was unenforceable under the 1989 Act.
Held: It was not possible that a contract which was . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Contract

Updated: 19 January 2022; Ref: scu.80571