Gisborne v Burton: CA 1988

The land-owner held an agricultural holding. He wanted to let it but, in doing so, to deprive the tenant of the benefit of the statutory regime giving security of tenure. So he let the property to his wife, and his wife granted a sub-tenancy to the defendant. The freeholder subsequently died and his personal representatives wanted to recover possession. They served notice to quit on the wife determining her tenancy. She refrained from serving any counternotice, nor did he serve any notice to quit on the sub-tenant. The personal representatives, after the expiry of the notice to quit, claimed possession from the sub-tenant.
Held: The tenancy to the wife was a sham, a pretence without any reality. They held that the sub-tenant was in reality a tenant holding directly from the landlord to whom he had, for years, been paying his rent. No notice to quit had been served on the sub-tenant, so his agricultural tenancy continued. The notice to quit served on the wife was so much waste of paper.
(Ralph Gibson LJ, dissenting) The tenancy granted to the wife was not a sham, but was a reality, and should be treated on that footing.


Ralph Gibson LJ


[1988] 3 All ER 760, [1989] QB 390, [1988] 3 WLR 921


Agricultural Holdings Act 1986


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBelvedere Court Management Ltd v Frogmore Developments Ltd CA 24-Oct-1995
Landlords had sold flats to Frogmore without serving a section 5 notice under the 1987 Act. Prior to receipt of a purchase notice, Frogmore granted certain leases in the block of flats to another party.
Held: The agreements were upheld, and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant

Updated: 07 May 2022; Ref: scu.245014