Joscelyne v Nissen: CA 1970

A father entered into a written contract with his daughter by which he transferred to her his car hire business in return for her agreement to pay him a pension and discharge certain expenses. In their discussions it had been agreed between them that these expenses should include the father’s gas, electricity and coal bills and the cost of home help. The court considered an application for rectification. At first instance, the court held that the signed contract did not on its proper interpretation provide for payment of these expenses, but rectification was granted. The daughter appealed, contending that as a matter of law the remedy of rectification was not available to the father in the absence of an antecedent concluded contract.
Held: The daughter’s contention as rejected. Rose v Pim did not assert or reinstate the view that an antecedent complete concluded contract was required for rectification. It only showed that prior accord on a term or meaning of a phrase to be used must have been outwardly expressed or communicated between the parties. The burden of proof on the party asking for rectification is high.
A contractual document could only be rectified in order to bring it into conformity with a contract that already existed before the document was executed and which the document failed accurately to record as a result of a mutual mistake.
Buckley LJ, Russell LJ
[1970] 2 QB 86
England and Wales
ExplainedFrederick E Rose (London) Limited v William H Pim Junior and Co Limited 1953
The plaintiffs, who were London merchants, had been asked by Egyptian buyers to supply ‘feveroles’. Not knowing what this term meant, they asked the defendants’ representative, who responded that ‘feveroles’ meant horsebeans. Relying on this . .
ApprovedCrane v Hegeman-Harris Co Inc ChD 1939
A continuing common intention of the parties to a document alone will not suffice to justify rectification. For rectification to be appropriate, there must be convincing proof that the concluded instrument does not represent the common intention of . .
CitedLovell and Christmas Ltd v Wall CA 1911
The written contract contained a restrictive covenant limiting the defendant’s freedom to carry on the business of a ‘provision merchant’ other than on behalf of the plaintiff company. On the facts found, the parties in their discussions before the . .

Cited by:
CitedAMP (UK) Plc and Another v Barker and Others ChD 8-Dec-2000
The claimants were interested under a pension scheme. Alterations had been made, which the said had been in error, and they sought rectification to remove a link between early leaver benefits and incapacity benefits. The defendant trustees agreed . .
CitedPegler Ltd v Wang (UK) Ltd TCC 25-Feb-2000
Standard Conract – Wide Exclusions, Apply 1977 Act
The claimant had acquired a computer system from the defendant, which had failed. It was admitted that the contract had been broken, and the court set out to decide the issue of damages.
Held: Even though Wang had been ready to amend one or . .
CitedOun v Ahmad ChD 19-Mar-2008
The parties agreed in writing for the sale of leasehold property to the claimant. One document had been signed, but later one said that it had not included an aportionment. Another document then set out the apportionment. When the defendant refused . .
CitedFSHC Group Holdings Ltd v Glas Trust Corporation Ltd CA 31-Jul-2019
Rectification – Chartbrook not followed
Opportunity for an appellate court to clarify the correct test to apply in deciding whether the written terms of a contract may be rectified because of a common mistake.
Held: The appeal failed. The judge was right to conclude that an . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 February 2021; Ref: scu.184577