London and Regional Investments Ltd v TBI Plc and Others: CA 22 Mar 2002

TBI was a property investor and developer with several subsidiaries. It agreed to sell some to London and Regional. The agreement provided for the vendor and the purchaser to use reasonable endeavours to agree the terms of a joint venture agreement regarding land at Belfast and Cardiff airports, having regard to the principles set out in an agreed note. The agreed note was headed ‘subject to contract’. One of the issues was whether London and Regional were entitled to rely on the Pallant v. Morgan equity as a result of the assurance or understanding that a joint venture agreement would be entered into.
Held: There was no realistic prospect of London and Regional establishing that claim; and upheld a summary judgment in TBI’s favour. Mummery LJ: ‘The ‘subject to contract’ state of the joint venture negotiations at the date of the Sale Agreement indicates that there is nothing unconscionable in TBI’s subsequent refusal to proceed with the joint venture after the Sale Agreement was completed. The validity of this conclusion can be tested by asking this question: when did the trust and the estoppel take effect? It is accepted that no constructive trust or estoppel could have arisen after 13 May 1999 when the parties expressly agreed in the Sale Agreement that the joint venture was ‘subject to contract’. In general, it is not unconscionable for a party to negotiations, which are expressly stated to be ‘subject to contract,’ to exercise a reserved right to withdraw from the negotiations before a final agreement has been concluded. If that was the effect of the agreement between the parties on 13 May 1999 I do not see how the conduct of TBI before that date can now be relied on to establish unconscionable conduct giving rise to a constructive trust or an estoppel. For the court to hold that a constructive trust existed in those circumstances would be contrary to what the parties had expressly agreed was to be subject to the making of a future agreement.’


Lord Justice Simon Brown, Mummery LJ


[2002] EWCA Civ 355




England and Wales


LimitedBanner Homes Group Plc v Luff Developments and Another CA 10-Feb-2000
Competing building companies agreed not to bid against each other for the purchase of land. One proceeded and the other asserted that the land was then held on trust for the two parties as a joint venture.
Held: Although there was no formal . .
CitedPallant v Morgan ChD 1952
The agents of two neighbouring landowners orally agreed in the auction room that the plaintiff’s agent would refrain from bidding at auction and that the defendant, if his agent’s bid was successful, would divide the land according to an agreed . .
See AlsoLondon and Regional Investments Ltd v TBI Plc and Another CA 22-Jun-2001
. .
CitedAttorney General of Hong Kong v Humphreys Estate (Queen’s Gardens) Ltd PC 1987
An agreement in principle was marked ‘subject to contract’. The Government would acquire some flats owned the plaintiff Group of companies in return for the Government granting, inter alia, a lease to the Group of some Crown lands. The Government . .

Cited by:

CitedThames Cruises Limited v George Wheeler Launches Limited, Kingwood Launches Limited ChD 16-Dec-2003
The parties had previously worked to gether to provide ferry services on the Thames. A new tender to operate the services was not submitted. It was alleged that the Defendants had inequitably seized for themselves a business opportunity which the . .
See AlsoLondon and Regional Investments Ltd v TBI Plc and Another CA 22-Jun-2001
. .
CitedKilcarne Holdings Ltd v Targetfollow (Birmingham) Ltd, Targetfollow Group Ltd ChD 9-Nov-2004
The defendant entered into an agreement for lease, incurring substantial obligations. When it could not meet them it sought assistance from the claimant, who now claimed to have an interest in a joint venture. The draft documentation originally . .
CitedCobbe v Yeomans Row Management Ltd and Others ChD 25-Feb-2005
Principles for Proprietary Estoppel
A developer claimed to have agreed that upon obtaining necessary planning permissions for land belonging to the respondents, he would purchase the land at a price reflecting its new value. The defendant denied that any legally enforceable agreement . .
CitedYeoman’s Row Management Ltd and Another v Cobbe HL 30-Jul-2008
The parties agreed in principle for the sale of land with potential development value. Considerable sums were spent, and permission achieved, but the owner then sought to renegotiate the deal.
Held: The appeal succeeded in part. The finding . .
CitedHutchison and others v B and DF Ltd ChD 3-Oct-2008
The claimants sought an order declaring that the defendant had a tenancy and requiring it to execute an appropriate lease. The landlords said that the tenant had a continuation lease under the 1954 renewal procedure, and the tenants said they had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Company, Trusts

Updated: 05 June 2022; Ref: scu.170009