Margaret Brennan v Bolt Burdon, London Borough of Islington, Leigh Day and Co: QBD 30 Oct 2003

The claimant had sought relief for the injury to her health suffered by condition of her flat. The legal advisers had settled the matter, thinking that the claim had not been timeously served. The defendant appealed an order that the compromise was voidable, being based upon a common mistake of law.
Held: ‘Courts should be very slow to set aside and declare compromise agreements void on the ground of alleged common mistakes of fact or law. Before declaring a compromise agreement void the court must be satisfied that the mistake, in this case of law, was both common and fundamental to the making of the compromise agreement or to echo Bell v. Lever Brothers ‘was it the common assumption or pre-condition upon which the compromise agreement was made? ‘ In this case the common mistaken assumption as to the law was the fundamental basis for and precondition of the compromise agreement, indeed its only springboard. The appeal was dismissed.


The Hon Mr Justice Morland


[2003] EWHC 2493 (QB), Times 07-Nov-2003, [2004] 1 WLR 1240




England and Wales


CitedGodwin v Swindon Borough Council CA 10-Oct-2001
The claimant appealed against an order striking out his claim for personal injuries. The claim had been issued in time, but not served. An extension of time was granted, and the notice sent by first class post the day before that period expired. The . .
CitedAnderton v Clwyd County Council (No 2); Bryant v Pech and Another Dorgan v Home Office; Chambers v Southern Domestic Electrical Services Ltd; Cummins v Shell International Manning Services Ltd CA 3-Jul-2002
In each case, the applicant sought to argue that documents which had actually been received on a certain date should not be deemed to have been served on a different day because of the rule.
Held: The coming into force of the Human Rights Act . .
CitedHuddersfield Banking Co Ltd v Henry Lister and Son Ltd CA 1895
A consent order, which had been completed and acted upon, but without affecting interests of third parties, was set aside by the Court upon the ground of common mistake of fact.
Kay LJ said: ‘A compromise takes place when there is a question . .
AppliedKleinwort Benson Ltd v Lincoln City Council etc HL 29-Jul-1998
Right of Recovery of Money Paid under Mistake
Kleinwort Benson had made payments to a local authority under swap agreements which were thought to be legally enforceable when made. Subsequently, a decision of the House of Lords, (Hazell v. Hammersmith and Fulham) established that such swap . .
CitedPankhania v The London Borough of Hackney ChD 2002
A brochure listing properties to be sold at auction decribed the property as being subject to a terminable licence. In fact it was a secure tenancy. The question arose as to whether a misrepresentation of law could found a cause of action.
CitedS v S (Ancillary Relief: Consent Order) FD 4-Mar-2002
An order for ancillary relief had been made by consent. Later the House of Lords issued a judgment which changed the law which had been the basis of the decision to accept the settlement. The wife now sought to set aside the consent order, and . .
CitedAssociated Japanese Bank (International) Ltd v Credit du Nord SA 1988
A contract of guarantee was made, but based upon a term of fundamental importance which was mistaken as to the existence of certain machines.
Held: The court must first look to the nature of the purported agreement. Steyn J said: ‘Logically, . .
CitedClassic International Pty Ltd v Lagos 2002
(New South Wales Supreme Court) ‘I am satisfied that both parties believed that the agreement for lease would validly take effect according to its terms and that had they known of the substantial variation which the Retail Leases Act 1994 would . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromBrennan v Bolt Burdon and Others, London Borough of Islington, Leigh Day and Co CA 29-Jul-2004
The claimant sought damages for injury alleged to have been suffered as tenant of a house after being subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning, and also from her former solicitors for their delay in her claim. The effective question was whether the . .
CitedHalpern and Another v Halpern and others ComC 24-Mar-2006
The deceased parents, being orthodox Jews, had first made standard wills and then made provision accoding to Jewish law. A dispute after the second death was referred to a Beth Din arbitration. After an initial resolution, various distributions were . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Housing

Updated: 08 June 2022; Ref: scu.187277