Margerison v Bates and Another: ChD 30 May 2008

The court considered the construction of a restrictive covenant after the disappearance of the covenantee. The covenant required no additional building without the consent of the covenantee, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld. The term ‘vendor’ had been defined without including her successors in title.
Held: The court considered the construction of the clause applying Lord Hoffmann’s statement that ‘under the modern approach, ‘Almost all the old intellectual baggage of ‘legal’ interpretation has been discarded’. The modern approach to construction involves an interpretation of meaning . . not an approach which is governed in respect of specific issues or instances by fixed rules of law. The draftsman intended ‘the vendor’ to be Mrs Horn alone and where he thought he should refer to her ‘successors in title’ he did so expressly. Whilst there were attractions in reading the clause to include her successors, that could not be done without doing violence to the words used. The clear distinctions drawn in the conveyance made alternative readings impossible.
However the death of the covenantee in this case discharged the covenant rather than making it absolute.
Bartley-Jones QC J
[2008] EGLR 165, [2008] EWHC 1211 (Ch)
England and Wales
CitedAntaios Compania Naviera SA v Salen Rederierna AB (‘the Antaios’) HL 1984
A ship charterer discovered that the bills of lading were incorrect, but delayed withdrawal from the charter for 13 days. They now sought leave to appeal the arbitration award against them.
Held: Though he deprecated extending the use of the . .
CitedInvestors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society HL 19-Jun-1997
Account taken of circumstances wihout ambiguity
The respondent gave advice on home income plans. The individual claimants had assigned their initial claims to the scheme, but later sought also to have their mortgages in favour of the respondent set aside.
Held: Investors having once . .
CitedEquitable Life Assurance Society v Hyman HL 20-Jul-2000
The directors of the Society had calculated the final bonuses to be allocated to policyholders in a manner which was found to be contrary to the terms of the policy. The language of the article conferring the power to declare such bonuses contained . .
CitedCity Inn (Jersey) Ltd v Ten Trinity Square Ltd CA 6-Mar-2008
A release of a restrictive covenant had been granted to a predecessor in title of the claimants. The defendants said that the release had been personal to the party to whom it was given, and that the covenant still bound the land.
Held: The . .
CitedAbsalom v TCRU Ltd CA 19-Dec-2005
Longmore LJ discussed the construction of a contract: ‘(i) the aim of the exercise is to ascertain the meaning of the relevant contractual language in the context of the document and against the background to the document. The object of the enquiry . .
CitedBank of Credit and Commerce International SA v Ali, Khan and others (No 1); BCCI v Ali HL 1-Mar-2001
Cere Needed Releasing Future Claims
A compromise agreement which appeared to claim to settle all outstanding claims between the employee and employer, did not prevent the employee later claiming for stigma losses where, at the time of the agreement, the circumstances which might lead . .
CitedMarquess of Zetland v Driver CA 1939
The vendor was tenant for life of settled land at Redcar. By a 1926 conveyance part was conveyed to a purchaser who covenanted ‘to the intent and so as to bind as far as practicable the said property hereby conveyed into whosesoever hands the same . .
CitedMahon and Another v Sims QBD 8-Jun-2005
A land transfer had contained a clause requiring a restrictive covenant agreeing not to erect any building without the approval by the neighbours of plans.
Held: The term ‘transferors’ was to be read to include the transferors’ successors in . .
CitedCrest Nicholson Residential (South) Ltd v McAllister CA 1-Apr-2004
Land had been purchased which was subject to a restrictive covenant. The papers did not disclose the precise extent of the dominant land, the land which benefitted from the restriction.
Held: The land having the benefit of a covenant had to be . .
CitedBell v Norman C Ashton Ltd 1957
The property was on land part of a building scheme, with a covenant not to erect more than two houses on any one plot on the estate. Other restrictive covenants had been breached by the use of some properties as shops and by the erection of dwelling . .
CitedBP Refinery (Westernport) Pty Ltd v The Shire of Hastings PC 1977
(Victoria) The Board set out the necessary conditions for a clause to be implied into a contract.
Held: Lord Simon of Glaisdale said: ‘Their Lordships do not think it necessary to review exhaustively the authorities on the implication of a . .
CitedIn Re Beechwood Homes Limited’s Application CA 1994
Dillon LJ said that the case had proceeded below in the Lands Tribunal and had, therefore, to proceed in the Court of Appeal on the common basis that the power to consent to breach of a covenant was a dispensing power attached to another otherwise . .
CitedBriggs v McCusker 1996
Where one of the plots subject to a building scheme had been sub-divided, the benefit of the covenant in the scheme which originally burdened the whole plot did not pass to the owner of one of the subdivided plots so as to enable that owner to . .

Cited by:
CitedSeymour Road (Southampton) Ltd v Williams and Others ChD 29-Jan-2010
The claimant sought a declaration that restrictive covenants imposed in 1896 affecting its land were no longer effective.
Held: The declaration was granted. Under the 1881 Act (as opposed to the 1925 Act) covenants were not automatically . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 19 March 2021; Ref: scu.396457