The parties created an oral (and therefore void) contract for a development, the claimants paid a deposit, expressed to be non-refundable, and the defendant builders completed the building work. The buyers backed out. The developer now appealed against an order for the refund of the deposit. The appeal succeeded, and the deposit was repayable: ‘The fact that property was intended to pass and did pass does not, of course, exclude the possibility of a claim for restitution, but such a claim depends on the claimant being able to establish a recognised ground of restitution. In this case the only suggested ground is failure of consideration. Since the claimants obtained the benefit for which the payment was made, there is no merit in their claim and no injustice in the defendant retaining the money. The justice of the matter is entirely on the defendant’s side.’
Laws, Toulson, Black LJJ
 EWCA Civ 1383,  Ch 23,  1 EGLR 113,  3 WLR 503,  48 EG 8,  6 EG 92,  2 All ER (Comm) 288,  1 P and CR 12
England and Wales
Cited – Howe v Smith CA 1884
A contract for the sale of land required the purchaser to pay andpound;500 ‘as a deposit and in part payment of the purchase money’, and that if the purchaser failed to complete on time the vendor should be free to resell and recover any deficiency . .
Cited – Gribbon v Lutton and Another CA 19-Dec-2001
The defendant solicitors acted in obtaining and holding a deposit on the sale of land. They issued interpleader proceedings which decided that the deposit was payable to the purchaser. The vendor then sued the solicitors in negligence. The . .
Cited – Yaxley v Gotts and Another CA 24-Jun-1999
Oral Agreement Creating Proprietory Estoppel
The defendant offered to give to the Plaintiff, a builder, the ground floor of a property in return for converting the house, and then managing it. They were friends, and the oral offer was accepted. The property was then actually bought in the name . .
Cited – Chillingworth v Esche CA 1923
The purchasers agreed in writing to purchase land ‘subject to a proper contract to be prepared by the vendors’ solicitors’ accepting andpound;240 ‘as deposit and in part payment of the said purchase money’. A contract was prepared by the vendor’s . .
Cited – Spiro v Glencrown Properties Ltd and Another ChD 1991
The court considered the nature of an option to buy land. Hoffman J said: ‘The granting of the option imposes no obligation upon the purchaser and an obligation upon the vendor which is contingent upon the exercise of the option. When the option is . .
Cited – Fibrosa Spolka Akcyjna v Fairbairn Lawson Combe Barbour Ltd HL 15-Jun-1942
A contract for the supply by the respondents of special machinery to be manufactured by them was treated as an ordinary contract for the sale of goods. It began valid, but suffered frustration by the outbreak of war.
Held: Lord Wright restated . .
Cited – Eastenders Cash and Carry Plc and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Revenue and Customs SC 11-Jun-2014
Alcoholic drinks had been seized by the respondents pending further enquiries with a view to a possible forfeiture, then held and returned but only under court order. The company had complained that the detention of the goods was unlawful. The . .
Cited – Patel v Mirza SC 20-Jul-2016
The claimant advanced funds to the respondent for him to invest in a bank of which the claimant had insider knowledge. In fact the defendant did not invest the funds, the knowledge was incorrect. The defendant however did not return the sums . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 May 2022; Ref: scu.448491