Standard Life Assurance Company (Incorporated Under Laws of Scotland By Act of Parliament) v Egan Lawson Limited: CA 21 Nov 2000

The defendant appealed against judgment in favour of his (buyer’s) estate agent for his commission in finding the property for it. A previous offer was rejected by the seller, but a subsequent agent of the buyer obtained the acceptance of a further offer. Was the intriduction by the first agent the effective cause of the sale?
Held: None of the cases indicate that it is legally possible, in the absence of an express or implied contract to that effect, for the court to apportion the agreed commission between the two agents on an equitable basis that each introduction was a contributory cause of the purchase by the person introduced. Neither side proposed that solution as a legally permissible (or even desirable) result in this case. It is a case of winners and losers, all or nothing. In this case however, the claimants had not been the effective introducers. It was the action of the second agent which was the effective cause of the purchase. The actual purchase was not the same transaction proposed by the first agents.
Mummery LJ observed that: ‘In the case of two estate agents appointed by the vendor . . The first in time factor (and the interest that the initial introduction generates) is relevant, it is neither determinative nor paramount in resolving the rival claims to commission. It is necessary to consider the causal link between the instructions and the ultimate transaction.’


Simon Brown LJ, Mummery LJ, Latham LJ


[2000] EWCA Civ 293, [2001] 1 EGLR 27




England and Wales


CitedWood (John D) and Co v Dantata; Beauchamp Estates v Dantata CA 1987
The purchaser liked inspecting houses and the vendor had appointed ten firms to act for him as estate agents. Each of the estate agents was approached by this purchaser and each of the estate agents took the would be purchaser over the property of . .
CitedChasen Ryder and Co v Hedges CA 1993
The vendor first instructed the plaintiffs to sell his residential home. They introduced several people, but no offers were made. The vendor went to another firm of agents. An extended planning consent was obtained, and one of the original enquirers . .

Cited by:

CitedFoxtons Ltd v Pelkey Bicknell and Another CA 23-Apr-2008
The defendant appealed against a finding that she was liable to pay her estate agent, appointed as sole agent, on the sale of her property. The eventual purchasers had visited but rejected the property. The agency was later terminated, and the . .
CitedMSM Consulting Ltd v United Republic of Tanzania QBD 30-Jan-2009
The claimants sought commission or a quantum meruit for the part they had taken in finding a suitable site for the defendant’s High Commission in London.
Held: The works undertaken were consistent with the claimant seeking work from the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Agency, Contract

Updated: 31 May 2022; Ref: scu.147326