The County Homesearch Company (Thames and Chilterns) Ltd v Cowham: CA 31 Jan 2008

The defendants contracted to pay estate agents to find them a house. They completed the purchase of a property mentioned to them three times by the agent, but now appealed from a finding that they were obliged to pay his commission. The judge found that it was not implied into the contract that the commission would be payable only if the agent was an effective contributor to the transaction.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. The main reason for implying the term would be to avoid the client having to pay two commissions, but that was already precluded, and express terms were inconsistent with the term sought to be implied, and ‘The fact that it may be arguable whether a term should be implied . . does not mean that there is a doubt about the meaning of a written term’.

Longmore LJ
[2008] EWCA Civ 26, [2008] 1 EGLR 24, [2008] 1 WLR 909, [2008] NPC 10, [2008] 15 EG 178
Estate Agents Act 1979, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (1999 SI No. 2083) 7(2)
England and Wales
CitedThe Moorcock CA 1889
Unless restricted by something else, an employer ought to find work to enable a workman to perform his part of the bargain, namely, to do his work. A term will be implied into a contract only to the extent required to give the contract efficacy: ‘if . .
CitedShirlaw v Southern Foundries (1926) Ltd CA 1939
The court warned against the over-ready application of any principle to justify the implication of terms into a contract. McKinnon LJ set out his ‘officious bystander’ test: ‘If I may quote from an essay which I wrote some years ago, I then said: . .
CitedBrian Cooper and Co v Fairview Estates (Investments) Ltd CA 13-Mar-1987
A substantial property developer sought a tenant for its office block and agreed with his selling agent to pay ‘a full scale letting fee . . should you introduce a tenant by whom you are unable to be retained and with whom we have not been in . .
CitedToulmin v Millar HL 1887
The agent claimed a second commission when his principal, who had already paid a commission for the procuring of a tenant, was asked to pay a second commission on the purchase of the property by the tenant at a later date.
Held: Where there . .
CitedDoyle v Mount Kidston Mining and Exploration Property Ltd 1984
(Queensland) McPherson J considered an estate agent’s contract: ‘it would have been quite artificial to suppose that the parties intended that the agent should earn his commission simply by finding an individual who, independently of any further . .
CitedShirlaw v Southern Foundries (1926) Ltd HL 1940
Where a party enters into an arrangement which can only take effect by the continuance of an existing state of circumstances, there is an implied engagement on his part that he will do nothing of his own motion to put an end to that state of . .
CitedMillar Son and Co v Radford CA 1903
For an estate agent to recover his commission, it was ‘necessary’ to show that the agent’s introduction was an ‘efficient’ (namely effective) cause in bringing about the transaction. . .

Cited by:
CitedOffice of Fair Trading v Abbey National Plc and seven Others ComC 24-Apr-2008
The Office sought a declaration that the respondent and other banks were subject to the provisions of the Regulations in their imposition of bank charges to customer accounts, and in particular as to the imposition of penalties or charges for the . .
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 . .
CitedGlentree Estates Ltd and Others v Favermead Ltd ChD 20-May-2010
The claimant estate agents claimed commission on property sales. The defendant said that the agreement to pay commission had been waived.
Held: The sale triggered the commission. However the later agreement did work to vary the original . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Agency, Consumer

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.264035