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Archive for February, 2016

Court order must be sufficiently defined

In Airport Industrial GP Ltd and Anor v Heathrow Airport Ltd and Anor [2015] EWHC 3763 (Ch), Mr Justice Morgan, sitting in the High Court, was asked to grant an injunction ordering the defendant to provide a specified number of car parking spaces on a site at Heathrow Airport for a catering company.  The defendant wished to build an extensive car park on the site with the intention that the car parking spaces for the catering company would be situated within the scheme.  The difficulty was what happended to the provision of those spaces whilst the scheme was developed?

In looking at previous case law, the judge said that such an order could be made if the required works were specified within the contract to be enforced.  He quoted Rainbow Estates Ltd v Tokenhold Ltd [1999] Ch 64 (a case in which a landlord obtained a mandatory injunction against a tenant enforcing, during the term, the tenant’s covenant to repair).  In this case of the car parking spaces, it was not works that were defined but the outcome.  Adjourning the case to enable the parties to reach agreement, the parties returned to him with an agreed order, which he granted, saying

  1. the remedy should be made available where it is the appropriate remedy and, in particular, where damages are not an adequte remedy;
  2. it will be relevant that the person with the benefit of the contract cannot enter upon the relevant land and carry out, or procure the carrying out of the work
  3. in the case of an obligation to build contained in a lease, it will be relevant to consider whether the landlord with a right to forfeit the lease should be left to pursue that remedy, to recover possession of the premises and then to have the ability to carry out the building works
  4. the court’s order should contain sufficient defintion of what is to be done.

The outcome is unusual.  Mr Justice Morgan confirmed there is a difference between an order requiring the achievement of a result and an order to conduct specified works.  With the former, the court may be asked to examine the finished work to see whether it achieves the result required.  Future parties may be encouraged by this judgement to agree a specific result and then seek a consent order to that effect.  We wait to see.