Home Information Cases Eric Garston v Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance Society (1998)

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Eric Garston v Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance Society (1998)

Summary

Where a tenant's notice to determine a lease specified the wrong date, but it would have been clear to a reasonable recipient of the notice what the intended date should have been, then the notice was effective to determine the lease.

Facts

Appeal from Rattee J sitting as a judge of the Chancery Division. The plaintiffs were the tenants of office premises under a lease dated 10 July 1985 for a term of 20 years from 24 June 1985, and containing a term permitting the tenant to terminate the lease on the expiry of the tenth year of the term on six months' notice. The tenant purported to serve such a notice but, although it was served more than six months before the expiry of the tenth year of the term it wrongly specified 9 July 1995 as the termination date rather than 23 June 1995. With that notice the tenant also served a notice under s.26 Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 requesting the grant of a new tenancy from 10 July 1995. The judge held that neither notice was effective to terminate the lease. The tenant appealed.

Held

(1) Applying Mannai Investment Co Ltd v Eagle Star Life Assurance Co Ltd (1997) AC 749 (decided since the decision of Rattee J) it would have been clear to a "reasonable recipient" of the two notices that the respective dates used of 9 and 10 July were a mistake, and that the intended dates were 23 and 24 June, and the termination notice was effective to terminate the tenancy. (2) (Obiter) The judge was right to decide that the s.26 notice did not take effect as a notice to quit served by the tenant and could not terminate the lease.
Appeal allowed.

Court of Appeal
Nourse LJJ, Mummery LJJ, Sir John Vinelott
Judgment date
25 June 1998
References

LTL 26/6/98 : [1998] 1 WLR 1583 : [1998] 3 All ER 596 : [1998] L & TR 230 : [1998] 2 EGLR 73 : [1998] 32 EG 88 : [1998] EG 101 (CS) : (1998) 95(26) LSG 32 : (1998) 142 SJLB 199 : [1998] NPC 109 : Times, July 14, 1998 : Independent, July 7, 1998

Previous Members

hh-judge-david-hodge-qc,HHJ David Hodge QC

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