|Court High Court||Citation(s)  QB 133|
Taylor Fashions and Old & Campbell claimed the right to renew a lease on a business property, denied by the landlord Liverpool Victoria Trustees. All had assumed that the previous lease did contain the right to renew. Taylors and Olds had improved the premises. But it turned out that Liverpool Victoria had not been bound to renew, but it was argued they should be estopped from not renewing. Liverpool Victoria argued they should not be estopped because they had never acted unconscionably. It was simply a mistake.
Oliver J, noted that Mr Scott and Mr Essayan for Taylors and Olds said one’s state of mind was irrelevant. Mr Millett for Liverpool Victoria argued that unconscionability was necessary, following Fry J in Willmott v Barber. Oliver J said that Willmott was only a case applicable to situations where someone had stood by without protest as his rights were infringed. Knowledge of one of the parties alleged to be estopped is just one of many relevant factors. One should consider all the circumstances. So on the facts here, Taylors failed, with ‘regret’, because it was not encouraged by Liverpool Victoria to have believed anything, it was merely assumed by both, and it benefitted immediately from its improvements so it was not clear it was relying on renewal. Olds succeeded because it was encouraged to spend a very large sum because of the belief that it could renew.