Laurinda v Capalaba Park Shopping Centre

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Citation: Laurinda Pty Ltd v Capalaba Park Shopping Centre Pty Ltd (1989) 166 CLR 623

This information can be found in the Casebook: Paterson, Robertson & Duke, Contract: Cases and Materials (Lawbook Co, 11th ed, 2009), pp. 564-5 [23.45]; 571-2 [23.60]

Contents

Background facts

  • The Plaintiff [Laurinda, lessee] was leasing a property off the Defendant [Capalaba, lessor].
  • The Defendant was obliged under the agreement to register the lease.
  • The Plaintiff made its arrangements to have the lease register and also paid the Defendant for the relevant fees. However, the Defendant did not register the lease for over 9 months.
  • The Plaintiff wanted to sell its business, so it really needed the lease to be registered.
  • They gave a notice of 14 days to complete, and the Defendant did not comply.
  • The Plaintiff announced their termination of the contract and moved to recover their losses, the Defendant alleged that the Plaintiff wrongfully terminated.

Argument

  • The Plaintiff had the right to terminate because of the notice or
  • The Plaintiff had the right to terminate because the Defendant's conduct amounted to repudiation.

Legal issues

Judgement

Delay - notice

  • A notice to terminate after delay will only be effective if it specifies a reasonable time for completion, and also announces that the new time is of the essence (or, that the issuing party will regard the contract terminated if performance is not completed in time).
    • A notice will be adequate to convey such a warning if, but only if, it conveys either that the time fixed for performance is made of the essence of the contract or that the party giving the notice will, in the event of non-compliance, be entitled (or regard itself entitled) to rescind. A notice, particularly one between solicitors, can convey those matters by implication[1]."
  • In this case, the time stipulated by the notice wasn't reasonable (evidence showed that 14 days isn't enough to register a lease)
  • Also, the notice didn't make it clear that the Plaintiff was going to terminate the contract or considered time of the essence.
  • Therefore, the notice was ineffective.

Repudiation

  • However, the Defendant's conduct on the whole amounted to repudiation.
  • Unreasonable and deliberate delays, absence of explanations, false promises, misleading statements, non-responsive letters were a combination of events which amount to repudiation
  • The Plaintiff wins.


References

  1. (1989) 166 CLR 623, 653
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