Stephen Boyd Of Athena Law Wins In The Court Of Appeal

Athena law has recently successfully represented a successful appellant before the Court of Appeal in a complex commercial dispute involving claims based on contract and unjust enrichment. The case concerned a niche issue of such importance that it is now reported case law.

The report is available here:

Athena Law acted for the appellant Mr. Barton who had introduced a purchaser of land to the respondent. Pursuant to the terms of an oral agreement between the parties it was agreed that the appellant would receive remuneration of £1.2 million if he introduced a purchaser to the respondent willing to pay £6.5 million for the respondent’s property.

Unfortunately, the agreement was silent as to what the appellant would be paid if the introduced purchaser paid less than £6.5 million for the property. Following the introduction of the purchaser, but before exchange of contracts, the purchaser discovered that the respondent’s property might be subject to a compulsory purchase for the HS2 project. The purchaser, in light of this issue, reduced its offer from £6.5 million to £6 million. The respondent accepted the reduced offer and proceeded to sell its property to the purchaser, subsequently denying that it was liable to pay the appellant his commission as the property had sold for less than £6.5 million. This was notwithstanding that the appellant had introduced the purchaser.

At first instance, the trial Judge following a lengthy trial, ruled that the existence of a contract between the parties excluded any claim based on unjust enrichment for a reasonable sum as a reward for the introduction of the purchaser where the sale had not completed at the expected sale price of £6.5 million. Before the Court of Appeal the appellant successful persuaded the Court that the learned trial Judge was wrong on reported cases authorities and the facts of the case. The Court of Appeal accordingly allowed the appellant’s claim to a reasonable sum for the introduction of the purchaser and that such a claim was not excluded by a contract which did not specifically contemplate with, or deal with, the circumstances which subsequently developed.

The respondent’s application to appeal to the Supreme Court was refused by the Court of Appeal.

The appellant was represented both at first instance and the Court of Appeal by Mr. Brad Pomfret Counsel of 23 Essex Street who was instructed on the Appeal by Mr. Stephen Boyd Partner of Athena Solicitors LLP t/a Athena Law.