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Rob Purton Richwood Interiors v Kilker Projects Limited [2015] EWHC 2624

Oral agreement for construction work; whether binding contract; intention to create legal relations

Facts

Mr Purton undertook some joinery work at the Dorchester Hotel for Kilker Projects Limited (KPL). KPL paid Mr Purton for certain preliminary works and joinery manufacture. When Mr Purton submitted his final bill for approximately £147,000, KPL failed to pay it. Mr Purton referred the matter for adjudication and the adjudicator ordered KPL to pay the full amount. Mr Purton made an application for summary judgement to enforce the adjudicator’s decision.

Issues

KPL denied the existence of a contract. They claimed there had been informal discussions regarding the works to be conducted but nothing had been firmly agreed between the parties, and there had been no intention to create legal relations. In the alternative, KPL contended no contract should be enforced by summary judgement unless all the terms were sufficiently certain when placed before the court. Mr Purton contended an oral contract had been made and substantial performance had taken place. He argued that KPL did not have reasonable prospects of defending the claim and he, therefore, was entitled to summary judgement.

Held

Mr Purton successfully obtained summary judgement. Whilst it was possible to have the performance of works without a legally binding contract, it was unrealistic to suggest there was no contract in this case. It was not necessary to identify each and every contract term with complete precision for the matter to be referred to an adjudicator. KPL had no realistic prospect of persuading a court that there was no contract in existence.


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