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Re Buchanan-Wollaston's Conveyance. Curtis v. Buchanan-Wollaston [1939] Ch. 738

Whether an order of sale could be sought where it would serve to contradict the purpose of contract.

Facts

Four owners of property with views of the ocean decided to jointly purchase the piece of land which was between their respective houses and the waterfront, so as to enable the protection of their views of the ocean by preventing any building on the land. Further, each owner agreed to a deed of covenant, whereby no single joint owner could sell the waterfront property without first informing the other three owners and obtaining their consent. Subsequently, one owner desired to sell the land and attempted to seek a Court order demanding the sale as per the trusts for sale system.

Issue

Whether an order of sale could be given by the Court in response to the request by a single owner to override the consent requirements of the other joint owners, where an express covenant had been made to prevent this.

Held

The Court held that an order of sale ought not be given as the covenant’s express purpose was to prevent one owner from selling the land without the others’ consent and so in ordering a sale of land, the law would be directly undermining the contract’s purpose and assisting a person in committing breach of contract. Further relevant was that the sale of the land would have likely entailed construction on the property, further undermining the original purpose of the agreement to purchase the property, namely protecting the ocean view.


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