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Veral v Great Yarmouth BC  QB 202
Whether a licence was enforceable by an order for specific performance
Great Yarmouth Council, which was under a Conservative majority granted a licence to the National Front to hold its annual conference at a hall owned by the council for the sum of six thousand pounds. Following local elections, at which the use of the hall by the national front was a significant issue, the council became Labour controlled. The council immediately purported to cancel the agreement with the National Front and return the sums paid. The National Front was unable to find a suitable alternative location for its conference and claimed an injunction for specific performance allowing it to do so and summary judgment of the claim. The National Front was successful at first instance and the council appealed.
The issues in this circumstance were initially whether the matter could be dealt with under the summary judgment procedure and secondly, whether an order for specific performance could be made in respect of a contractual licence.
It was held that the trial judge was able to deal with the matter under the summary judgment procedure. It was further held that the duty of the court was to protect any potential interest in land, which included a contractual licence. Therefore, there was no reason why specific performance could not be ordered where the duration of the licence was short. Additionally, specific performance could be ordered where the licence was wrongfully repudiated before the licensee had taken possession. The council’s appeal was refused therefore.
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