West End Commercial Ltd v London Trocadero (2015) LLP [2017] EWHC 2175 (Ch)

Snowden J Proprietary Estoppel and Civil Procedure

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Mr Justice Snowden held that proprietary estoppel could not be relied upon to prevent a party exercising a contractual right.

This was an application for the continuation of an interim injunction in circumstances where the Claimant (West End Commercial) had occupied property under a licence agreement from the Defendant.  A similar licence had previously been granted to a company with the same sole shareholder and director as the Claimant. The licence provided that the Defendant could regain possession of the premises by giving 30 days’ notice. A new licence was granted to the Claimant on the same terms as its predecessor, but notice to quit was given within six days. The Claimant contended that a proprietary estoppel had arisen founded upon a representation to its agent that notice would only be given in case of breach of covenant.

As well as finding against the Claimant in principal on proprietary estoppel, for which he relied on the decision of the House of Lords in Thorner v Major [2009] UKHL 18, [the Judge also found that the Claimant had not suffered any detriment, because prior to being granted the licence it had no right to trade from the premises at all.  Furthermore, as the losses claimed were loss of profit, damages would be an adequate remedy.

Unsurprisingly, the interim injunction was not permitted to continue.