Equity will not assist a licensor to wrongfully terminate a licence agreement

In Hounslow Borough Council v Twickenham Garden Developments Ltd ([1970] 3 WLR 538) Hounslow Borough Council had entered into a building contract with Twickenham Garden Developments under which the defendants were to carry out certain construction works on land owned by the Council. As part of the contract, the Council granted the defendants a licence to enter the site to carry out the work. The Council was unhappy at the slow progress being made on the building works and purported to terminate the agreement. The defendants refused to accept that the Council were entitled to do this. In these interlocutory proceedings, one of the issues was whether (regardless of who was right on the main issue just described) the Council could obtain an injunction to force the defendants to leave the site. Megarry J refused to grant the injunction on the basis that equity will not assist a man to break his contract (at 248). At the interlocutory stage, it was not clear that the Council was entitled to terminate the contract.


The judgment is briefly mentioned in Anstalt Nybro v Hong Kong Resort Co Ltd [1978] HKLR 414 at 439 (per McMullin J).

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