Scope of CPO s.26

CPO s.26 only applies to land. It does not allow third parties (who are not a party to the contract) to enforce it.

In Beswick v Beswick ([1968] AC 58, HL) B had agreed to sell his business to N. N agreed that after B’s death he would pay B’s widow a weekly annuity of five pounds. B died but N did not make the payments. B’s widow was adminstratrix of B’s estate. In this capacity she was granted specific performance of the promise (enforcing the promise as part of B’s estate giving her personally the benefit of receiving the money). This shows that specific performance is available to compel the payment of money. She also tried to sue in her personal capacity relying on the English equivalent of CPO s.26. This failed because the section only applies to interests in land (not as obvious on the wording of the English legislation as it is in s.26) and because s.26 does not allow third parties to enforce contractual promises.

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