Missing terms and section 2(1) of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 (England and Wales)

In Francis v F Berndes Ltd ([2011] EWHC 3377 (Ch)) C alleged that D had agreed to sell property to him for GBP50,000. The agreement was alleged to have been reached orally and then recorded in a document on D’s headed paper that was signed by C and D. The written agreement recorded D’s willingness to sell for GBP50,000 but not C’s obligation to buy at that price. The court held that the agreement did not comply with section 2(1) of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 (requiring land contracts to be written). C’s obligation to buy could not be implied from his signature on the contract ([31]). Nor was rectification available to allow the written document to be altered to reflect C’s oral agreement to buy. This was not a legitimate use of rectification and it would undermine the policy behind section 2(1) ([37] – [44]).

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