Intended common law lease taking effect in equity

In Parker v Taswell ((1858) 2 De Gex & Jones 559, 44 E.R. 1106) P sought specific performance of an agreement to grant a lease for a term of ten years. The agreement was signed by both parties but not under seal and P had gone into possession. T argued that the agreement was unenforceable since the intention had been to create a lease that would be valid at common law. This failed. In principle, the agreement could take effect in equity and the relevant legislation did not lead to a contrary conclusion (570 – 571 per Lord Chelmsford).

T also sought to argue that the terms of the agreement were too uncertain in certain respects. This failed too:

‘The agreement, moreover, is admitted to be sufficiently certain as to all the substantial parts of it, and the only portions of it to which uncertainty is attributed are subordinate matters. No authority has been cited to shew that in such a case specific performance may not be decreed.’ (571 – 572 per Lord Chelmsford).

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