Casey v Irish Intercontinental Bank Ltd

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date13 February 1979
Date13 February 1979
Docket Number[1977 No. 988P.]
CourtSupreme Court
Casey v. Irish Intercontinental Bank
Patrick Casey. Plaintiff
and
Irish Intercontinental Bank Limited, Northern Bank Limited, Paul O'Connell and Conleth Dunne
Defendants
[1977 No. 988P.]

Supreme Court

Sale of land - Contract - Formation - Whether oral agreement of parties made "subject to contract"- Sale by mortgagee - Duty to obtain best price - Binding agreement - Subsequent increased offer - Extent of duty - Memorandum - Signature - Statute of Frauds, 1695 (7 Wm. 3, Ir, c. 12), s. 2.

On the 31st January, 1976, an auctioneer concluded an oral agreement with the plaintiff for the sale of certain lands to him by private treaty for the sum of £110,000. The auctioneer had been authorised to do so by the owners of the lands, who were the third and fourth defendants. On the 2nd February the auctioneer prepared a document which purported to be a written memorandum of the oral agreement and which stated, contrary to the fact, that the oral agreement had been made "subject to contract and title." When the plaintiff's solicitor experienced difficulty in obtaining the co-operation of the owners in completing that sale the plaintiff contracted to buy the same lands at the same price from the first defendants, the legal mortgagees of the lands, on the 18th May. In December, 1976, the owners agreed to sell the lands to a stranger for £190,000. The owners and the first defendants failed to complete their sales to the plaintiff. The first defendants believed that, as mortgagees, they should not sell for less than £190,000. The plaintiff claimed in the High Court the specific performance of each contract of sale. The trial judge ordered the specific performance by the third and fourth defendants of the oral agreement between them and the plaintiff; the judge decided that there was a valid contract between the plaintiff and the first defendants but he declined to order the specific performance of that contract "at present." On appeals by the first, third and fourth defendants it was

Held by the Supreme Court (Henchy, Kenny and Parke JJ.), in disallowing the appeals, 1, that the words "subject to contract and title" had not been part of the oral agreement between the plaintiff and the third and fourth defendants.

Law v. Robert Robert & Co.IR [1964] I.R. 292 considered.

2. That the printed names of the agents of the third and fourth defendants, appearing at the head of the document prepared on the 2nd February, 1976, was a sufficient signature by the authorised agents of those defendants on a memorandum for the purposes of the Statute of Frauds.

Tourret v. Cripps (1879) 48 L.J. Ch. 567 considered.

3. That the evidence did not establish that £110,000 was not the best price obtainable by the first defendants on the 18th May, 1976: and that the trial judge had been correct in holding that the contract between the plaintiff and the first defendant was a valid contract and in declining to make a second order of specific performance.

Cases mentioned in this report:—

1 Tiverton Estates Ltd. v. Wearwell Ltd.ELR [1975] Ch. 146.

2 Arnold v. Veale— see p. 342, supra.

3 Kelly v. Park Hall School— p. 340 supra.

4 Law v. Robert Robert & Co.IR [1964] I.R. 292.

5 Tourret v. Cripps (1879) 48 L.J. Ch. 567.

6 Schneider v. Norris (1814) 2 M.&S. 286.

7 Dyas v. Stafford (1882) 9 L.R. Ir. 520.

Plenary Summons.

The plaintiff's action was tried by Costello J. on the 3rd, 4th and 9th November, 1977. On the 11th November, 1977, the trial judge delivered a judgment directing the third and fourth defendants to perform the contract, made on their behalf on the 31st January, 1976, to sell to the plaintiff for £110,000 their 120 acre farm near Mallow in the county of Cork. The facts have been summarised in the head-note and they appear in the judgment of Kenny J., infra. The first defendant and the third and fourth defendants appealed to the Supreme Court from the judgment and order of the High Court. The appeal was heard on the 20th November, 1978.

Cur. adv. vult.

Henchy J.

I have had the opportunity of reading the judgment which Mr. Justice Kenny is about to deliver and I agree with it.

Kenny J.

In 1976 the third and fourth defendants were the fee simple owners of a house and 120 acres of land, known as Park House, near Mallow in the county of Cork. The owners had given an equitable mortgage of the...

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9 cases
  • Mulhall v Haren
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 1 January 1981
    ...Ltd. v. Wearwell Ltd.ELR [1975] Ch. 146 applied. Kelly v. Park Hall SchoolIR [1979] I.R. 340 and Caseyv. Irish Intercontinental BankIR [1979] I.R. 364 distinguished. 4. That the said documents also failed to comply with the requirements of that section because they failed to record a materi......
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    ...such as "subject to contract", (ii) that Kelly v. Park Hall SchoolIR [1979] I.R. 340 and Casey v. Irish Intercontinental BankIR [1979] I.R. 364 were exceptional cases within that statement of principle, (iii) that support for this course was found in Henchy J.'s judgment in Carthy v. O'Neil......
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