Leopardstown Club Ltd v Templeville Developments Ltd and Another

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr. Justice Charleton
Judgment Date12 November 2013
Neutral Citation[2013] IEHC 526,[2013] IEHC 529
Docket Number[No. 6741P/2012],[2012 No. 6741P]
CourtHigh Court
Date12 November 2013
Leopardstown Club Ltd v Templeville Developments Ltd & Smyth

Between:

THE LEOPARDSTOWN CLUB LIMITED
Plaintiff
-and-
TEMPLEVILLE DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED AND PHILIP SMYTH
Defendants

[2013] IEHC 526

[No. 6741P/2012]

THE HIGH COURT

CONTRACT

Breach

Mediation settlement agreement - Lease - Non-payment of rent and service charge - Equitable relief against forfeiture - Fundamental breach - Misrepresentation - Mistake - Right of way - Adverse possession - Failure to call evidence - Whether entitlement to withhold rent and service charge - Whether mistake or misrepresentation in entering mediation settlement agreement - Whether inference could be drawn from failure to call evidence - Whether fundamental breach of contract - Whether entitlement to equitable relief against forfeiture - Fyffes PLC v DCC PLC and ors [2005] IEHC 477, [2006] IEHC 32, [2007] IESC 36, [2009] 2 IR 417; M'Queen v Great Western Railway Company [1875] LR 10 QB 569; Reg v IRC, ex p Coombs & Co [1991] 2 AC 283; Wisniewski v Central Manchester Health Authority [1998] Lloyd's Reports Med 223; Pedley v Avon Insurance [2003] EWHC 2007, (Unrep, Hegarty J, 31/7/2003); Rock Nominees v RCO Holdings [2003] 2 BCLC 493; Lewis v Eliades (No 4) [2005] EWHC 488 (Unrep, Smith J, 23/3/2003); Herrington v British Railways Board [1972] AC 877; Irish Telephone Rentals v ICS Building Society [1992] 2 IR 525; Hong Kong Fir Shipping Co. Ltd v Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Limited [1962] 1 QB 26; Parol Limited and Carroll Village (Retail) Management v Friends First Pension Funds Limited and Superquinn [2010] IEHC 498, (Unrep, Clarke J, 8/10/2010); Wallersteiner v Moir [1975] QB 373 and Campus and Stadium Development Ltd v Dublin Waterworld Ltd [2006] IEHC 200, (Unrep, Gilligan J, 21/3/2006) considered - Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 (No 16), s 22 - Judgment for plaintiff; issue of forfeiture adjourned (2012/6741P - Charleton J - 2/9/2013) [2013] IEHC 526

Leopardstown Club Limited v Templeville Developments Limited

Facts: The defendants claimed that a mediation settlement agreement had been brought to an end by the conduct of Leopardstown. They asserted a breach of agreement so serious as to be a fundamental breach that terminated the rights of innocent parties including Templeville and Philip Smyth, such that no agreement existed. Leopardstown sought the termination of a lease under which the defendants held their premises and argued that the conduct of the defendants had been so wrong that they were unworthy of equitable relief against forfeiture. The Court considered the specific impugned acts, including blocking fire escapes and littering, wrongful reduction of rent, car parks and the place of rights of way, mistake and a failure to call evidence.

Held by Charleton J. that there would be judgment for the plaintiff against the defendants in the amount indicated of Eur. 1.5 million. Templeville had not been deprived of the substantial benefit of the mediation settlement agreement. Templeville had to be restructured. Templeville would be given time to consider a solemn undertaking to the court.

BLAND LAW OF EASEMENTS 2ED 2009 PARA 16.52

BLAND LAW OF EASEMENTS 2ED 2009 PARA 16.53

FYFFES PLC v DCC PLC & ORS 2009 2 IR 417

MCDERMOTT CONTRACT LAW 2001

PEEL & TREITEL THE LAW OF CONTRACT 13ED 2011

SALE OF GOODS & SUPPLY OF SERVICES ACT 1980 S22

IRISH TELEPHONE RENTALS LTD v IRISH CIVIL SERVICE BUILDING SOCIETY 1992 2 IR 525 1991 ILRM 880 1991/4/744

PAROL LTD & CARROLL VILLAGE (RETAIL) MANAGEMENT SERVICES LTD v FRIENDS FIRST PENSION FUNDS LTD UNREP CLARKE 8.10.2010 2011/43/12524 2010 IEHC 498

WALLERSTEINER v MOIR (NO 2) 1975 QB 373 1975 2 WLR 389 1975 1 AER 849

CAMPUS & STADIUM IRELAND DEVELOPMENT LTD v DUBLIN WATERWORLD LTD UNREP GILLIGAN 21.3.2006 2006/10/1845 2006 IEHC 200

1

Judgment of Mr. Justice Charleton delivered on the 2nd of September, 2013.

2

Leopardstown racecourse was founded in 1888, at a time when it was in the countryside near Dublin. Now, it is surrounded by the city, becoming the only urban racecourse in Ireland. It is used for National Hunt racing and flat racing. There are 23 race meetings on the track every year. The most significant of these are the Hennessy Gold Cup meeting and the Christmas racing festival. For the purposes of this litigation, the racecourse is owned and controlled by the plaintiff company (hereinafter "Leopardstown"), though some portions of the land, particularly on the Carrickmines side, are owned directly by Horse Racing Ireland. The campus in which the racecourse is situated also contains a golf course, situated in the middle of the track, a nightclub towards the back of the main stand, a golf shop and a fitness club. This club is central to this litigation. The fitness club is on property leased by the first named defendant company Templeville Developments Limited (hereinafter "Templeville") from Leopardstown. The second named defendant Philip Smyth is the guarantor on the lease and on the agreement which is most central to this judgment. Templeville, despite being a limited liability company and having four directors, is totally controlled by Philip Smyth.

3

Leopardstown and Templeville are physically the closest of neighbours. The fitness club is branded as Westwood. There are other Westwood clubs in Dublin city. Unlike this situation, those others are situated on their own land. This club features gymnasium, tennis, swimming and other facilities to a very high standard. There is also a facility called Fit Zone and a children's party area. These are all located proximate to the racecourse grandstand. For whatever reason, the parties as neighbours do not get along. As with many such disputes, where people continue to live or do business side by side without severing the relationship by one party moving elsewhere, the dispute has continued over decades: in this instance for 14 years. I do not regard it as essential to rehearse every detail of the bitter disputes between the parties that have marked this time. Litigation in abundance has resulted.

4

Many sets of proceedings were ongoing in the Autumn 2011, when the parties decided that an attempt to put matters behind them would be a good idea. Hence, mediation was arranged. It was apparently successful. Having ostensibly settled their differences under a mediation painstakingly conducted by Paul Gallagher SC in October 2011, and having set out their mutual rights and obligations in a mediation settlement agreement dated the 26 th of that month, the defendants Templeville and Philip Smyth no longer regard themselves as bound by the terms of that contract. In that regard, however, Templeville has had no independent say.

5

These defendants claim that the mediation settlement agreement has been brought to an end by the conduct of Leopardstown. They assert a breach of agreement so serious as to be a fundamental breach that terminated the rights and obligations of Templeville and Philip Smyth as innocent parties, returning them to a state that no such agreement existed. The defendants also claim that by virtue of misrepresentation, and or because of a mistake central to the mediation process as to the site of a major electricity cable, which was allegedly set up and exploited by Leopardstown, the mediation settlement agreement was void from its inception. The defendants further assert that if the mediation settlement agreement is valid and has not been terminated by the fundamental breach of Leopardstown, they have been grievously wronged under the terms thereof and are counterclaiming for damages. They also seek declarations that rights of way to their premises over and through the racecourse have been breached and claim appropriate declarations through this process. A claim is also made by Templeville and Philip Smyth to ownership through adverse possession of certain land on which three shipping containers are sited. Leopardstown asserts that rent and service charge due under the mediation settlement agreement has not been paid. Leopardstown seeks the termination of the lease under which the defendants hold their premises on the racecourse and argue that the conduct of the defendants has been so wrong that they are unworthy of equitable relief against forfeiture.

Background
6

About 40 years ago, Squash Ireland apparently leased premises from Leopardstown and organised a facility close to the grandstand. In 1993, Templeville leased that facility and some other land. There was another lease entered into in 1998. At that time, Leopardstown paid money towards the upgrading of the premises, including the installation of a swimming pool. As this is not central to the proceedings, detail is kept to a minimum. In consequence of whatever improvements were effected, the rent increased. It may be that prior to that time Philip Smyth had been involved in organising entertainments of various kinds on the premises of the racecourse. Whatever involvement he had, I am satisfied it was minor. It certainly does not give rise to prescriptive or any other legal rights. A separate agreement regulating access to the club facilities during race days, called a race day licence, was made by Templeville and Leopardstown in the same year as the 1998 lease. It was then anticipated that part of Leopardstown's lands would be compulsorily acquired by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for the new M50 motorway. A very large inflatable dome containing seven tennis courts had been erected by Templeville, called Dome 1, and later a similar facility was erected called Dome 2. These are proximate to each other. The domes are held up by pressurised air, a bit like a balloon. Because the structures can blow away in high winds, these domes need heavy concrete foundations; possibly 450mm wide and over 1m deep, but Philip Smyth told the Court that the...

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5 cases
  • The Square Management Ltd v Dunnes Stores Dublin Company
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 2 March 2017
    ...other cases to which the court has been referred in this regard are The Leopardstown Club Limited v. Templeville Developments Limited [2013] IEHC 526, Walsh v. Sligo County Council [2013] IESC 48, two recent decisions of the English Superior Courts in Lynn Shellfish Limited v. Loose [2016] ......
  • Leopardstown Club Ltd v Templeville Developments Ltd
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 11 July 2017
    ...nine for Templeville. On the 2nd September, 2013, the High Court gave judgment for Leopardstown against Templeville: Leopardstown Club Ltd v. Templeville Developments Ltd [2013] IEHC 526. There were further hearings and findings. On the 14th November, 2013, in the final order, the High Cour......
  • Leopardstown Club Ltd v Templeville Developments Ltd
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 28 July 2015
    ...and Mr. Smyth on all issues, save he left over the claim for Templeville to relief against forfeiture: see Leopardstown Club Ltd. v. Templeville Developments Ltd. [2013] IEHC 526. There was a further hearing on that issue on the 16th October, 2013, following which the trial judge indicated ......
  • Jason Investments Unlimited Company v C&S Jewellery Ltd
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 27 February 2020
    ...forfeiture on terms and conditions to “give redress for his conduct”. 35 In Leopardstown Club Limited v. Templeville Developments [2013] IEHC 529, Charleton J. granted relief against forfeiture to a tenant of substantial commercial premises at Leopardstown Race Course who was in arrears of ......
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