Property Developers Rue Absence of Formal Contracts

Entering into a contract without legal advice is hardly ever a good idea, as two property developers found after alleged joint venture agreements unravelled and they ended up at the centre of a rash of costly, and ultimately abortive, litigation.

The property developers claimed that verbal contracts had been agreed with a businessman, at meetings in a restaurant and a hotel lobby, relating to the development of prime residential properties. The difficulty they faced in establishing their case was heightened by the businessman's subsequent death. Their damages claim against the administrator of his estate depended upon them proving the existence of the unwritten deals.

In striking out the entirety of their case, the High Court found that the issues which they sought to raise closely mirrored those which had already been ruled upon in an earlier case against a different defendant. To allow them to argue their current claims on the basis of evidence which had already been fully analysed would be manifestly unfair and oppressive and would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

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