Oakley and others v Harper McKay Developments Ltd

Sale of land – Failure to complete purchase. The claimant sellers had been entitled to rescind a contract for the sale of a property for failure, by the defendant buyer, to complete, in circumstances where, at the date of the exchange of contracts, the defendant had not had a firm offer of finance for the property and a previous (provisional) finance offer had, subsequently, been reduced, resulting in a shortfall, and where the defendant had unsuccessfully sought an extension of the completion date to 30 September 2015. The defendant had argued that the claimants had not been entitled to rescind the contract, because they had not been ready, willing and able to complete when they had served the notice to complete, since, at that time, they had not been in a position to assign the copyright in the plans and reports connected to the property, as required by cl 18.1 of the contract. The Chancery Division held, in favour of the claimants, that the defendant had waived its rights to insist on assignments of the relevant rights under cl 18.1, rather than the licences offered by the claimants, and that the claimants had been ready, willing and able to comply with cl 18.1 at the time when notice to complete had been served. The court further held that the defendant had not been hindered from completing by any breach of contract by the claimants in relation to access to the property in question. The defendant's counterclaim for breach of contract was dismissed.

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