Restricted access to rugby ground

July 24, 2009

Commercial, contract

Sources: full case report – http://www.bailii.org/ie/cases/IEHC/2009/H191.html; see also an interesting Irish blog report on the case: http://www.cearta.ie/2009/05/rugby-property-and-the-interpretation-of-contracts/

Hannon & Others v. BQ Investments [2009] IEHC 191

The four claimants (Brendan Hannon, Martin Ryan, Declan Cusack & John Meaney) are all trustees of Thomond FC and sued the defendants over an agreement for sale of some land for a student apartment development. As part of the sale, the purchaser also agreed four special conditions (8-11) :

  1. The provision of “two suitable rugby playing pitches, levelled, top soiled and ready for seeding” on the remaining lands
  2. The relocation of the existing floodlights and electricity sub-station to one of these new pitches
  3. The club would have a right of way over the roadway and footpath for use of the pitches and clubhouse
  4. (Uncontested at trial) that the club could connect into the services installed by the purchaser.

While an earlier Circuit Court case (concerning clauses 8 & 9) was settled for an additional sum, effectively buying out the defendants obligations under the two clauses, nothing was raised about clause 10 until a year later when the claimant’s solicitors sent a letter reminding the defendants about their obligation to construct and light a right of way to the pitches.

The dispute in this case therefore relates to the meaning of the words in clause 10 and in particular when the obligation to build this roadway and footpath became due. The problem is that while the location of the right of way was agreed by both sides, no formal clubhouse actually existed (simply a temporary portakabin). The defendants therefore argued that they did not need to build a new right of way to this land as other pre-conditions had not been fulfilled. By contrast, the claimants argued that their actual use of the land was irrelevant but that any plans they did have for the land was compromised without the right of way, but even if it were not, clause 10 is a stand-alone clause.

Ultimately the court decided that the phrase ‘for use of the’ related to the purpose of the land, rather than any condition precedent  and that as a result the defendants were in breach of contract. The court however reserved any decision on awarding damages or specific performance until after further evidence had been heard about the future plans for the land.

Advertisements
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About Kris

Associate Professor in Sports Law, Staffordshire University; British Gymnastics Senior Coach

View all posts by Kris

Follow us:

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: