Whether there is a binding contract

February 13th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

Whether an agreement was complete and enforceable despite there being no express identification of the event which would trigger the payment obligation was one of the issues before the Supreme Court in Wells v Devani (2019) UKSC 4.  This gave rise to questions whether there was a binding contract and as to whether there was an implied term.

The Supreme Court said as regards whether there was a binding contract:-

“17.    The question whether there was a binding contract between Mr Devani and Mr Wells required a consideration of what was communicated between them by their words and their conduct and whether, objectively assessed, that led to the conclusion that they intended to create a legally binding relationship and that they had agreed all the terms that the law requires as essential for that purpose….

  1. It may be the case that the words and conduct relied upon are so vague and lacking in specificity that the court is unable to identify the terms on which the parties have reached agreement or to attribute to the parties any contractual intention. But the courts are reluctant to find an agreement is too vague or uncertain to be enforced where it is found that the parties had the intention of being contractually bound and have acted on their agreement. …”

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February 11th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

The prohibition of discrimination based on nationality is enshrined in Article 18 TFEU and Article 21(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’). The broader non-discrimination principle of which it is an expression is among the fundamental values of the EU (Article 2 TFEU), and among the rights protected by the Charter (Article 21). The principle of non-discrimination is a manifestation of the principle of equality of individuals before the law.  The principle requires that comparable situations must not be treated differently and that different situations must not be treated in the same way.  Read more »



February 6th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

In R (MAS) v SoS for DEFRA (2019) EWHC 158 (Admin), Morris J, at paragraphs 53/54, stated the principles of proportionality as follows:-

(1)      Proportionality is a general principle of EU law;

(2)      Its application in any particular case is always highly fact-sensitive;

(3)      It applies to national measures falling within the scope of EU law;

(4)      It applies only to measures interfering with protected interests;

(5)      Protected interests include the fundamental freedoms governed by the EU Treaties;

(6)      Where the issue is the validity of a national measure, it is for the national Court to reach its own conclusion on proportionality; Read more »


Procedural Fairness

February 6th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

Dymoke v Association for Dance Movement (2019) EWHC 94 (QB) was a private law contractual action. Nonetheless, an implied duty of procedural fairness was found to exist, in relation to termination of membership of a company, and in particular that the claimant would be informed of complaints or concerns in sufficient detail to enable her to respond to them, and would be given a reasonable opportunity to respond.  That applied not only to the complaints or concerns, but also to the question of whether they justified the sanction of termination of membership: paragraph 65.


“Meat”/Transparency/Equal Treatment

January 23rd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

Case T-117/17 Proximus v Council of the European Union, concerns the negotiated procedure for a public services framework contract, what constitutes the most economically advantageous tender (“MEAT”), and the lawfulness of a tender evaluation method, in terms of the general principles of transparency, non-discrimination and equal treatment.  The General Court said:- Read more »


Duty of Equal Treatment

January 22nd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

Regulation 18 of the Public Contracts Regulations sets out the EU principles of procurement. These include that contracting authorities “shall treat economic operators equally and without discrimination”. Comparable situations must not be treated differently. Different situations must not be treated in the same way, unless such treatment is objectively justified. The question whether or not there has been a breach of the principle is to be considered in context, and having regard

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December 11th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

In R (MP) v SoS for Health and Social Care (2018) EWHC 3392 (Admin) Lewis J said:-

64. … If a public body chooses to consult upon a particular proposal, then it must do fairly and in accordance with well-established principles. If a public body chooses to consult on one set of proposals, but not to consult on another, different set of proposals, then, unless it can be shown that there is a legal obligation to consult upon the second set of proposals, it is not obliged to do so because it is consulting on the first set of proposals. …

65. The fact that the defendant chose to consult upon a very large number of proposals … does not alter the position. The two issues upon which he chose not to consult … were discrete, self-contained issues. The fact that notice of the decision to make those two changes was contained in the document setting out the response to the consultation exercise does not mean that the proposals were part of, or were linked in some way to the proposals that were consulted upon. The defendant did not fail to carry out the consultation exercise properly. The key question, therefore, is whether there was an obligation to consult upon these two changes. Read more »


Legitimate Expectation

December 7th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

In R (Jeffries) v SSHD, (2018) EWHC 3239 (Admin) a Divisional Court held that views given by the then Prime Minister in a private meeting with press misconduct victims, about the desirability of completing the anticipated second part of a Public Inquiry into press misconduct, could not give rise to a legitimate expectation that the second part would go ahead.  The meeting had been off the record by agreement, and the Prime Minister could not have thought, or objectively be expected to have thought, that his words could be relied on as creating a legitimate expectation. Read more »


Legitimate Expectation

November 29th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

The Upper Tribunal (Fancourt J presiding) has in judicial review proceedings restated the principles for a claimant establishing or a defendant resiling from a legitimate expectation potentially established by published guidance from a public authority, as follows, in R (Vacation Rentals (UK) Ltd v HMRC), (2018) UKUT 383 (TCC):-

(1) The principle that substantive as well as procedural legitimate expectation should be protected is now well established as a ground for judicial review: Read more »



November 26th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

MHCLG is consulting on a proposal for the Secretary of State to make a Localism Order under the Localism Act 2011. This is in order to enable Harrogate BC to use GPOC, subject to Parliamentary approval, to host the race finish line for the 2019 UCI Road World Championships on a specific part of the Harrrogate Stray by, for the specific purpose of the Championships, temporarily lifting restrictions in the Harrogate Stray Act 1985. That is a private Act of Parliament. It makes provision for the management by the Council of the Stray. It restricts the Council’s flexibility to act, notwithstanding the significant social and economic benefits to the region that are expected from the event. The Order would follow two previous similar Orders.