Friday, December 14, 2012

Attorney General v Humphreys Estate case brief

Attorney General v Humphreys Estate

Facts:  HK government and local property company entered into agreement for land exchange where a number of apartments were to be used as government accommodation. Agreement was expressed to be “subject to contract."  Government was fully aware and intended tht either party could at any time, without reason, withdraw from the agreement in principle. Government demolished old headquarters, but the company refused to transfer apartments.

Issue: Does the words “subject to contract” build a contract?

Rules:  A voluntary agreement in principle, expressly made “subject to contract” and therefore not binding; especially since the gov was sure and understood that the subject to contract clause was expressed, it would be rare for any form of contract to be developed from this clause.

Conclusion: the government failed in its action in the privy council.


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