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Case details

Gordon (Appellant) v Havener (Respondent) (Antigua & Barbuda)

Case ID: JCPC 2020/0017

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Antigua and Barbuda)

Case summary

Issue

(1) Whether the Court of Appeal erred in finding there was no consideration with respect to contracts for sale of land and therefore could be no specific performance (or in the alternative damages).
(2) Whether a remedy based on propriety estoppel was available when a cause of action in contract was available.

Facts

The Appellant, Mr Gordon and Respondent, Mrs Havener are siblings. Mrs Havener entered into three written agreements, one in 2001 and two in 2007 to sell three plots of land to Mr Gordon (the Contracts). In 2006, Mr Gordon made a payment to Mrs Havener of $3,000. Mr Gordon contends the payment was in consideration for the Contracts. Mrs Havener disputes this, contending it was to enable her to obtain legal services with respect to then pending litigation. In reliance on the Contracts, Mr Gordon entered into occupation of the plots, incurring costs relating to maintenance, improvements and property taxes. In 2009 and 2010, Mr Gordon wrote to Mrs Havener requesting she took steps to complete the sale of the plots. Mrs Havener declined to do so.

Mr Gordon brought a claim for specific performance of the Contracts or in the alternative damages. The trial judge dismissed Mr Gordon’s claim finding that the Contracts were invalid and unenforceable, and Mr Gordon had no claim in propriety estoppel. Mr Gordon appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Gordon’s appeal finding that while the Contracts were valid, no consideration had been paid. Mr Gordon did not come to the court with "clean hands" in alleging he had paid the required consideration. Having found the Contracts were valid, a claim in proprietary estoppel was not available (the appropriate remedy lying in contract).

Parties

Appellant(s)

Gregory Gordon

Respondent(s)

Jacqueline Havener

Appeal

Justices

Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Kitchin, Lord Burrows, Lord Stephens, Lady Rose

Hearing start date

8 July 2021

Hearing finish date

8 July 2021