Parol Evidence in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • HIH Casualty and General Insurance Ltd v New Hampshire Insurance Company
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 21 May 2001

    Moreover, in Youell v. Bland Welch and Punjab National Bank v. de Boinville it was common ground that the policies in question were intended to supersede the slips. Where it is common ground that one contract has been intended to supersede an earlier contract, it must follow that the parties' contract must be found exclusively in the later contract. Thus the earlier contract cannot be used to add to, or modify, the later contract.

    The difficulty of course is that, where the later contract is intended to supersede the prior contract, it may in the generality of cases simply be useless to try to construe the later contract by reference to the earlier one. Therefore a cautious and sceptical approach to finding any assistance in the earlier contract seems to me to be a sound principle.

  • Evans (J.) & Son (Portsmouth) Ltd v Andrea Merzario Ltd (Ruhr)
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 13 Nov 1975

    The Court is entitled to look at and should look at all the evidence from start to finish in order to see what the bargain was that was struck between the parties. The defendants gave such a promise which to my mind against this background plainly amounted to an enforceable contractual promise.

  • Timmins v Moreland Street Property Company Ltd
    • Court of Appeal
    • 30 Jul 1957

    The rule has no doubt been considerably relaxed since Peirce v. Corf was decided in 1874, but I think it is still indispensably necessary, in order to justify the reading of documents together for this purpose, that there should be a document signed by the party to be charged which, while not containing in itself all the necessary ingredients of the required memorandum, does contain some reference, express or implied, to some other document or transaction.

  • Pettitt v Pettitt
    • House of Lords
    • 23 Apr 1969

    The property may be conveyed into the name of one or other or into the names of both spouses jointly in which case parol evidence is admissible as to the beneficial ownership that was intended by them at the time of acquisition and if, as very frequently happens as between husband and wife, such evidence is not forthcoming, the court may be able to draw an inference as to their intentions from their conduct.

  • Scammell (G.) & Nephew Ltd v Ouston (H. C. & J. G.)
    • House of Lords
    • 16 Dec 1940

    The object of the Court is to do justice between the parties, and the Court will do its best, if satisfied that there was an ascertainable and determinate intention to contract, to give effect to that intention, looking at substance and not mere form. It will not be deterred by mere difficulties of interpretation. Difficulty is not synonymous with ambiguity so long as any definite meaning can be extracted.

  • Steadman v Steadman
    • House of Lords
    • 19 Jun 1974

    A deed could well be prepared and transmitted in contemplation of a concluded agreement so as to save time. The unchallenged evidence, however, shows that the deed in fact was not prepared until after the 2nd March, 1972, the date upon which the wife admitted before the Magistrates that the parol agreement was made.

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  • Distress for Rent Act 1737
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1737
    ......of what was so held or enjoyed; and if in Evidence on the Trial of such Action any Parol Demise. or any Agreement (not being ......
  • Law of Property Act 1925
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1925
    ......unless the contrary appears, be sufficient evidence that. the person named therein is a person to whom the powers. may be ...with respect to the creation of interests in land. by parol— .   . ( a . ) no interest in land can be created or disposed. of ......
  • Judicial Committee Act 1833
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1833
    ......S-VII . Evidence may be taken viv voce, or upon written Depositions. VII Evidence may be ... Testimony, it shall be lawful for the said Committee to direct that parol Evidence of the Testimony of such Witness shall be received. S-XIV . ......
  • Court of Admiralty (Ireland) Act 1867
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1867
    ...... Court for the Purpose of taking down and transcribing all such Evidence, Statements, and Matters as the Judge shall direct; and any Person so ... his Testimony, the said Court of Appeal in Chancery may direct that parol Evidence of the Testimony of such Witness shall be received. S-102 . ......
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Books & Journal Articles
  • The Marine Insurance Slip and HIH v New Hampshire
    • Nbr. 1-2, July 2011
    • Southampton Student Law Review
    • Ayodeji Sasegbon
    • 69-73
    ...... looking at how in a claim for rectification it is admissible in evidence, as well as how, after th e Court of Appeal’s judgment in HIH , it is ... left it open for the courts to exclude the application of the parol evidence rule as an obstacle to the evidential admissibility of a slip ......
    • Nbr. 33-5, September 1970
    • The Modern Law Review
    ...... It is doubtful whether the par01 evidence rule could evem appl to an invoice and it would only ... They are the parol evidence rule and the doctrine of estoppel. Where these ......
  • Sale By Sample—A Distinction Without A Difference?
    • Nbr. 44-4, July 1981
    • The Modern Law Review
    ...... In rejecting oral evidence of this sample (with which it was alleged the bulk did ... decision, like others discussed infm, owes much to the parol evidence rule, under which oral evidence of a sample is ......
    • Nbr. 40-2, March 1977
    • The Modern Law Review
    ...... Of course there will have to be some evidence that the defendant has in fact had notice, and presumably the ... some of the uncertainty and confusion which surrounds the parol evidence rule. Instead the case provides a further indication ......
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • The Franchise Affair - Key Recent Developments Relevant To Franchising
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ......A basic principle of contract law is that outside evidence. cannot be admitted to vary a written contract. This is a common law. ciple known as the 'parol evidence' rule. So if that is. the case, why do we have entire agreement ......
  • Construction - YJL Ltd v Jacobs One Ltd
    • Mondaq UK
    ...... She went on to say that "the evidence of what happened in prior years does not aid the construction of the ...I do not see how the parol evidence rule can exclude prior contracts, as distinct from mere ......
  • Weekly Update - A Summary Of Recent Developments In Insurance, Reinsurance And Litigation Law 36/10
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... A case on whether a prior gentleman's agreement is admissible as evidence to construe a later written agreement. This Week's Caselaw. Fearns v ... v New Hampshire [2001] Rix LJ expressed the view that (although the parol evidence rule excludes mere negotiations) it is permissible to look at ......
  • (Re)insurance Weekly Update 38- 2017
    • Mondaq UK
    ...... She went on to say that "the evidence of what happened in prior years does not aid the construction of the ...I do not see how the parol evidence rule can exclude prior contracts, as distinct from mere ......
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