Unilateral Contract in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Mannai Investment Company Ltd v Eagle Star Life Assurance Company Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 21 May 1997

    In determining the meaning of the language of a commercial contract, and unilateral contractual notices, the law therefore generally favours a commercially sensible construction. The reason for this approach is that a commercial construction is more likely to give effect to the intention of the parties. Words are therefore interpreted in the way in which a reasonable commercial person would construe them.

  • Habibsons Bank Ltd v Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 24 Nov 2010

    Although there has been some discussion in the authorities about the principles involved, there has hitherto been no real doubt that under English law a party to a contract may effectively give consent in the contract itself to a subsequent novation.

  • Gunton v Richmond-upon-Thames London Borough Council
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 03 Jul 1980

    If the only real redress is damages, how can its measure or scope be affected according to whether the contract is regarded as still subsisting or as at an end? To preserve the bare contractual relationship is an empty formality. The difference is fundamental, for there is no legal substitute for voluntary performance.

  • Autoclenz Ltd v Belcher and Others
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 13 Oct 2009

    Generally, if a party to a contract claims that a written term does not accurately reflect what was agreed between the parties, the allegation is that there was a continuing common intention to agree another term, which intention was outwardly manifested but, because of a mistake (usually a common mistake of the parties, but it can be a unilateral one) the contract inaccurately recorded what was agreed. If such a case is made out, a court may grant rectification of a contract.

  • Ward v Byham
    • Court of Appeal
    • 16 Jan 1956

    I approach the case therefore on the footing that the mother, in looking after the child, is only doing what she is legally bound to do. Even so, I think that there was sufficient consideration to support the promise. I have always thought that a promise to perform an existing duty, or the performance of it, should be regarded as good consideration, because it is a benefit to the person to whom it is given.

    I regard the father's premise in this case as what is sometimes called a unilateral contract, a promise in return for an act, a promise "by the father to pay £1 a week; in return for the mother's looking after the child. Once the mother embarked on the task of locking after the child, there was a binding contract. The case seems to me to be within the decision of Hicks & Gregory (reported in 8 Common Bench Reports at page 379) on which the judge relied.

  • Western Excavating (ECC) Ltd v Sharp
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 14 Nov 1977

    If theemployer is guilty of conduct which is a significant breach going to the root of the contract of employment; or which shows that the employer no longer intends to be bound by one or more of the essential terms of the contract; then the employee is entitled to treat himself as discharged from any further performance. If he does so, then he terminates the contract by reason of the employer's conduct.

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  • Land Registration Act 2002
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2002
    ......if his entitlement is as a person who has contracted to buy under a. contract. . (7) If a person holds in the same right ...for— . . (a) an agreed notice, or. . . (b) a unilateral notice. . (3) The registrar may only approve an application for an ......
  • Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1988
    ......it, or as a personal debt or obligation. by virtue of any contract, or whether. the same is received and payable half-yearly. or at any ...section. S-790 . Unilateral relief. 790 Unilateral relief. . (1) To the extent appearing from the ......
  • Contract (Scotland) Act 1997
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1997
    ......An Act to reform the law of Scotland relating to the admissibility of extrinsic evidence to prove an additional term of a contract or unilateral voluntary obligation, to the supersession of a contract by a deed executed in implement of it and to the obtaining of damages for breach of contract ......
  • Enterprise Act 2002
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2002
    ......was a relevant government contractor. . (5) For the purposes of deciding whether a relevant merger. ... increase or facilitate the exercise of market power (whether unilateral, or through co-ordinated behaviour), leading to reduced output, higher ......
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Rectifying the Course of Rectification
    • Nbr. 75-3, May 2012
    • The Modern Law Review
    In Daventry District Council v Daventry & District Housing Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 1153, the majority of the Court of Appeal held that a contract should be rectified because of a common mistake. Th...
    ......] EWCA Civ 1153, the majority of the Court of Appeal held that a contract should be rectified because of a common mistake . This note discusses ... might help to distinguish common mistake rectification from unilateral mistak e rectification. INTRODUCTION In Chartbrook Ltd v Persimmon ......
    • Nbr. 16-4, October 1953
    • The Modern Law Review
    ...... usefulness as a negative test of the existence of a contractual obligation is familiar to all practising lawyers. The points ... is con- cerned only with the unilateral contract-a promise for an act- and he contends that it ......
  • Conceptualism Triumphant in the Court Of Appeal
    • Nbr. 31-3, May 1968
    • The Modern Law Review
    ...... the immunity applies ? A solicitor is still liable in contract to his client for matters outside the scope of his ... classifications and concepts-“ options,” (‘ unilateral con- tracts,” “ conditions precedent ” and so forth-it ......
  • MWB Business Exchange Centres Ltd: The Practical Benefit Doctrine Marches On
    • Nbr. 80-2, March 2017
    • The Modern Law Review
    In MWB Business Exchange Centres Ltd v Rock Advertising Ltd the Court of Appeal held that when an ongoing contract is varied so that one party's obligation to pay money is reduced, the variation is...
    ...... Advertising Ltd the Court of Appeal held that when an ongoing contract is varied so that one party’s obligation to pay mone y is reduced, the ... is by Arden LJ’ s suggestion that the contract be recast as a unilateral one. 35 This analysis has been espoused by Professor Chen-Wishart in a ......
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Contractual flexibility clauses must be clear and unambiguous to give an employer a right to make unilateral changes
    • LexBlog United Kingdom
    In the case of Norman and others v National Audit Office UKEAT/0276/14, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) confirmed that flexibility clauses in employment contracts which seek to give employer...
  • Changes To Loan Notes: Good Faith Not Implied
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    In Dennis Edward Myers & anr v Kestrel Acquisitions Ltd & ors [2015] EWHC 916 (Ch), 31 March 2015, the High Court refused to imply an obligation of good faith into a term allowing modificat...
    ...... The debtor had contractual rights to modify the notes and there was nothing to suggest that any ... Kestrel made a number of unilateral amendments to the VLNs, subordinating them to further loan notes which ......
  • 2016 Summer Review: M&A legal developments
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    We set out below a number of interesting English court decisions which have taken place and their impact on M&A transactions. This review looks at these developments and gives practical guidanc...
    ...... of ag reement The Court of Appe al has considered express contractual duties to use all reasonable endeavours and to act in good faith. The ......
  • Mandatory Changes Proposed To UK Government Contracts' Data Privacy Terms
    • Mondaq UK
    ...The UK government has announced that it intends to write to all government contractors in order to make unilateral changes to all UK government contracts to comply with impending changes in EU data privacy law. It's not clear how the UK government intends to ......
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