Unilateral Contract in UK Law

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

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

  • Wilson v Maynard Shipbuilding Consultants A.B.
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 11 November 1977

    If it had been intended to relate the decision to what had happened up to the time of the dismissal, the present tense would he inappropriate. It means that the question whether or not this important statutory right exists is settled at, and can be ascertained by reference to, the time of the making of the contract. But the question of variation, if it is raised in a case under paragraph 9 (2), has to be decided by the ordinary principles of the law of contract.

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

  • Statoil ASA v Louis Dreyfus Energy Services L P
    • Queen's Bench Division (Commercial Court)
    • 29 September 2008

    The general rule at common law is that if one party has made a mistake as to the terms of the contract and that mistake is known to the other party, then the contract is not binding. The reasoning is that although the parties appear, objectively, to have agreed terms, it is clear that they are not in agreement. Some of the cases talk of such a contract being “void”, but I think it is clearer to say that there was never a contract at all.

    None of the cases he cites at paragraph 455 of his judgment is authority for the existence of that jurisdiction. If there is no such jurisdiction in the case of a common mistake, I fear I am unable to see how, in logic, one can devise a rationale for an equitable jurisdiction in the case of a unilateral mistake, at least where there has been no misrepresentation by the other party.

  • Agip S.p.A. v Navigazione Alta Italia S.p.A. (Nai Genova, Nai Superba)
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 20 December 1983

    In all the various formulations of the relevant principle in the judgments in those cases, none of the members of the respective courts suggested that rectification can properly be granted on account of unilateral mistake unless the defendant had actual knowledgeof the existence of the plaintiff's mistake at the time when the contract was signed.

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Legislation
  • Requirements of Writing (Scotland) Act 1995
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1995
    ... ... , writing shall not be required for the constitution of a contract, unilateral obligation or trust ... (2) Subject to F15F51subsection (3) ... ...
  • Land Registration Act 2002
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2002
    ... ... his entitlement is as a person who has contracted to buy under a contract ... (7) If a person holds in the same right both—(a) a lease in ... under this section may be for—(a) an agreed notice, or(b) a unilateral notice ... (3) The registrar may only approve an application for an ... ...
  • The National Health Service (Primary Dental Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2023
    ... ... Amendments relating to unilateral variation of contractAmendments relating to unilateral variation of ... contract: rebasing for persistent under performance ... 61A.—(1) In this ... ...
  • Contract (Scotland) Act 1997
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1997
    ... ... 34An 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 ... ...
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Article 17 of the Fifa Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players
    • No. 22-2, April 2015
    • Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law
    • 0000
    Article 17 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players governs the consequences of a unilateral termination of a professional footballer's employment contract without just cause. ...
    ... ... Articles13 to 18 of those Regu lations are aimed at securing contract st ability between a player and his club. e Swiss-based Court of ... In determining t he nancia l sum a player is liable for when unilateral ly terminating a contract under Ar ticle17 RSTP, the CAS is guided by the ... ...
  • The Formation of Public‐Private Partnerships: Lessons from Nine Transport Infrastructure Projects in The Netherlands
    • No. 83-1, March 2005
    • Public Administration
    Despite high expectations, in The Netherlands the formation of public‐private partnerships (PPPs) in the field of transport infrastructure is stagnating. This article addresses the question of why ...
    ... ... pattern shows ineffective market consultations followed by unilateral public planning, leading to stagnating contract negotiations. These ... ...
  • Mistakes in Algorithmic Trading of Cryptocurrencies
    • No. 83-6, November 2020
    • The Modern Law Review
    How should the doctrine of unilateral mistake apply when a programming error results in a buyer's algorithmic trading programme accepting an offer generated by the seller's trading programme to exc...
    ... ... Cryptocurrencies Alexander Loke ∗ How should the doctrine of unilateral mistake apply when a programming error results in a buyer’ s algorithmic ... means that the traders’ minds werenot engaged at the moment the contract was for med? These nov el issues came before the Singapore Court of Appeal ... ...
  • Rectifying the Course of Rectification
    • No. 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. This n...
    ... ... ] 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 ... ...
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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...
    ... ... In fact, the provision said nothing about which party to the contract could amend it and how. The stipulation that significant changes would be notified to staff did nothing to change that, and was entirely consistent ... ...
  • Barton V Morris: Where Contract Ends And Unjust Enrichment Begins
    • Mondaq UK
    ... ... He identified ... the unjust factor as 'failure of basis' and stressed that ... here there was a unilateral contract. That is, there was no ... obligation to provide the services and they had been provided on ... the basis that the sale would be above '6.5 ... ...
  • Mandatory Changes Proposed To UK Government Contracts' Data Privacy Terms
    • Mondaq UK
    ... ... intends to write to all government contractors in order to make unilateral changes to all UK government contracts to comply with impending changes in ... of the relevant government contracts don't allow for unilateral contract variation.  But the official policy is that all costs of compliance with ... ...
  • Mandatory Changes Proposed to UK Government Contracts’ Data Privacy Terms
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    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...
    ... ... intends to write to all government contractors in order to make unilateral changes to all UK government contracts to comply with impending changes in ... of the relevant government contracts don’t allow for unilateral contract variation.  But the official policy is that all costs of compliance with ... ...
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