Mannai Investment Company Ltd v Eagle Star Life Assurance Company Ltd

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Judgment Date05 Jul 1995

Court of Appeal

Before Lord Justice Nourse, Lord Justice Roch and Lord Justice Hobhouse

Mannai Investment Co Ltd
and
Eagle Star Life Assurance Co Ltd

Landlord and tenant - determination of lease - notice on specified day

Notice must be served on the day

A tenant of commercial premises seeking to exercise his right to determine his lease could only do so by serving a notice complying with the contractual provisions.

A provision that required a notice to expire on a given date was not satisfied by a notice clearly expressed to expire at the last moment of the previous day.

The Court of Appeal so held allowing an appeal by the landlord, Eagle Star Life Assurance Co Ltd, from Judge Rich, QC, who, sitting as a judge of the Chancery Division on November 16, 1994, had held that two notices served by the tenant, Mannai Investment Co Ltd, were effective to determine the fixed terms for which premises at 98/99 Jermyn St, Westminster were held.

Mr Nicholas Patten, QC, for the landlord; Mr John Cherryman, QC and Mr Kenneth Munro for the tenant.

LORD JUSTICE NOURSE said that the premises were demised for ten years from January 13, 1992. However by clause 7(13) of the lease the tenant was empowered to determine the lease by serving not less than six months' notice in writing on the landlord or its solicitors such notice to expire on the third anniversary of the term commencement date, that is, January 13, 1995.

The tenant gave notices to the landlord to determine the lease on January 12, 1995. The question was whether the notices, although expressed to determine the leases on January 12, were effective to determine them on January 13. Judge Rich had held that they were.

The tenant took two points:

1 Although the notices referred to January 12, it was clear beyond a peradventure that their effect was to determine the leases on January 13, being the only date on which they could have been determined;

2 Alternatively, the notices did not take effect until that moment of time which was both the last moment of January 12 and the first of January 13, so that they did determine the leases on January 13.

The first submission was contrary to authority and to be rejected.

The effect of Hankey v ClaveringELR ((1942) 2 KB 326), Carradine Properties Ltd v AslamWLR ((1976) 1 WLR 442), a principled and manifestly just decision, and Doe d Duke of Bedford v KightleyUNK ((1796) 7 Term Rep 63) could be summarised as follows:

If a notice clearly and specifically...

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