Zoan v Rouamba

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Judgment Date21 Jan 2000


Before Lord Justice Henry, Lord Justice Chadwick and Lord Justice May


Documents - whether exempt from Consumer Credit Act - cannot be given meaning of party's perceived intention

Document cannot be given meaning of party's perceived intention

As a general rule a document would not be given the meaning for which one party contended merely because the other party knew or suspected at the time that that was what the first party intended the document to achieve.

The Court of Appeal so held allowing an appeal by the defendant, Beatrice Rouamba, from a decision of Judge Harris, QC, in Northampton County Court on July 19, 1999 that three credit hire contracts made between the plaintiff, Nigel Zoan, and Swift Rent-A-Car Ltd were exempt from the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and that awarding the plaintiff judgment for hire fees of Pounds 25,833.

The defendant had contended that she was not liable for the plaintiff's expenditure under a hire contract which was legally unenforceable.

Miss Hilary Heilbron, QC and Mr Timothy Kevan for the defendant; Mr Ian Hunter, QC and Mr Frederick Philpott for the plaintiff.

LORD JUSTICE CHADWICK, giving the judgment of the court, said the plaintiff's Jeep Grand Cherokee motor car had been damaged in an accident which was the defendant's fault.

Her insurers had refused to pay the cost of hiring equivalent vehicles while his own car was off the road. He had recovered damages of Pounds 25,833 and she now appealed as to Pounds 10,702.45 of those damages.

For the purposes of the appeal the only defence was that three of the four hire contracts involved were improperly executed and unenforceable because of the pleaded failure to comply with the statutory requirements of the 1974 Act and the regulations made thereunder.

A consumer credit agreement was a regulated agreement for the purposes of the Act if it was not an exempt agreement. By paragraph 3(1)(a)(i) of the Consumer Credit (Exempt Agreements) Order (SI 1989 No 869) an agreement for fixed-sum credit requiring no more than four payments to be made within a period not exceeding 12 months beginning with the date of the agreement was exempt from the 1974 Act.

The judge had held that it was obvious from the use of the expression "beginning with the date of the agreement" that the period of 12 months prescribed by that paragraph included the date of the agreement. That conclusion was plainly correct.

But he had...

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23 cases
  • Enterprise Inns Plc v (1) Palmerston Associates Ltd (2) Paul Rigby and Another
    • United Kingdom
    • Chancery Division
    • 30 Noviembre 2011
    ...was not in law admissible as an aid to the interpretation of the Terms of Trading. For this submission, the First Defendant relied upon Zoan v Rouamda [2000] 1 WLR 1509. That case concerned the construction of a hire agreement. On one construction, the agreement failed to conform to the re......
  • Michael Hickey
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 18 Enero 2017
  • R (Zaporozhchenko) v City of Westminster Magistrates' Court
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 18 Enero 2011
    ...time limit. He drew our attention to two decisions of the Court of Appeal ( Trow v. Ind Coope (West Midlands) Limited [1967] 2 Q.B. 899; Zoan v. Rouamba [2000] 1 WLR 1509), and one of a Divisional Court ( Hare v. Gocher [1962] 2 QB 641) in which time limits expressed in months in terms simi......
  • Asiapools (M) Sdn Bhd v IJM Construction Sdn Bhd
    • Malaysia
    • Court of Appeal (Malaysia)
    • Invalid date
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 firm's commentaries
  • Weekly Tax Update – Monday, 27 October 2014
    • United Kingdom
    • Mondaq UK
    • 29 Octubre 2014
    ...the general approach of the Courts to determining such a time limit as identified in the Court of Appeal in the case of Zoan v Rouamba [2000] 1 WLR 1509, [2000] 2 All ER The case concerned an appeal by Dock & Let: Ltd who had filed a return on 31 January 2012 on which HMRC had issued a ......

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