Newton Abbott Co-operative Society v Williamson and Treadgold Ltd [1952] Ch 286

Key point
  • In the assignment of the benefit of covenants, the identity of benefiting land of a covenant must be ascertainable, not necessarily from the original deed but also from the circumstances
  • X is a ironmonger and sold land adjacent to her business subject to a covenant that it will not be used for iron mongering
  • X’s land was leased by C, with the benefit of the covenant assigned to C
  • The owners of the adjacent land (D) began to conduct ironmongery
Held (High Court)
  • C were able to enforce the covenant against D
Upjohn J

Assignment of benefit

  • For an assignment to be effective:
    1. The land must be capable of being benefited by the covenant
    2. The land must be ascertainable
  • To be ascertainable, the land need not be referred to in the deed itself, as long as it can be identified from surrounding circumstances

Current case

  • It was argued that the covenant in fact benefits the business, but it actually benefits the land as the owner can sell the totality of the business and the land at a higher price due to the covenant
  • Even if the business ceases, she can sell the land at a higher price of an ironmonger
  • The position in relation to the ascertainment of benefiting land in annexation cases is now aligned with assignment after Crest Nicholson
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