The latter case with Sargeant et al. against Reece  stated the interpretation of provisions in a contract that a deceased property tried to rely on. The deceased and the defendant in this case were brother and sister. The first applicant in the case was the deceased wife and the second and third applicants were respectively his daughter and his lawyer.
The complainants were named as the executives of the executives. The case concerned 45,535 hectares of farmland. The land had significant long-term development potential and was owned by the deceased and the defendant. The land was valued in March 1974 and was estimated to be worth of causes, £ 21,375 or £ 475 per hectare.
Then, in 1990, the deceased and the defendant handed over to sell 39 hectares of land for a fixed sum of GBP 3,020,000. Unfortunately, sales fell through. However, a number of parties showed a great interest in taking alternatives across different parts of the country. At that time, the potential value of the land was estimated at between £ 250,000 and £ 300,000 per hectare.
In 1995, the deceased and the defendant filed a dissolution agreement (1995 agreement). This meant that the agricultural partnership between them ceased to exist. Final accounts were then prepared. According to paragraph 6 of the 1995 agreement:
[The Respondent] shall accede to and sign any document that may be required to wake up all the partner assets of [the deceased].
In the final payment according to the 1995 agreement, the deceased defendant paid half of the country's trial value, ie £ 10,687.50. Thereafter, the deceased and the defendant in 2000 submitted an act that regulates the position between them in relation to an option agreement granted to a third party.
After the execution of the act in relation to the country, the deceased sent a trial attempting to apply the terms of clause 6 of the 1995 agreement and that the country was transferred to his sole name. The defendant requested correction of the 1995 agreement.
The defendant claimed that the essential common intention behind the 1995 agreement, as evidenced by the documentation, was that, after the dissolution of the agricultural partnership, the country was still located with her and the deceased as tenants jointly in equal parts.
However, the applicants argued that the defendant had not proved that the necessary common intention had been formed and that the deceased had acquired the country under clause 6 of the 1995 agreement.
The Court argued that in the actual construction of the 1995 agreement, the parties' common intention was that the country would belong to them both equally after the termination of the partnership. This was because this intention was deemed to have been expressed and continued until the implementation of the 1995 agreement.
The court held that it was difficult to see how the deceased could have believed that he had been entitled to over 45 hectares of land at a valuation that was 20 years old. The court would issue an order for rectification under the conditions that the country would be deemed to be trustworthy, as beneficial tenants jointly in equity in equal parts, for the defendant and the deceased, and then only his property.
© RT COOPERS, 2007. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law on the issues discussed or constitute legal advice. It is only intended to highlight general questions. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.
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