Equity and Trusts Law

The Court enforced specific performance of the contract because the defendant had merely transferred the ownership of the land to a company that he controlled, hence in effect, he still retained control of the land.
An order for specific performance on a contract will compel the defaulting party to fulfill the terms of the contract. In the case of Broome v, Cassell and Co Ltd Lord Reid commented that “….it is not the function of . . . judges to frame definitions or to lay down hard and fast rules. It is their function to enunciate principles and much that they say is intended to be illustrative or explanatory and not to be definitive."3 Hence, at the outset, this makes it clear that the kind of judgment that will be rendered in a particular case, and whether or not specific performance will be deemed to be the appropriate remedy, is likely to depend upon the individual circumstances of the case and may not necessarily be enforced in every instance.
The Court of Appeal laid down a general rule in relation to non pecuniary damages in the case of Watts v Morrow4 and Bingham LJ observed that on considerations of policy, “a contract-breaker is not in general liable for any distress, frustration, anxiety, displeasure, vexation, tension or aggravation which his breach of contract may cause to the innocent party..” There may, however, be limited exceptions to this rule, such as for example, when damages are awarded for pain, suffering and/or loss of amenities caused to an individual by the breach of the contract.
But Bingham J also qualified this further by clarifying that in these instances where the objective of a contract is “to provide pleasure, relaxation, peace of mind or freedom from molestation, damages will be awarded if the fruit of the contract is not provided or if the contrary result is procured instead.”7 In such instances, the specific performance of the contract may be enforced. When damages, as decreed under common law principles, serve as an inadequate remedy, for instance, performance of the contract may be enforced.

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