Restitutionary relief for would-be joint venturers

10 July 2014
restitutionary relief

…an historic rock and roll theme…

In the case of Achom v Lalic [2014] the claimants (for whom I acted) had reached an understanding with the defendants whereby the defendants would acquire night club premises in Mayfair and the parties would together develop those premises into an exclusive night club with an historic rock and roll theme. The company which owned the premises was acquired by the defendants.  The claimants, drawing on their previous night club development experience and connections, contributed expertise, ideas, contractors and a celebrity clientele, together with considerable sums of money.

A year into the venture the relationship between the claimants and the defendants broke down and the defendants refused to recognise that the claimants had any interest in the night club business or the companies that owned its premises and conducted its business. They also refused to return the claimants’ money.

The claimants issued a claim seeking a number of alternative remedies based on:

  • An alleged agreement to allot shares to them
  • Partnership
  • Constructive trust (Pallant v Morgan equity)
  • Proprietary estoppel
  • Restitution

The first four of those claims failed for want of a clear agreement or understanding as to the precise entitlement of the claimants in the venture.

However the fifth claim succeeded and the claimants were awarded the return of their money and reasonable remuneration for services rendered, with the amounts to be assessed by the court if not agreed.

See the judgment of Mr Justice Newey here.

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