D & C Builders Ltd v Rees

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D & C Builders Ltd v Rees
Brick Lane 2005.jpg
Court Court of Appeal
Decided November 12, 1965
Citation(s) [1965] EWCA Civ 3, [1965] 2 QB 617, [1966] 2 WLR 288
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Lord Denning MR, Danckwerts LJ and Winn LJ
Keywords
estoppel, duress

D & C Builders Ltd v Rees [1965] EWCA Civ 3 is a leading English contract law case on the issue of part payment of debt, estoppel, duress and just accord and satisfaction.

Facts[edit]

D & C Builders Ltd was a two man building firm run by Mr Donaldson and Mr Casey. They had done work for Mr Rees at 218 Brick Lane, London E1, coming to £732. Mr Rees had only paid £250. £482 was owing. D&C were facing bankruptcy if they were not paid. Mrs Rees phoned up to complain that the work was bad, and refused to pay more than £300. D&C reluctantly accepted and took a receipt marked ‘in completion of account’. After that, they consulted their solicitors and sued for the balance.

Judgment[edit]

Lord Denning MR held that the doctrine of part payment of a debt not discharging the whole ‘has come under heavy fire’ but noted that estoppel, deriving from the principle laid down in Hughes v Metropolitan Railway Co. could give relief in equity. Although in his opinion part payment of debt could satisfy a whole debt, he found that Mrs Rees had effectively held the builders to ransom. Therefore any variation of the original agreement was voidable at the instance of the debtors for duress.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ (1881) 19 Ch.D. 394 , 399.
  2. ^ 9 App Cas 605, 622.
  3. ^ (1877) 2 App Cas 439, 448.
  4. ^ [1947] 1 KB 130; 62 TLR 559; [1956] 1 All ER 256
  5. ^ [1964] AC 1129; [1964] 2 WLR 269; [1964] 1 All ER 367, HL(E).
  6. ^ [1964] 2 W.L.R. 1002, 1015, 1016; [1964] 2 All ER 209, CA
  7. ^ (1889) 22 QBD 610; 5 TLR 379, CA

References[edit]

  • 'A strange sort of survival for Pinnel's case: Collier v P & MJ Wright (Holdings) Ltd' (2008) 71(4) Modern Law Review 611-620