Taylor Fashions Ltd v Liverpool Victoria Trustees Co Ltd
|Taylor Fashions and Old & Campbell v Liverpool Victoria Trustees|
|Citation(s)|| QB 133|
Taylor Fashions and Old & Campbell v Liverpool Victoria Trustees  QB 133 is an English land law case concerning proprietary estoppel.
Taylor Fashions and Old & Campbell claimed the right to renew a lease on a business property, denied by the landlord Liverpool Victoria Trustees. All had assumed that the previous lease did contain the right to renew. Taylors and Olds had improved the premises. But it turned out that Liverpool Victoria had not been bound to renew, but it was argued they should be estopped from not renewing. Liverpool Victoria argued they should not be estopped because they had never acted unconscionably. It was simply a mistake.
Oliver J, noted that Mr Scott and Mr Essayan for Taylors and Olds said one’s state of mind was irrelevant. Mr Millett for Liverpool Victoria argued that unconscionability was necessary, following Fry J in Willmott v Barber. Oliver J said that Willmott was only a case applicable to situations where someone had stood by without protest as his rights were infringed. Knowledge of one of the parties alleged to be estopped is just one of many relevant factors. One should consider all the circumstances. So on the facts here, Taylors failed, with ‘regret’, because it was not encouraged by Liverpool Victoria to have believed anything, it was merely assumed by both, and it benefitted immediately from its improvements so it was not clear it was relying on renewal. Olds succeeded because it was encouraged to spend a very large sum because of the belief that it could renew.
|“||in a case of mere passivity, it is readily intelligible that there must be shown a duty to speak, protest or interfere which cannot normally arise in the absence of knowledge or at least a suspicion of the true position....
Furthermore the more recent cases indicate, in my judgment, that the application of the Ramsden v Dyson LR 1 HL 129 principle—whether you call it proprietary estoppel, estoppel by acquiescence or estoppel by encouragement is really immaterial—requires a very much broader approach which is directed rather at ascertaining whether, in particular individual circumstances, it would be unconscionable for a party to be permitted to deny that which, knowingly, or unknowingly, he has allowed or encouraged another to assume to his detriment than to enquiring whether the circumstances can be fitted within the confines of some preconceived formula serving as a universal yardstick for every form of unconscionable behaviour....
...The inquiry which I have to make therefore, as it seems to me, is simply whether, in all the circumstances of this case, it was unconscionable for the defendants to seek to take advantage of the mistake which, at the material time, everybody shared, and, in approaching that, I must consider the cases of the two plaintiffs separately because it may be that quite different considerations apply to each.
- N Gravells (ed), Landmark Cases in Land Law (2013)