Union Eagle Ltd v Golden Achievement Ltd

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Union Eagle Ltd v Golden Achievement Ltd
Court Privy Council
Citation(s) [1997] UKPC 5, [1997] AC 514
Termination, condition, deposit

Union Eagle Ltd v Golden Achievement Ltd [1997] UKPC 5 is an English contract law case, concerning the right to terminate performance of a contract.


Union Eagle paid 10% of the HK$4.2m price for a Hong Kong flat as a deposit. Time was said to be ‘of the essence’. Completion was meant to be 5pm 30 September 1991, and clause 12 said failure to complete meant the deposit was forfeit and the agreement rescinded. They were 10 minutes late. Union Eagle sued for specific performance, arguing relying on such a legal right was unconscionable.


Lord Hoffmann for the Privy Council advised that certainty was needed in the business world, particularly in a volatile market. Accordingly, the contract's terms should be strictly enforced, and Union Eagle lost its deposit.

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