Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Hardy Har Har – Brexit Not Important Enough To Break Rental Contracts

This is something that will intensely annoy the people over at the European Medicines Agency and such assorted nests of federasts – Brexit just isn’t important enough for it to be a justification to break a contract. Rather than it being some civilisation toppling event it’s around and about the local government changing party or some such.

That really is how we should read this:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has lost its bid to cancel a lease on its office in London’s Canary Wharf financial district due to Brexit, in a landmark ruling that lawyers said could stave off similar such claims by other tenants.[/perfectpullquote]

But why?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] A High Court judge dismissed the agency’s claim that its 25-year lease of offices in Canary Wharf would be legally “frustrated” as a result of Brexit. Frustration is a doctrine under English law whereby an event occurs that fundamentally changes the performance of a contract so that it would be unjust to make the parties continue to perform it. No tenant has successfully argued that they should be able to terminate their lease early on the basis of frustration. [/perfectpullquote]

It’s possible to imagine cases where they might be able to. Cthulu returns and drags Canary Wharf down into the hellfire it deserves, hmm, might succeed as a basis for an action. But leases didn’t run out when devolution happened, so a change in the form of governance doesn’t do that, does it? In fact, leases didn’t change when we joined the EU. So that’s not a form of change of government that changes leases.

Which is the way that we should really read this case. Yes, there are important things in this life, the right to property, sanctity of contract, the rule of law. Then there’s Brexit, something just not important enough to upset those other three. Which does sound about right. Which principles we’re ruled by are more important that which particular group of idiots apply them. This being true even of federasts.

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Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
5 years ago

The EMA is reportedly considering an appeal to the ECJ. Better make it quick, lads 🙂

Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
5 years ago

Even when the World Trade Centre towers were destroyed, the building leaseholder had to keep paying rent to the Port Authority on the non-existant buildings, but the tenants were under different terms – they stopped paying rent. I seem to remember this caused some issues.

5 years ago

Didn’t the judge also say the EU had played the awkward card and so had caused the problem for itself.

There is no reason, other than politics, why the EMA could not stay in London.

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