09 October 2009

Bun 'n' Sixpence

There's an expression from Yorkshire - the equivalent of 'having his cake and eating it' - namely, wanting his bun and sixpence. Imagine someone coming into your bakery, putting down sixpence for a bun and then wanting both, the bun and the sixpence.

The expression sprung to mind when I read "Legal risk to property investors"; an ignorant whinge by naifs led by the BBC. The story is tiresome to tell; tiresome to read. In short, "investors" are trying to get out of paying for properties that they bought that were not completed. During the time taken for the properties to get completed they have found that the market (read money supply) has changed and so they don't (and in some cases can't) honour their contracts.

These people give the impression that what they are suggesting is reasonable and their plight demands a degree of sympathy. Well it doesn't.

Perhaps some sympathy can be found for Jane in Paradine v Jane. A contract was struck; it was for the lease of some land; it was anticipated that the land would be farmed and the money made from the enterprise would be used in rent. However, the land was invaded by a foreign Prince; it couldn't be farmed and the rent wasn't paid.

The person who was owed the money sued for it. Now, I think that we can all have sympathy for the person who couldn't generate the cash from the farm to pay his rent but ... the court found against him.

"when the party by his own contract creates a duty or charge upon himself, he is bound to make it good,"


"as the lessee is to have the advantage of casual profits, so he must run the hazard of casual losses, and not lay the whole burthen of them upon his lessor;"

But Jane was still liable. He had signed the contract. He was bound by his word in law.

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