Daisy Hill Real Estates Ltd v Rent Control Tribunal

CourtRoyal Court
JudgeHamon, Deputy Bailiff and Jurats Coutanche and de Veulle:
Judgment Date08 June 1995
Date08 June 1995
Hamon, Deputy Bailiff and Jurats Coutanche and de Veulle:

W. J. Bailhache for the representor;

Miss S.C. Nicolle, Solicitor General, for the respondent.

Cases cited:

(1) Dalrymple v. Dalrymple (1811), 2 Hag. Con. 54; 161 E.R. 665, dictum of Sir William Scott applied.

(2) Habin v. Gambling Licensing Auth., 1971 J.J. 1637.

(3) Hambros Bank (Jersey) Ltd. v. Eves, 1994 JLR 315, considered.

(4) Housing Cttee. v. Phantesie Invs. Ltd., 1985-86 JLR 96.

(5) Macready v. Amy, 1950 J.J. 11.

(6) Marriott v. Chamberlain (1886), 17 Q.B.D. 154; 54 L.T. 714; 2 T.L.R. 640; 55 L.J.Q.B. 448; 34 W.R. 783, applied.

(7) Milbank v. Milbank, [1900] 1 Ch. 376; [1900-3] All E.R. Rep. 175; (1900), 82 L.T. 63; 69 L.J. Ch. 287; 48 W.R. 339; 44 Sol. Jo. 259, applied.

(8) R. v. Civil Serv. Appeal Bd., ex p. Cunningham, [1991] 4 All E.R. 310; [1992] I.C.R. 816; [1991] IRLR 297.

(9) Spedding v. Fitzpatrick (1888), 38 Ch. D. 410; 59 L.T. 492; 4 T.L.R. 505; 58 L.J. Ch. 139; 37 W.R. 20, applied.

Legislation construed:

Dwelling Houses (Rent Control) (Jersey) Law 1946, art. 4(2): The relevant terms of this paragraph are set out at page 182, lines 23-30.

Royal Court Rules 1992 (R. & O. 8509), r.6/8(1): The relevant terms of this sub-rule are set out at page 181, lines 39-43.

r.6/14(1): The relevant terms of this sub-rule are set out at page 181, lines 10-13.

Text cited:

Supreme Court Practice 1995, vol. 1, para. 18/12/1, at 306-307.

Contractintention to create legal relationsstatement of intentionadvocate's agreement to furnish particulars not specifically enforceable if reasonable person would infer no intention to create binding contract

Civil Procedurepleadingfurther and better particularsnot to be ordered if issue whether proper disclosure of information requested is to be determined at trial

The representor sought further and better particulars of the respondent's case in its action against the respondent.

The representor brought an action against the respondent tribunal to challenge a rent assessment. In order to do so it sought details of the respondent's method of arriving at what it considered to be a fair assessment, information which the respondent claimed it was under no legal obligation to provide. The respondent entered a defence to the action in which it answered the allegations made by the representor but did not include details of its assessment policy.

The representor's advocate accordingly wrote to the respondent's advocate requesting further and better particulars of its answer, threatening to seek them by action if he did not receive a satisfactory reply. The respondent's advocate stated in reply that he would comply with the request and in reliance upon this, the representor did not issue a summons. The particulars then given omitted the information as to the respondent's policy and the representor accordingly made the present representation in which it sought the information under r.6/14(1) of the Royal Court Rules 1992, by which the court could order any party to serve on any other party particulars of its claim, defence or other matter stated in its pleading, or a statement of the nature of its case. The Judicial Greffier declined to make the order sought on the ground that, since the question whether the information need be divulged was at issue in the proceedings, to order its disclosure in interlocutory proceedings would prejudge the ultimate decision.

On appeal, the representor submitted, inter alia, that (a) the respondent's letter agreeing to comply with the request was binding on the respondent and it should be ordered to comply with its undertaking, since it had not properly done so; and (b) it was entitled to know the details of the respondent's policy at this stage in order to prepare its case that the respondent's decision had been wrong.

The respondent submitted in reply that (a) its letter had not been intended to be part of a binding contract but was merely part of the pre-trial negotiations; and (b) since it challenged the representor's right to know how it arrived at its assessment, to ask for such details was an improper use of particulars and the request had been properly refused.

The court considered the function of particulars and to what extent they could be ordered even if they would force the respondent to disclose evidence it might rely on at trial (which, by r.6/8(1) of the Royal Court Rules 1992, should not appear in pleadings) or other material which the respondent would otherwise not have to disclose.

Held, refusing to order particulars to be given:

(1) The respondent was not bound to furnish the particulars sought by virtue of its letter, since no reasonable person would infer that it was intended to...

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