Laceys Solicitors Laceys is a leading, forward-thinking law firm with specialist experts serving both individual and business clients across a broad spectrum of practice areas.

Navigation
If Social Services have notified you about legal proceedings concerning your child please call 01202 377995.

News

Back

classic cars

Is a verbal contract a valid contract?

30th May 2018 by Rob Kelly

Categories: What's New?
Tags: , , , , ,

When parties make an oral agreement but fail to record it in writing it can be very difficult, or even impossible, for the court to ascertain whether a meeting of minds has occurred.

A recent case involving classic cars highlights the difficulty.

In Michael Tuke v JD Classics Ltd, the claimant, a wealthy businessman who had an interest in classic cars, brought a claim against a classic car dealer and restorer on the basis that the dealer was acting as his agent in the purchase, restoration and sale of high-value classic cars.  He alleged that at a meeting in December 2009 the dealer had told him that classic cars are “better than banks” and that he “could double his money”.  Mr Tuke alleged that during this meeting, the dealer agreed to source cars for Mr Tuke to purchase, undertake servicing, maintenance and restoration and then find potential buyers, all for a 10% commission on any profits.

Mr Tuke spent almost £40m on 19 classic vehicles over a period of about 4 years.  However, he did not make the sort of profits that he thought the dealer had promised and in 2016 he requested the dealer to deliver to him all documents relating to the 19 cars which had been sold.  The dealer declined to do so on the basis that no agency relationship existed.  He argued that he had been working on his own account throughout and that the claimant had misunderstood the nature of the agreement.

These facts emerged at a preliminary hearing at which the dealer tried to strike out the claim but in rejecting the dealer’s application, leaving the way open for a full trial, the court found that the claimant had established at least a realistic prospect that his claim would prevail due to emails and other communications passing between the parties which were consistent with an agency agreement.

This case illustrates the importance of establishing what the relationship is, and confirming it in writing. Oral contracts can be just as enforceable as written contracts but without a written record of what has been agreed or, preferably, a formal and comprehensive written agreement, it may be very difficult or impossible to prove the claim to the necessary standard for a court.

If you would like further information please contact Rob Kelly.

This article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest.  The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice, is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered, and should not be relied on as such.  Legal advice should be sought about your specific circumstances before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed.
Questions relating to this article should be addressed directly to the author.

Rob Kelly

Senior Associate — Dispute Resolution

Direct dial: 01202 377871

Email

Rob Kelly
  • “Rob Kelly has been absolutely exceptional in resolving this litigation and so thorough in everything and basically gave the opposition a masterclass of his work that he is so good at.”

    Paul Jeffcoate - Contentious Probate Client

  • “I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the team at Laceys regularly over a period of years. I found Rob Kelly in particular, who worked on a successful litigation case for me over a period of several years to be outstanding in all aspects of the work he undertook, and the manner in which he did it. I now consider him a friend. I would not - and have not - hesitated to recommend Laceys to my family and friends, and continue to use them for all legal matters.”

    Dan Collins

  • “ I just wanted to thank you for your great work on the professional negligence case and other cases you have represented Indian Ocean and Tiien through the last few years.”

    Mehdi Vahdati, Director and Proprietor - Indian Ocean (Bournemouth) Limited

  • “A case that was initially very straightforward became difficult and, for me, very frustrating. Rob Kelly's calm, lucid and very professional advice and planning were invaluable and led to a good outcome.”

    Don Young

  • “Their Fee Management was exemplary and the expertise provided by Rob was exactly what we required.”

    Sunseeker London Limited

  • “I've worked with a fair few lawyers over the years and Rob Kelly is the most on the ball and efficient lawyers I've ever come across. I'm looking forward to working together for many years to come.”

    Roger Woodall CEO - Diamond Sporting Group

Rob practices in two main, complimentary areas of work – contentious wills, probate and trust disputes, and property disputes.

Contentious wills, probate and trusts

More than half of Rob’s time is spent dealing with the contentious aspects of wills, probate and trusts, an area in which he has practiced continuously for over 20 years.  He advises and acts in disputes relating to wills and inheritance, trusts, the duties of trustees and personal representatives, and the administration of estate.

Rob’s practice embraces:

  • Personal representative and trustee disputes (including personal representative and trustee disagreements, removals / substitutions and alleged misconduct)
  • Disappointed beneficiary claims
  • Will disputes (where the validity of a will is challenged on the grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, lack of knowledge and approval of the contents of a will, and fraudulent calumny)
  • Financial provision claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Proprietary estoppel claims
  • Disputes about the proper construction, and rectification, of wills
  • Caveats
  • Professional liability claims arising from the preparation of wills and trusts and the administration of estates

He has mediated (either as appointed mediator or as a representative) dozens of disputes involving contentious wills and probate issues.

Property disputes

The other side of Rob’s practice is contentious property work.  This embraces:

  • Residential and commercial landlord and tenant disputes
  • Disrepairs
  • Repairing covenants
  • Possession claims
  • Lease termination and lease forfeiture
  • Dilapidations
  • Service charge disputes
  • Interpretation and enforcement of leasehold covenants

Rob’s style is a mix of listening, asking (tough) questions, diplomacy and reality testing. He’s interested, flexible, and pragmatic. He offers a common sense, realistic approach to assist his clients in searching for solutions to their disputes and brings straight talking and integrity to his work.

Rob is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.  He holds an LLB (Hons) degree in law.  He successfully completed training as a mediator under the ADR Chambers / Harvard Law Project Scheme in June 2006, was one of the first mediators to have been appointed an IMI Certified Mediation Advocate in the UK with a commercial practice, and is a member of the Civil Mediation Council.

Related articles

music writing

Ed Sheeran’s “Oh I” v Sam Chokri’s “Oh Why”

It has been another busy few months in the world of intellectual property, with Ed Sheeran in...

Read Article

registered trade mark

Do I need to register my trade mark? How to protect your brand

As a business, you probably have insurance in place to protect your assets, locks on your premises...

Read Article

Close X