Westbury Homes is part of the Persimmon PLC group of companies, a leading national housebuilder company. Westbury instructed Clarke Willmott in relation to a dispute that arose out of a land purchase agreement.
Westbury acquired development land from a landowner in Somerset. It was part of the deal that Westbury would construct an access and provide services to enable development on land retained by the landowner.
A dispute arose with the landowner as to the positioning and scope of the access and services.
The landowner started legal proceedings seeking substantial damages against Westbury, alleging breach of contract.
We defended the claim for Westbury because we advised there were good grounds to defeat the claim.
We tried to avoid the case going to trial by engaging the other party in negotiations to seek a commercially acceptable outcome.
As that was not possible the case went to trial and was decided by a judge in the High Court
The judge gave judgment in favour of Westbury to defeat the claim. An important legal point was dealt with in the judgment – the judge agreed with our argument that the contract clause on which the landowner sought to rely was a “penalty” clause and so was unenforceable. The judge was satisfied that Westbury had offered to comply with its contractual obligations and so the landowner was ordered to pay Westbury’s costs of the court case.
Westbury succeeded in defeating a substantial claim.