Chartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd

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An insurance law update. The pragmatic construction and rectification of documents – Lord Hoffman's last hurrah!

The pragmatic construction and rectification of documents – Lord Hoffman's last hurrah!

The House of Lords handed down judgment on 30 June 2009 in Chartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd. They allowed Persimmon's appeal, upholding Lawrence Collins LJ's dissenting interpretation of the relevant contractual term in their favour. They did this unanimously as a question of simple construction, reorganising the syntax of the clause in question to give commercial sense to the agreement.

Lord Hoffman, with whom the other law lords agreed, went on to review the exclusionary rule by which evidence of pre-contractual negotiations is inadmissible as an aid to the construction of a contract. He concluded that there was no clearly established case for departing from the rule. He also considered obiter the requirements for a rectification claim and reframed the test to be applied. 

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