This case deals with non-reliance statements and the extent to which they can be used to exclude liability for misrepresentation when giving replies to pre-contract enquiries.
Two landlords, First Tower Trustees and Intertrust Trustees Limited, entered into the following agreements in respect of warehouse premises with the tenant, CDS:
In replies to pre-contract enquiries, the landlords stated that they were not aware of any environmental problems in respect of the premises. Following these replies being provided, the landlords were notified that the premises contained dangerous amounts of asbestos. This information was not revealed to the tenant.
Remedial works were required. The tenant had to lease alternative premises while these works were being undertaken and they commenced a claim for damages against the landlords.
The judges found in favour of the tenant:
The landlord appealed the decision and the points for consideration by the Court of Appeal were as follows:
The High Court’s decision was upheld. The Court of Appeal found that both non-reliance statements were subject to the Misrepresentation Act as:
The Court emphasised that pre-contract enquiries had an important function in conveyancing. If a non-reliance statement excluded liability for misrepresentations contained in replies to enquiries this would render pre-contract worthless as (except in cases of fraud) the landlord would have no liability for their replies.