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Wood v Leadbitter (1845) 13 M & W 838

The revocability of a contractual licence

Facts

The claimant was attending Doncaster races, when he was removed from the racecourse by the defendant. The claimant had entered the racecourse, which was owned by the employer of the defendant under licence and on the basis that he had paid one guinea to be able to do so. It was argued that the payment and the licence granted the grantee the right to remain on the racecourse for the duration of the races. The owner of the racecourse subsequently decided that he wanted the claimant to leave the defendant informed him of this. After leaving a reasonable period of time for the claimant to leave, the defendant, without using unreasonable force removed him from the racecourse. The guinea paid by the claimant was not however, refunded. At first instance, the matter was settled in favour of the defendant, the claimant appealed.

Issue

The issue in this circumstance was whether a licence which was entered into subject to a payment of money could be revoked unilaterally.

Held

It was held that a licence, even if subject to the payment of money, could be revoked at any time and without the return of the money. In order for the right to enter and remain on property to be enforceable by a person in the claimant’s position, the right must be granted by deed. A licence without this formality was not enforceable. The appeal was dismissed.


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