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 Frustration over Brexit

The case concerned a claim by EMA that its 25 year lease of a commercial property in Canary Wharf would be frustrated by the UK’s departure from the EU. EMA relocated its headquarters to Amsterdam because of Brexit and claimed as Brexit was an unforeseen event this should cause its lease to be frustrated.

Canary Wharf argued that the existence of article 50 meant that Brexit was not unforeseeable as the UK could invoke article 50 and leave the EU at any time, and therefore the lease would not be frustrated.

The High Court decided that the lease was not frustrated and ruled that EMA will continue to be bound by all covenants and obligations in its lease.

The High Court said EMA can appeal the decision as it has a real prospect of success and therefore there was a compelling reason to grant permission to appeal.

For Commercial Property advice, please contact Chris Sykes, Director and Head of Commercial Property