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    •  Where agreement for lease was actually a deed

Where agreement for lease was actually a deed   

The appellants were the owners of land in the Brisbane CBD and the builders of a building on that land.

The respondent executed an agreement for lease and a lease over several floors in that building. One of the appellants delayed in executing the documents.

The respondent claimed that, as one of the parties had not executed the documents, there was no binding agreement in place. The respondent then purported to withdraw from the arrangements.

The appellants maintained that the respondent was legally bound, and sued. At first instance, the trial judge held that there was no binding agreement.

The Queensland Court of Appeal pointed out that a deed, as opposed to a simple contract, is binding on a party once that party has signed, sealed, and delivered the deed, whether or not the deed has been executed by the other parties.

The Court of Appeal then held that the agreement for lease was, on its proper construction, a deed. However, the deed had never been delivered, as the parties had not intended to be immediately legally bound. Therefore, the agreement to lease was not binding and the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

400 George Street (Qld) Pty Limited v BG International Limited [2010] QCA 245