The case of Ticket2Final v Wigan Athletic highlights the need to comply fully with notice provisions when attempting to terminate a contract. It also makes clear that parties should make express contractual provision if they wish notices to be validly served by email.

Key points to note

  • You must fully comply with a contract’s notice provisions when attempting to terminate a contract
  • Parties should make express contractual provision if they wish notices to be validly served by email

Decision

Wigan made it to the FA Cup Final and lifted its first major trophy in its 81 year history. They failed to provide T2F with the tickets - tickets for Wembley finals being controlled by the Football Association not individual clubs. 

Wigan argued they were not liable for their breach of the arrangements because they were entitled to terminate the contract for outstanding payments. They had sent notice to terminate to T2F by email.

Unfortunately for Wigan, the Court held that their notice was not valid because they had not complied with the formal requirements of the notices clause, Clause 11. Clause 11 required notices to be in writing and delivered by hand or first class post to the registered office (or sent by fax) and Court did not accept that the parties had waived that to allow notices to be given by email.

The Judge pointed out that one of the purposes of Clause 11 was to require notices, particularly ones which if not complied with might result in the contract being terminated, to be served in a particular way. In those circumstances, the party receiving the notice is in no doubt as to its importance.

This case demonstrates the necessity of complying fully with notice provisions when attempting to terminate a contract. It also makes clear that parties should make express contractual provision if they wish notices to be validly served by email – just because email has taken over from fax as the usual method of communicating does not mean that parties can assume formal notices can be served that way.