In this decision, the Court of Appeal upheld a decision at first instance that the project managers and architects (together Drost) should receive remuneration for preliminary services carried out on a hotel development. It was intended that Drost would secure planning consent initially and then get the substantive work. The judge found that there was an expectation of payment for the preliminary work, which was not speculative. After the developer (Foremost) became dissatisfied with progress, it engaged another project manager, Meding, and the architect's involvement in the project ceased. Drost as project manager continued to work on the project for a couple of months before its involvement also ceased. In the absence of a formal contract, a 'remuneration offer' was sent to Drost after their involvement ceased, expressed to be payable on receipt of planning permission for a 120 room hotel. Such permission was obtained some 12 months later. The judge found the sum in the remuneration offer to be payable, and the Court of Appeal agreed. This is a further case where the Court of Appeal has shown reluctance to interfere with a judge's findings of fact which are supported by evidence, stating that it would not be possible to come to a different conclusion from that reached by the judge. It is also a reminder of the importance of agreeing remuneration upfront in situations where no formal contract has been entered into and there is a risk that the project may not proceed, and is perhaps one example of a situation where a letter of intent may have avoided, rather than generated, litigation.
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