Hobleton retained Glentree as an estate agent to market its property for sale. This was originally on a sole agency basis although later a multiple agency basis was agreed and a second agent was appointed. A purchaser was shown around the property by Glentree. He made an offer but this was rejected and he took no further steps at that time. Three months later the purchaser again expressed an interest in the property, but this time he approached the second agent. Negotiations ensued and the purchaser purchased the property. Hobleton paid commission to the second agent in accordance with its agency agreement. Glentree argued that it had introduced the purchaser and was entitled to commission.
Glentree’s claim was rejected by both the trial judge and the Court of Appeal. The trial judge had been entitled to find that the rejection of the purchaser’s initial offer and the subsequent three month gap, whilst short, was sufficient to break the chain of causation such that Glentree was not the (or an) effective cause of the sale.