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Newton Abbott Co-operative Society v Williamson & Treadgold [1952]


  • A part of some land owned by an ironmonger was sold along with a covenant preventing the purchaser from using the land in competition with the vendor’s business
  • The ironmonger died, leaving the retained land and business to her son
  • The son assigned the benefit of his inherited business and the covenant to the claimants
  • The defendant’s subsequently started trading as ironmongers


  • Was the covenant enforceable by the claimants?


  • Yes


  • The benefit of the covenant had not been annexed to the benefitted land, as it was not identified by the covenant entered into by the defendants
  • The son was entitled to the benefit of the covenant as it was held on trust by the executors of the original ironmonger
  • As the covenant was not solely there to benefit the son’s inherited business, it was assignable, and was assigned by the son when he granted the claimant’s lease
  • The benefiting land in the equitable assignment of the benefit of a covenant need only be identifiable – a court may look at surrounding circumstances to assist with this identification
  • Circumstances allowed identification, and the covenant was enforceable by the claimants
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