Making assumptions makes for dangerous drafting

Many a young lawyer is taught early on that making assumptions is dangerous. The Buckingham Gateway litigation is a rare, but valuable, example of a party getting away with what could otherwise have been a very costly mistake in reliance upon incorrect assumptions.

Crowborough Properties, a company owned by Mr and Mrs Kaushal, had borrowed £29m from Lloyds TSB Bank to develop land in Slough. The land would be developed to include a hotel, offices, shops and a basement car park. The overall site was made up of 15 separate titles, some of which were owned by Crowborough and some by Mr and Mrs Kaushal. Mr and Mrs Kaushal had given personal guarantees to the bank in respect of Crowborough’s borrowing worth up to £25m. 

The personal guarantees were secured by charges in favour of the bank over the land owned by Mr and Mrs Kaushal. However, the charges secured only Mr and Mrs Kaushal’s liability as sureties…

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