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Shell-Mex and BP Ltd v Manchester Garages Ltd [ 1971] 1 All ER 841 Court of Appeal

The defendant, by agreement, was allowed to use a petrol company’s filling station to sell petrol. The agreement did not grant exclusive possession.


The defendant was a Licensee

Lord Denning MR:

"Broadly speaking, we have to see whether it is a personal privilege given to a person (in which case it is a licence), or whether it grants an interest in land (in which case it is a tenancy). At one time it used to be thought that exclusive possession was a decisive factor. But that is not so. It depends on broader considerations altogether. Primarily on whether it is personal in its nature or not….In my opinion the agreement was only "personal in its nature" and created "a personal privilege"

“I realise that this means that the parties can by agreeing on a licence, get out of the Act; but so be it; it may be no bad thing.”


Note this subjective approach has since been replaced by an objective approach in Street v Mountford.


Back to lecture outline on lease or licence in Land Law

Back to lecture outline on requirements of a lease in Land Law