Legal experts have said that a case between the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Canary Wharf Group over whether or not Brexit has ‘frustrated’ the former’s 25-year lease could have significant ramifications for landlords across the country.


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‘Frustration’ is a legal term referring to an unforeseen event that changes the nature of the original agreement so drastically that it would be unfair to hold both parties to the contract.

If the EMA manages to successfully argue that Brexit has frustrated its contract, it could break its lease at 30 Churchill Place without owing anything to Canary Wharf Group. It would also be owed all the money it has given to the landlord throughout its tenure. The agency has already announced plans to relocate to Amsterdam

Legal experts told Property Week that if the court ruled in the EMA’s favour, other tenants could use the same legal argument to break their contracts too.

In a joint statement, Alison Hardy, partner at Ashurst, and Tom Weekes QC, barrister at Landmark Chambers, said: “If Brexit will frustrate EMA’s lease, Brexit will presumably also frustrate many other contracts.”