The recent case of Phung v Phung [2019] NSWSC illustrates the Courts’ position with regards to the doctrine of part performance in relation to the sale of property through oral contracts. The plaintiff sought to enforce an oral contract for the sale of an $180,000 unit that was made with his brother (the defendant).  In determining whether the oral contract was valid, the Court had regard to the test from Maddison v Alderson that necessitates that part-performance must be ‘unequivocally referable’ to the oral contract. The Court formed the view that the plaintiff’s payment of $180,000 was not in itself sufficient enough to constitute part performance. However, the court held that due to the fact that the plaintiff had taken possession of the unit, had carried out the renovations on the unit and had paid all outgoing expenses for the property, that the property had been valid transferred to the plaintiff. Although this case demonstrates that an oral contract for the sale of property can be enforced due to part-performance, which was established on the unique facts of the case, it is always recommended that written contacts be prepared and signed by both parties.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: