Conditions: interpretation: validation principle

DB Symmetry Limited v Swindon Borough Council and SSHCLG [2020] EWCA Civ 1331 –

    1. As noted, the Supreme Court held that the same principles apply to the interpretation of a planning permission as apply to other documents. One principle that applies (both to contracts and to other instruments) is that the court will prefer an interpretation which results in the clause or contract being valid as opposed to void. It is known as the validity or validation principle: see, most recently, Enka Insaat Ve Sanayi AS v OOO Insurance Company Chubb [2020] UKSC 38. This approach is triggered where the court is faced with a choice between two realistic interpretations: Tillman v Egon Zehnder Ltd [2019] UKSC 32[2020] AC 154. In that case Lord Wilson described the principle at [38]:


“… the validity principle proceeds on the premise that the parties to a contract or other instrument will have intended it to be valid. It therefore provides that, in circumstances in which a clause in their contract is (at this stage to use a word intended only in a general sense) capable of having two meanings, one which would result in its being void and the other which would result in its being valid, the latter should be preferred.”

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