The High Court has ruled that the European Medicines Agency’s lease of its Canary Wharf headquarters will not be frustrated by Brexit. In Canary Wharf v European Medicines Agency, Canary Wharf applied successfully for a declaration that Brexit, if and when it happens, will not entitle the EMA to walk away from its lease without any further liability to pay the rent or to comply with the other tenant covenants. Although the EMA had failed to agree a break clause, the possibility of the tenant needing to vacate was dealt with by comprehensive alienation provisions, allowing assignment and underletting.
The decision is good news for Canary Wharf and may have wider application to a range of other leases and contracts. Just because a contracting party’s position is rendered less favourable by Brexit, this will not allow it to avoid what has simply turned out to be a bad deal.