A company from Bermuda, the client of Schelstraete and Beelen Advocaten from Leuven, Belgium, and a company from Belgium agreed on a lease agreement regarding the lease of a horse.
The lease price needed to be paid by the client of Schelstraete and Beelen at the beginning of each year. The costs for the first year were € 100.000,- and for the second and third year € 50.000,-. In the agreement was also a clause on the sale and purchase of the horse during the lease agreement. In the event of a sale and purchase the first € 300.000,- benefits the Belgian company and everything above this amount would be equally distributed between the client and the Belgian company.
During the last year of the lease agreement, in September, the horse was sold. The revenue was distributed as set out before.
The client of Schelstraete and Beelen was of the opinion that she could claim the refund of the lease price of € 12.500,- for the months October, November and December because the lease agreement prematurely terminated in September at the sale and purchase of the horse. The client also asked for the documents regarding the sale and purchase of the horse because she was the commissionaire.
Court of first instance
The Belgian Company disputed this allegation so the client of Schelstraete and Beelen was forced to start a litigation at the Court of first instance Gent, district Dendermonde.
The client of Schelstraete and Beelen based her claim on undue payment. Based on Belgian Law two conditions must be fulfilled to speak of an undue payment: a payment and a lack of cause of this payment. The payment of € 12.500,- was done at the beginning of the year and has no cause because the lease agreement prematurely terminated and the horse was not leased from October until December.
The client of Schelstraete and Beelen won the case.
The Belgian company could not agree and appealed against this decision at the Court of Appeal in Gent. Also the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the client from Schelstraete and Beelen because it would be against all reasonableness and fairness that the full lease price would be due when the lease agreement was prematurely terminated.
The client was represented by Mr. Luc Schelstraete from Schelstraete Advocaten (The Netherlands) and Mr. Bert Beelen from Beelen Advocaten (Belgium).
Schelstraete and Beelen are both members of the Alliance European US Asian Equine Lawyers, a collaboration between Equine Lawyers all over the world. You can find more information on https://www.europeanequinelawyers.com/.