Gary Close -v- Colin Wilson  EWCA Civ 5
Written by Paul Bicknell on 07 February 2011« Return to Reading Room
This case was an appeal by C of the decision in the Barnsley County Court dismissing C's claim for repayment of the sum of £20,000 which C had paid to W for gambling purposes. C pleaded that he paid W £20,000 to place various bets on horses. No money was repaid by W to C. C sought, through his solicitors, to recover the £20,000 from W but this was to no avail.
There was a short written agreement between parties. Under that agreement the bets were a matter of W choosing. However, and more importantly, the agreement provided that C's capital investment was guaranteed to be paid back not matter what happens when laying the horses. Laying horses is essentially betting that such horse will lose a given race or a series of races.
C's case was that W was to account to him at a set rate per month. It was W's case that there was no such guarantee.
At first instance there was a dispute about what happened to the money. According to C's view of W's Abbey National account was that W had used the money to settle various debts and other personal items in the sum of £15,000. It was said that there was no trace of what happened to the remaining £5,000.
There were three issues: on what terms was the advanced money given, how was that money used and whether such use was in breach.
The CA made a finding that it did not matter that the relationship between C and W was one of agency, joint venture or loan. The promise made was void by section 1 of the Gaming Act 1892 (then in force).
Monies used on bets which were successful must be accounted under the law of restitution on the authorities and the unenforceable nature of the agreement would not be a bar. The Judge ordered that judgment of the lower court be set aside and a re-trial before another judge.
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