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Landmark dispute between Canary Wharf Group and European Medicines Agency is settled with WeWork deal

Published: Friday 5 July 2019

The European Medicines Agency has reached an agreement with Canary Wharf Ltd over its premises at 30 Churchill Place, London, in accordance with the discussions held with the EU budgetary authorities.

EMA announces today that it has sublet all of its 284,704 square feet (26,450 m2) of accommodation at 30 Churchill Place to WeWork. WeWork will take a new sublease from EMA for a term to the expiry of EMA’s lease in June 2039. WeWork is commencing the fitting out and is looking to open in December 2019.

EMA relocated to Amsterdam in March 2019 as a consequence of the outcome of the UK‘s referendum on its EU membership. The lease on its Canary Wharf premises runs until 2039 and does not contain a break clause, but the premises can be sublet or assigned subject to the landlord’s consent.

EMA has simultaneously agreed with Canary Wharf Group that it will withdraw its appeal against the decision of the High Court that Brexit would not frustrate the EMA lease at 30 Churchill Place. The original High Court decision will therefore still stand.

This news has been reported in The Times and the Financial Times.

Wilberforce is proud to have appeared on both sides of this momentous case: Joanne Wicks QC and Jonathan Chew for Canary Wharf, and Jonathan Seitler QC and Emer Murphy for EMA. The full judgment (referenced above), which was handed down in February 2019, is available to download and read here.

Jonathan Seitler QC and Joanne Wicks QC recently joined Estates Gazette to discuss Canary Wharf v European Medicines Agency in their latest ‘On the Case’ Podcast. Is this recording, they discuss the issues raised by the case, the arguments advanced by themselves and their teams, and the details of the judge’s decision.