Steel and another v NRAM Ltd (formerly NRAM plc)

Solicitor – Duty of care – Careless misrepresentation – Respondent bank seeking damages for loss arising from reliance on statements by appellant solicitor in email concerning property transaction – Respondent allegedly misled into discharging security over all properties owned by claimant’s client when only one property eligible for release from security – Judge concluding appellant owed no duty of care to respondent when making erroneous statements – Appeal court allowing appeal against that decision – Whether appellant owing duty to opposite party – Appeal allowed

Knight v Goulandris

Party wall – Party Wall etc Act 1996 – Award – Service – Surveyor being appointed in party wall dispute – Surveyor’s award being sent to parties by email – Appeal against award – Whether appeal brought outside 14-day period permitted by section 10(17) – Whether service by electronic means valid – Appeal allowed

Goode Cuisine Co Ltd v Commissioners of HM Revenue and Customs

Stamp duty land tax – Higher rate – High value residential transactions – Appellant appealing against closure notice issued by respondent commissioners requiring appellant to pay additional stamp duty land tax (SDLT) in respect of purchase of residential property – Whether tax relief available for trades involving making of dwelling available to public – Whether dwelling to be converted into bed and breakfast accommodation qualifying for relief – Appeal dismissed

R (on the application of Mott) v Environment Agency

Environment – Human rights – Fishing rights – Respondent owning leasehold right to fish for salmon using ancient method known as “putcher rank” – Appellant imposing limits on numbers of salmon to be caught using putchers – Limit based on lowest catch sought by any licence holder in past 10 years – Whether unlawful interference with respondent’s right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions under Article 1 of First Protocol to European Convention on Human Rights – Appeal dismissed

Leven Holdings Ltd v Johnston and others

Easement – Right of way – Prescription and loss of modern grant – Defendants claiming right of way over claimant’s land – Claimant seeking declaration of right of way over estate service road for all purposes and order preventing use by others – Whether defendants establishing express, implied, prescriptive or presumed right of way across claimant’s land – Declaration granted

Gaia Ventures Ltd v Abbeygate Helical (Leisure Plaza) Ltd

Sale of land – Overage payment – Condition – Lease being transferred to defendant with overage covenant – Benefit of overage covenant being assigned to claimant – Claimant suing defendant for breach of overage provision – Whether defendant using reasonable endeavours to satisfy overage conditions – Claim allowed

Annetts v Adeleye

Right of way – Abandonment – Covenant to fence – Right of way created by owner of access way in favour of purchaser of adjoining land – Strip of land being severed and sold to adjoining owner – Purchaser covenanting to fence boundary between strip and access way – Whether right of way over access way to strip of land abandoned by covenant to fence boundary – Appeal allowed

Mahmut and another v Jones and others

Landlord and tenant – Reversionary interest – First refusal – Landlord giving respondent tenants first refusal to purchase reversionary interest in flats – Landlord completing sale to appellants before respondents accepting offer – Respondents serving notice on appellants requiring disposal of freehold interest to them – Respondents serving default notice and obtaining court order requiring appellants to transfer freehold – Appellants serving notice under section 17(4) of Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 – Whether notice effective to discharge appellants from obligation to comply with court order – Appeal dismissed

Sackville UK Property Select II (GP) No 1 Ltd and another v Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers Ltd and another

Landlord and tenant – Lease – Break clause – Claimants granting lease to first defendant – Lease containing break option – First defendant obtaining licence to assign lease to second defendant – Second defendant purporting to exercise break option – Claimants seeking declaration that notice of break option invalid and applying for summary judgment – Whether lease determined pursuant to break option – Claim allowed

Hewitt (VO) v Telereal Trillium

Rating – Non-domestic rates – Rateable value – Valuation Tribunal determining appellant’s office building to be listed in rating list with nominal rateable value of £1 – Decision based on lack of demand for the property on open market – Upper Tribunal allowing respondent valuation officer’s appeal – Appellant appealing – Whether lack of demand justifying nominal valuation – Whether tribunal wrongly concluding that rating hypothesis required valuer to assume demand not existing in reality – Appeal allowed

Rittson-Thomas and others v Oxfordshire County Council

Trust for sale – Reverter – School Sites Act 1841 – Defendant local authority selling land conveyed by deceased grantor for use as part of school – Claimant heirs seeking declaration that defendant holding proceeds of sale on trust for them – Whether notional reverter to grantor occurring when school ceased to operate from original site – Claim dismissed

A retailer has won an important test case on the valuation of plant and machinery for rating purposes

The question that arose in Iceland Foods Ltd v Berry [2018] UKSC 15 was whether a specialised air handling system, used in connection with refrigerated merchandise in a retail store, designed and programmed to maintain the store temperature at an acceptable level for both the functioning of the refrigerated cabinets and the comfort of staff and customers, should be treated as part of the hereditament for rating purposes, or whether it should be ignored.

Generator Developments Ltd v Lidl UK GmbH

Sale of land – Equitable interest – Joint venture – Appellant property developer and respondent company discussing proposed purchase of land for joint venture – Respondent subsequently purchasing land in own name – Appellant alleging land held on trust for both parties as part of joint venture giving rise to equity under principle in Pallant v Morgan – Judge ruling arrangement or understanding between parties insufficient to give rise to Pallant v Morgan equity – Whether equity arising where both parties negotiating on express “subject to contract” basis – Appeal dismissed

Harbour Castle Ltd v David Wilson Homes Ltd

Civil procedure – Abuse of process – Striking out – Court striking out claim for failure to comply with unless order – Claimant issuing second action allegedly in identical terms – Defendant applying to strike out proceedings – Whether second action abuse of process – Application granted

What duties do solicitors owe lenders when acting for a borrower who is seeking to have a property released from a charge?

Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd v Heller & Partners Ltd [1964] AC 465 established that representors may be liable in tort for negligent misstatements. In that case, the court would have ruled that a merchant bank was liable on a credit reference provided for a customer, but for a disclaimer that relieved it of liability. However, for the representor to be liable, the representee must establish that he reasonably relied on the representation and that the representor ought reasonably to have foreseen that he would do so.

Atherton and others v MB Freeholds Ltd

Landlord and tenant – Service Charges – Insurance – Appellant leaseholders being obliged to insure flat in own and respondent landlord’s joint names – In event of default respondent entitled to insure and recoup cost – Respondent insuring whole of building under single policy in sole name – Whether respondent required to insure in joint names – Appeal allowed

Leven Holdings Ltd v Johnston and others

Easement – Right of way – Prescription and loss of modern grant – Defendants claiming right of way over claimant’s land – Claimant seeking declaration of right of way over estate service road for all purposes and order preventing use by others – Whether defendants establishing express, implied, prescriptive or presumed right of way across claimant’s land – Declaration granted

R (on the application of Mynydd Y Gwynt Ltd) v Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy

Town and country planning – Wind farm – Special protection area – Appellant applying for planning permission for wind farm – Proposal requiring development consent order (DCO) – Respondent secretary of state refusing DCO – Application for judicial review dismissed – Appellant appealing – Whether respondent erring in law in concluded that wind turbines would affect integrity of red kite population – Appeal dismissed

Starham Ltd v Greene King Pubs Ltd and another

Easement – Restrictive covenant – Licence – Defendants owning pub and using part of land acquired by claimant as beer garden – Claimant seeking injunction and damages for trespass – Whether earlier conveyance creating easement, restrictive covenant or contractual licence – Whether defendants trespassing on claimant’s land – Claim allowed

R (on the application of Holder) v Gedling Borough Council

Town and country planning – Planning permission – Wind turbine – Appellant applying for judicial review of planning permission for wind turbine on farm – High Court dismissing application – Appellant appealing – Whether respondent local authority misinterpreting written ministerial statement – Appeal dismissed

Mundy v Trustees of Sloane Stanley Estate

Leasehold enfranchisement – Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 – Lease extension – Statutory valuation assumption – Valuation of existing leases of flats without benefit of rights under 1993 Act – Use of graphs of relativity – Whether Upper Tribunal erring in rejecting “Parthenia model” to determine value of existing lease – Appeal dismissed

R (on the application of Peters) v Haringey London Borough Council

Local authority – General power of competence – Limited liability partnership – Defendant local authority entering into limited liability partnership with private-sector partner to assist in achieving strategic aims in housing and employment of defendants’ land – Defendants purporting to act pursuant to general power of competence – Claimant objector applying for judicial review – Whether defendants making unlawful decision – Whether defendants acting for “commercial purpose” requiring use of limited liability company – Application dismissed

A break notice was invalid because it was served during the “registration gap”

Section 27(1) of the Land Registration Act 2002 provides that a disposition of a registered estate does not operate at law until it is completed by registration. In other words, there is a “registration gap”, during which the disponor remains the legal owner of the estate transferred. The consequences of overlooking the effects of this statutory provision can be devastating.

Proxima GR Properties Ltd v Spencer

Landlord and tenant – Rent review – Ground rent – Time of the essence – Appellant landlord appealing against decision of First-tier Tribunal determining appropriate premium payable for grant of new leases of three flats in respondent’s long leasehold ownership – Whether ground rent validly reviewed – Whether notice validly served making time of essence – Appeal allowed

Westmark (Lettings) Ltd v Peddle and others

Landlord and tenant – Service charge – Section 20B(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 – Appellant intermediate landlord appealing against decision of First-tier Tribunal that respondent leaseholders not liable for certain service charges – Whether 18 month time limit on demands for service charges repeated for each intermediate landlord – Appeal allowed

Gaia Ventures Ltd v Abbeygate Helical (Leisure Plaza) Ltd

Sale of land – Overage payment – Condition – Lease being transferred to defendant with overage covenant – Benefit of overage covenant being assigned to claimant – Claimant suing defendant for breach of overage provision – Whether defendant using reasonable endeavours to satisfy overage conditions – Claim allowed

A lease of premises included the airspace above it too

Ralph Kline Ltd v Metropolitan and County Holdings Ltd [2018] EWHC 64 (Ch); [2018] PLSCS 104 concerned a long lease of buildings granted in 1970. Thirty years later, the landlord granted another tenant a reversionary lease, subject to and with the benefit of the buildings lease – and, 14 years after that, the owner of the reversionary lease granted a third party a lease of the airspace above the buildings. The question that then arose was: who was entitled to possession of the airspace? And should the airspace lease should be registered as being subject to the buildings lease?

R (on the application of The Friends of Finsbury Park) v Haringey London Borough Council

Local authority – Provision of entertainment – Public park – Closure – Appellant applying for judicial review of respondents’ decision to hire out park for music festival – High Court dismissing application – Appellant appealing – Whether respondents having power to hire part of park for festivals under section 145 of the Local Government Act 1972 – Appeal dismisse

Tiuta International Ltd (in liquidation) v De Villiers Surveyors Ltd

Negligence – Valuation – Mortgage – Appellant surveyors providing valuation of development site in connection with grant of loan facility by respondent – Developer indebted to respondent under earlier loan facility – Developer failing to repay loan under new loan facility – Respondent claiming damages against appellant for alleged negligent valuation – Whether negligence causing loss – Whether “but for” test of causation to be applied – Appeal allowed

Dover District Council v CPRE Kent and related appeal

Town and country planning – Planning permission – Area of outstanding natural beauty – Appellant council granting planning permission for extensive development in AONB – Respondent challenging lawfulness of decision – Claim dismissed at first instance but allowed by Court of Appeal – Whether court properly quashing decision on basis of failure to provide statement of main reasons and considerations – Appeal dismissed

R (on the application of Wright) v Forest of Dean District Council

Town and country planning – Planning permission – Material consideration – Respondent objector applying for judicial review of decision of first appellant local authority to grant second appellant planning permission for change of use of agricultural land to wind turbine – Proposal providing for local community donation – Permission granted subject to conditions – Judicial review being granted – Appellants appealing – Whether local community donation constituting relevant consideration – Appeals dismissed

Camden London Borough Council v Foxtons Ltd

Consumer rights – Letting agent – Appellant local authority imposing monetary penalty on respondent letting agent for breach of requirements of Consumer Credit Act 2015 – First-tier Tribunal (FTT) reducing amount of penalty giving credit for revision of wording of details of relevant fees before final notice issued –Whether FTT wrong to find revised wording complied with statutory requirements – Appeal allowed in part