Restrictive covenant affecting land Enforceability. In the context of a dispute over the enforceability of two covenants contained in a transfer of land, the Chancery Division declined to make a declaration that a restrictive covenant was not enforceable against the claimant or any successor in title to it. Further, it held that the defendant local authority had not yet lost the right to enforce a right of pre-emption by force of s9(2) of the in circumstances where the date for measuring the 21-year perpetuity period was the date when the option arose rather than the date when the right of pre-emption was conferred.
Building contract Adjudication. The Technology and Construction Court held that there was no implied term that the unsuccessful party in an adjudication was entitled to have the dispute determined by litigation and to repayment if successful. Further, the essential claimed cause of action relied upon by the claimant involved a negative declaration that it was not in breach of contract or duty and that the defendant did not incur the loss eventually found by the adjudicator was barred by limitation.
Land Interest in land. The claimant issued proceedings, claiming he had a beneficial interest in a property or was entitled to be repaid a loan. The defendant contended that the claimant had no standing to pursue the claim due to his bankruptcy. The Chancery Division, in dismissing the claim, held that the claimant lacked standing, as the property had come under the control of the official receiver and vested in the claimant's trustee in bankruptcy upon the latter's appointment.
Particulars of claim Service. The Technology and Construction Court considered the claimant company's application to extend time for the service of its particulars of claim. The court held that, considering the weakness of the claimant's claim against some of the defendants, and the lack of explanation as to why the claimant had delayed so long before instructing solicitors, the claimant's application would be refused.
Injunction Breach of covenant. The defendants were trustees over land on which they had established a mosque. The local authority served an enforcement notice for breach of planning control and the defendants had appealed. During the appeal hearing, the defendants entered into a unilateral deed whereby they covenanted to: (i) submit a valid planning application for development of the land, and (ii) remove the buildings from the land should they fail to comply with the requirement to submit a valid planning application. The defendants failed to submit a valid planning application and the authority sought an injunction ordering specific performance of the covenant to remove the buildings from the land. The High Court allowed the application and ordered specific performance.
Contract Breach of contract. The claimants sought, against the defendants, damages for breach of contract, and an order for possession and control of buy-to-let properties charged by the claimants to the first defendant Mortgage Express. Receivers from the second defendant firm had been appointed after the mortgage accounts had fallen into arrears. The claimants alleged that the defendants had breached an oral agreement under which the relevant properties would be returned to the claimants if the arrears were cleared. The Chancery Division, Manchester District Registry, in considering a preliminary issue, held that no legal enforceable oral agreement had been made as alleged by the claimants.
Water and watercourses Flooding. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, in dismissing the appeal of the Environment Agency, upheld a finding that it failed properly to interpret, apply or have regard to its own policy when it classified sluices on the Manchester Ship Canal as 'formal' flood defences on the ground that their 'primary' purpose was flood prevention, with the effect that land, which was owned and proposed for development by the claimants, had been at a higher risk of flooding. The sluices were an integral part of the canal, serving a dual purpose of providing flood defences and navigational purposes for the canal, but the defendant had not been entitled, applying its own policies which distinguished between 'primary' purposes and 'secondary' purposes of flood defences, to find that, by having a dual purpose, the sluices had had dual 'primary' purposes.
Local Government Council tax. In February 2012, the Valuation Tribunal determined that the appellants were responsible for council tax in respect of a property in relation to which they were the registered owners. The respondent's case was that the premises were in multiple occupation and that council tax was payable by the registered owners. The appellants' case was that, throughout the relevant period, the whole of the premises were let to bona fide tenants and accordingly it was those tenants who were responsible for council tax. The appellants relied upon documentation including copies of tenancy agreements. The respondent relied on evidence which cast doubt upon the genuineness of the tenancy agreements. The tribunal concluded that, during the period, the premises were in multiple occupation and that accordingly, the appellants were responsible for paying the council tax due for the period. The appellants appealed. The Administrative Court, in dismissing the appeal, held that tribunal had been entitled to conclude that it was not satisfied that the agreements were genuine in the face of the evidence which tended to prove the contrary.
Marks and Spencer Plc v BNP Paribas Security Services Trust Company (Jersey) Ltd and other companies
Landlord and tenant Rent. Marks and Spencer (M+S) was the tenant of space in an office building, of which the defendant companies were the landlords. The lease was terminated. The issue arose of whether M+S was entitled to be repaid a part of the quarter's rent which had been paid, the relevant part being based on a daily apportionment of the quarter's rent in relation to the part of the quarter which was after the specified date for the termination of the lease. The Chancery Division held that there was to be implied into the lease a term requiring the lessor to repay to the lessee an apportioned part of the quarter's rent, car park licence fee and insurance paid for the relevant periods.
Solicitor Payment of costs by solicitor personally. The appellant firm of solicitors had knowingly taken instructions from a bankrupt without having obtained the consent of the trustee in bankruptcy. The claim had been struck out by reason of the claimant's bankruptcy and the absence of consent from the trustee in bankruptcy. Consequently, the court made a wasted costs order against the appellant. In dismissing an appeal against the wasted costs order, the Queen's Bench Division held that the court had been entitled to find that the appellant had acted improperly, unreasonably and negligently. No formal application for a wasted costs order had been necessary; the case against the solicitors had been made sufficiently clear and the appellant had been given reasonable opportunities to give reasons why a wasted costs order should not be made.