Category Archive Litigation

ByMichael Morrison

Grounds of Appeal

The Master of the Rolls, Sir Geoffrey Vos, recently handed down a judgment in the Court of Appeal which seeks to clarify how Grounds of Appeal should be drafted:-

i) The grounds of appeal are an essential analytical tool for the court, to enable it to identify the issues which it is being asked to decide: they are not a vehicle for advocacy, which is the role of the skeleton argument.

ii) The starting point in every case must be for the appellant to think through carefully what specific errors the court below is alleged to have made. Once these errors have been identified, they need to be clearly and concisely articulated. In the unlikely event that the grounds are numerous, they must be presented in a structure which makes clear how they inter-relate.

iii) Each ground of appeal must be separately numbered, and the particular passages in which the judge appealed is said to have gone wrong must be specifically identified.

iv) The purpose of the grounds of appeal is to identify the points on which permission to appeal is sought, not to argue those points. Supporting submissions belong in the skeleton argument.

v) It follows that grounds of appeal should be short; in many cases, a few sentences will suffice. In a complex case, grounds of appeal may be longer, but clarity and concision should never be compromised.

This was a case in which exceptionally a permission to reopen a permission to appeal application under CPR 52.30 was allowed.

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ByMichael Morrison

Damages Based Settlement Agreements

Three principles have recently been established by case law in relation to these agreements. They are:-
i) Lawyers can charge for their time if the agreement is ended prematurely
ii) They will not be permitted unless a reasonable amount could be recovered from the claimant
iii) They are not the same as agreements for litigation funding.

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ByMichael Morrison

Landlord & Tenant – Eviction Proceedings Recommence

Possession cases which had been stayed since the 26th March 2020 due to COVID-19 recommenced on the 21st September 2020 in the county court.

A list of priority cases has been formulated:-

i) Cases with allegations of anti-social behaviour, including Ground 7A of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988 and Section 84A of the Housing Act 1985.
ii) Cases with extreme alleged rent arrears accrued, that is, arrears equal to at least
(i) 12 months’ rent, or
(ii) 9 months’ rent where that amounts to more than 25% of a private landlord’s total annual income from any source.
iii) Cases involving alleged squatters, illegal occupiers or persons unknown.
iv) Cases involving an allegation of domestic violence where possession of the property is alleged to be important for particular reasons which are set out in the claim form (and with domestic violence agencies alerted).
v) Cases with allegations of fraud or deception.
vi) Cases with allegations of unlawful subletting.
vii) Cases with allegations of abandonment of the property, non-occupation or death of defendant.
viii) Cases concerning what was allocated by an authority as ‘temporary accommodation’ and is specifically needed by the authority for reallocation as ‘temporary accommodation’.

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ByMichael Morrison

The Masters of the Rolls

On the 31st July 2020 the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Her Majesty The Queen had been pleased to approve the appointment of Sir Geoffrey Vos as the Master of the Rolls from the 11th January 2021 in succession to Sir Terence Etherton.

It is interesting to note that 6 out of 7 of the most recent incumbents of this judicial office have been of the jewish faith the others being Lords Woolf, Phillips, Neuberger and Dyson.

We find that jewish solicitors are often particularly sought after because of their perceived quality traits of intelligence, shrewdness, toughness and integrity.

If you are looking to find such a solicitor please do not hesitate to call us.

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ByMichael Morrison

House Prices Climb as Inheritance Battles Rise

House prices are beginning to rise as we ease out of lockdown commensurate to the growth observed in recent pre-Covid times. There were nearly half as many more inheritance claims in the High Court last year compared to the previous year. People have been alerted in this regard due to a few proceedings that have been well publicised.

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ByMichael Morrison

Divorce – Don’t forget about the Pension

Company shares are often forgotten about when negotiating financial settlements to a divorce alongside the broader issue of pensions. This can obviously be a crucial income stream if only one party provided the family income. Pensions are usually divided equally. You need to re-institute legal proceedings if you forget this valuable asset!

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ByMichael Morrison

Brexit Does Not Frustrate a Commercial Lease

A recent High Court challenge by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to sever the commercial lease for its offices was won by its landlord the Canary Wharf Group. The EMA complained that its lease signed in 2014 for 25 years had been frustrated by Brexit which it contended was an unforeseen event. The value of the lease is £500m and the EMA intended to move to Amsterdam.

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ByMichael Morrison

Neighbour Dispute – £100,000 award + costs

Banging on the ceiling, screams of abuse, depression, 21 month vendetta, veiled threats, shouting, intimidating emails, distress, anxiety, reduced sale price, overgrown garden blocking light, tenants feeling petrified. If you are the victim of the aforementioned a civil harassment and nuisance damages claim may be appropriate at the county court.

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ByMichael Morrison

Commercial Solicitors Merge

Two international substantially commercial firms are likely to merge that if successful would create the largest listed firm of solicitors in the country. Further details will be divulged if and when it completes.

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ByMichael Morrison

Statutory Demands Court Orders Bankruptcy Insolvency

Statutory demands are usually issued as a strong arm tactic to obtain funds from someone as the fear of an impending bankruptcy petition usually works. The courts do not encourage their use as a means of enforcing a judgement. Today the debt has to be in excess of £5000 for a petition to be issued. The demand can be made on any of the available forms as this will not effect its validity. After the demands service, by a process server, 21 days have to be allowed to give the debtor time to either pay or negotiate a settlement to the satisfaction of the creditor. A petition for bankruptcy has to be served within 4 months of service of the demand. The debtor can if good reason exists apply to the court to set aside the demand within 18 days of it service. However if the sum demanded is that which has been ordered by a court to be payed to the creditor and the debtor has applied for permission to appeal in good time or an appeal is underway then:-

Rule 10.24(2) of the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016 provides:-

‘If the petition is brought in respect of a judgment debt, or a sum ordered by any court to be paid, the court may stay or dismiss the petition on the ground that an appeal is pending from the judgment or order, or that execution of the judgment has been stayed.’

This is an important defence and may be sufficient to deter even the most litigiously well resourced creditor. However it should be noted that the mere issuance of a bankruptcy petition by the court has the effect of a notification being sent by the court to the Chief Land Registrar who will make entries to the effect on any Land Registry entries that the alleged debtor may have (i.e. property ownership) which will also effect any charges e.g. by mortgagors that are registered. Therefore a bankruptcy does not have to be granted, when full restrictions will be notified to the Chief Land Registrar, for entries to be made to the register that may subsequently need to be removed.

 

 

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