Category Archive London Solicitors

ByMichael Morrison

How to Win an Appeal

The Court of Appeal handed down a judgment on the 5th April 2022 which gave this guidance:-

i) An appeal court should not interfere with the trial judge’s conclusions on primary facts unless it is satisfied that he was plainly wrong.

ii) The adverb “plainly” does not refer to the degree of confidence felt by the appeal court that it would not have reached the same conclusion as the trial judge. It does not matter, with whatever degree of certainty, that the appeal court considers that it would have reached a different conclusion. What matters is whether the decision under appeal is one that no reasonable judge could have reached.

iii) An appeal court is bound, unless there is compelling reason to the contrary, to assume that the trial judge has taken the whole of the evidence into his consideration. The mere fact that a judge does not mention a specific piece of evidence does not mean that he overlooked it.

iv) The validity of the findings of fact made by a trial judge is not aptly tested by considering whether the judgment presents a balanced account of the evidence. The trial judge must of course consider all the material evidence (although it need not all be discussed in his judgment). The weight which he gives to it is however pre-eminently a matter for him.

v) An appeal court can therefore set aside a judgment on the basis that the judge failed to give the evidence a balanced consideration only if the judge’s conclusion was rationally insupportable.

vi) Reasons for judgment will always be capable of having been better expressed. An appeal court should not subject a judgment to narrow textual analysis. Nor should it be picked over or construed as though it was a piece of legislation or a contract.

An appellant’s case will fail if:-

i) It seeks to retry the case afresh.

ii) It rests on a selection of evidence rather than the whole of the evidence that the judge heard (what I have elsewhere called “island hopping”).

iii) It seeks to persuade an appeal court to form its own evaluation of the reliability of witness evidence when that is the quintessential function of the trial judge who has seen and heard the witnesses.

iv) It seeks to persuade the appeal court to reattribute weight to the different strands of evidence.

v) It concentrates on particular verbal expressions that the judge used rather than engaging with the substance of his findings.

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ByMichael Morrison

Property Prices Are Soaring

The residential property market is achieving price levels seen only once before since 2007. In London this was a 0.3% increase above the national average.

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ByMichael Morrison

Intellectual Property – Patents, Copyright and Designs and the European Union

Since Brexit solicitors have lost their right to appear before the European Intellectual Property Office. In practice our solicitors have strengthened their European connections and can act as agents if necessary.

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ByMichael Morrison

No Fault Divorce starts on the 6th April 2022

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will finally come into force on the 6th April 2022.

No Fault Divorce will:-

i) Ensure plain English is used e.g. applicant = petitioner, conditional order = decree nisi and final order = decree absolute
ii) Enable both parties to complete the application i.e. a joint application will now be available if desired
iii) A statement of irretrievable breakdown will replace one of the five conditions previously required
iv) Contesting the divorce will no longer be possible
v) Apply to the dissolution of civil partnerships.

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ByMichael Morrison

Data Protection – Cabinet Office fined £500,000

For releasing the full postal addresses on line of the recipients of New Year’s honours in 2020 the Cabinet Office has been fined £500,000.

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ByMichael Morrison

Landlord and Tenant – Commercial

Commercial tenants have been given a stay of execution by the Government on unpaid rent and evictions, that have accumulated during the pandemic, until March 2022. This has been instituted so that serious negotiations between the parties can now ensue to mitigate any credit damage that would be caused by court judgments.

In March a new arbitration process will commence in an attempt to provide closure for any stubborn organisations.

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ByMichael Morrison

Residential Conveyancing is Getting Busy in London

People returning to offices have started an avalanche of conveyancing transactions as they tire of the commute and its cost into London from the home counties and beyond where they have sought refuge during the pandemic and are buying properties in the metropolis once again. A significant rise in prices has been noticed recently.

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ByMichael Morrison

Get Divorced Online Now

Solicitors now have to process divorce applications on line which has reduced the time it takes from 15 months to 5 months. They are carried out through the MyHMCTS portal and have been successful whilst in its optional use phase as only 1% of applications have had to be referred back to solicitors for amendments as opposed to 30% for paper applications.

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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

Properties with the Freshest Air in Central London

If you’re buying a property in central London the air quality may be important to you. The postal areas from the highest to the lowest are:- W1K,SW1X,SW1W,SW1Y,SW1A,SW7,SW3,W1J,SW10,W8 and W1S.

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