Property litigation case studies
Englewood Properties v Patel
In a case dealing with the extent of a vendor's fiduciary duty towards the purchaser of a property, the Court confirmed that they were limited to taking reasonable care to preserve the property and not to prejudice the purchaser's interest and did not extend to the vendor having to impose covenants on purchasers of adjoining properties, unless contractually obliged to do so.
Quereshi v Circle Properties
The discharge of a Freezing Order relating to unpaid commission of over £1 million arising from the sale of a large property portfolio was at the heart of this matter. It dealt with the test for the Claimant needing to show that there was a good arguable case - which he was adjudged not to have in view of the fact that he had entered into an estate agency contract as an undischarged bankrupt, so making the contract illegal and therefore unenforceable.
Homebase Ltd v LSS Services
The Defendant entered into a licence for five months for the occupation of commercial premises. Upon the licence’s expiry they sought to renew but were refused consent by the Claimant’s landlord. The Defendant's case hinged on the fact that they had entered into an agreement with the Claimant that the licence fee would be suspended during the course of extensive improvements to the premises by the Defendant - an agreement that the Claimant denied. The Court confirmed that it retained power to give summary judgment (under CPR 24), even though doing so would involve the rejection of untested testimony given via a witness statement.
Luque-Franco v Telos Environmental Services
In a case involving a dispute over the transfer of company shares, this matter dealt with the practice and procedure of late applications to amend a Defence. In this instance it was allowed as it was deemed unlikely that such a late amendment would occasion any prejudice.
Bim Kemi AB v Blackburn Chemicals
In this, the first round in a long-running case involving two separate supply contracts worth £3 million, the rules regarding equitable set-off in respect of a claim for unliquidated damages were sought. The Court ruled that the test for equitable set-off was if there was a "close and inseparable connection" between the two claims which did not necessarily need to arise from the same contract - and granted the claim.
At a later point, the case also dealt with the rules regarding estoppel, issue estoppel and res judicata. The Court ruling enabled the Claimant to raise an issue in its defence to the Defendant's counterclaim, despite not having earlier directly pleaded to the same, on the basis that the Court had allowed both parties to argue the point at a later date. The matter therefore provided a useful summary of the rules regarding estoppel.
Aoun v Bahri
In a US$75 million partnership dispute, the Claimant was seeking an account in the partnership accounts from the two Defendants. The case concerned the law of an application for Security for Costs where a Claimant had changed his address since the start of the claim "with a view to evading the consequences of the litigation". The Defendants argued that the Claimant had previously resided overseas and moved back to England only in an effort to avoid an application for Security for Costs. The Court agreed with their argument and accordingly granted the Order.
A later development in the same case clarified the procedure upon non-compliance with Orders for Security for Costs and whether an appeal against the earlier Order for Security for Costs could proceed without security being provided. Although the Appellant was able to appeal, this was not successful and the Order remained in force. The Court did however rule that a stay on an action in the High Court had no effect on proceedings in the Court of Appeal.
Re: Blenheim Leisure (Restaurants)
A company holding a valuable lease in a well-known London nightclub was seeking to be restored to the Companies House Register. The company's landlord sought to prevent this move so as to enable it to forfeit the lease. In this landmark case dealing with the rules of restoration to the Companies House Register, the Court reversed the previous practice and rule that a third party whose rights would be affected by such a restoration should be allowed to intervene in the restoration application.
In a further case for the same client, Jeffrey Green Russell sought a ruling on the Court's practice of reconsidering interlocutory decisions. The Court ruled that it was undesirable both in terms of the interests of finality and of Court time for a judge to be asked to reconsider an earlier interlocutory decision. In this instance, it was sought that an earlier ruling to pay the sum of £180,000 in rent arrears as a condition of restoration to the Register should be varied. The Court declined to accept the variation and the original interlocutory decision was not changed.
A later matter sought to investigate whether or not the Court had power to impose such conditions. It ruled that it did and that the benefit of any conditions sought for the benefit of a particular party should be limited and not regarded as an opportunity to obtain benefits save in exceptional circumstances.