Another One Bites the Dust

Judge Dight has more than doubled the amount that Queen guitarist Brian May can recover after he settled a private nuisance dispute, ruling that the costs judge at first instance had misapplied the new proportionality test under CPR 44.3(5). He stated that the costs should be increased from £25,000 to £75,000 after Master Rowley undervalued the sums in dispute and “gave too little weight to the complexity of the litigation”.

For more information see Litigation Futures.

ADR and Civil Justice

In response to the Civil Justice Council’s consultation “ADR and Civil Justice”, the City of London Law Society’s litigation committee outlines problems with the principles of mandating the use of mediation. It opposes compulsory mediation in any proceedings, arguing that mediation “is effective when the parties have voluntarily chosen to participate”. It also comments that more information could be provided to litigants in person about mediation.

For more information see the City of London Law Society.

Default County Court Judgments

A Ministry of Justice consultation seeks comments on the effectiveness and appropriateness of the current processes for money claims issued in the County Court, including limiting the circumstances in which an individual may have a county court judgment (CCJ) made in default against them without their knowledge. Proposals include striking a CCJ from the register immediately once unknown debts are resolved and a judge agrees the person was unaware and better protection for consumers who do not receive mail because it is sent to an old address. Comments by 21 February 2018.

For more details see the Default County Court Judgments consultation.

Measures to Improve Tenant Safety

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid has confirmed that the Government intends to support legislation that will help to ensure rented homes are give tenants the right to take legal action when landlords fail to exercise their duties.

Under a Private Members Bill, tenants will be able to take their landlords to court if they don’t ensure their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. In addition to the legislation, the Government plans to introduce a database of rogue landlords and property agents convicted of certain offences.

For more information click here to read the government’s press release.

Injunction Preventing Winding Up Petition

China Town Development Company Ltd v Liverpool City Council. The court granted an injunction preventing a city council from presenting a winding up petition as there was a genuine argument that a premium for two leases expressed as being GBP 2.5 million was to be apportioned between the two, and was arguably not all due on completion of the first lease.

For more information see the England and Wales High Court (Chancery Division) Decisions.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

In response to a consultation on houses in multiple occupation and residential property licensing reforms, the Department for Communities and Local Government states that, subject to parliamentary clearance, landlords renting properties in England occupied by five or more people, from two or more separate households will need to be licensed.

For more information see ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation and residential property licencing reforms‘ from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Unfair Practices in the Leasehold Market

In response to the consultation on tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market, the Department for Communities and Local Government sets out new measures, including a ban on leaseholds for almost all new build houses. Changes will also be made so that ground rents on new long leases – for both houses and flats – are set to zero and it will be made cheaper and easier for existing leaseholders to buy-out their freehold.

For more information see ‘Tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market‘ from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Deadline for Rent Review

Proxima GR Properties Ltd v Spencer (UT) – concerning the premiums payable for three new lease claims, in particular the amount payable in respect of ground rent where a rent review was due in 2005 but the new rent was not determined until 2016 – considers the legal effect of letters sent by the leaseholder in 2010 which set a deadline for the rent review, and whether they had made time of the essence for the rent review.

For more information see the UK Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).