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Property Law Journal: April 2015

Alexandra Anderson examines recent case law concerning a surveyor’s duty of care

Since the property crash in 2008, there have been various attempts made by claimants to develop and extend the duties owed by surveyors who were involved in surveying and valuing properties. In 2014, there were a number of significant decisions in which the courts restated the limits of the duties owed by surveyors, not just where a claim is brought against the surveyor’s company or firm, but also where the claim is made against the surveyor personally. In this article, we review some of those cases.

With an election looming and the political parties gearing up, Lisa Tye looks at what the main players are saying about planning and what we can expect on 8 May and beyond

The last 15 years have seen a number of significant legislative changes to the planning system in England, and the pace of change did not slow down under the coalition government. These changes, alongside more recent drastic cuts in public sector funding to address the country’s wider economic woes, have left local planning authorities (LPAs) feeling overworked and under-resourced, and as a consequence they are experiencing difficulties in fully implementing and seeing through the required changes.

Forsters LLP

Nikolas Ireland considers the importance of execution formalities on assignment in the context of a recent case

If there is one resounding lesson to be learnt from the recent Court of Appeal decision in Lankester & Son Ltd v Rennie [2014], it is the importance of complying with the proper formalities when assigning a lease. Even where a landlord, tenant and assignee appear to be proceeding on the basis that an assignment has been effected, it is vital to formalise this position through proper completion of the legal documentation.


Helena Davies and Pauline Lam explore the current state of the law on boundary disputes and look at the recent findings of a scoping study

Boundary disputes arise on all types of land, from development sites to edges of school playing fields, and from industrial sites to suburban back gardens. The latter location is famously where boundary disputes are most hard fought, and it is fair to say that these disputes can be less about the land (which may have negligible financial value) and more about the hostility that can arise between neighbours.

Serle Court

What is and what is not a consent under s3 of the Prescription Act 1832 can be a tricky question to answer, as Andrew Francis finds out

Section 3 of the Prescription Act 1832 reads as follows (my emphasis):

John Starr

John Starr reviews the courts’ stance on such challenges, and considers the case law

No one likes to lose, which is why so many awards and decisions are challenged. This column has, on several occasions, looked at challenges to the decisions of adjudicators appointed pursuant to the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. See, for example, ‘Enforceability of adjudicators’ decisions’ (PLJ329, p18). Most of those challenges have been unsuccessful, because, although the 1996 Act gives no guidance on the enforcement of, or challenge to, adjudicators’ decisions, the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) has decided (initially in the case of Macob Civil Engineering Ltd v Morrison Construction Ltd [1999] and consistently thereafter) that it must be taken to have been the will of Parliament that such decisions should be enforced. Few challenges have been successful, and then only where the adjudicator has lacked jurisdiction or there has been a serious breach of the rules of natural justice. Partly this can be explained by the fact that (as the TCC often reminds parties) adjudication produces a decision that is only temporarily binding, pending final resolution in court proceedings, in arbitration (if there is an arbitration clause in the construction contract) or by agreement.


Property fraud is on the up, and recent cases highlight the importance of vigilance by solicitors, especially when dealing with vulnerable clients. Jayne Elkins and Karen McGinley investigate

Property fraud is a hot topic and incidents of fraud are on the increase. Why is this? Arguably, it is largely as a result of a series of changes in Land Registry practice as the majority of property in England and Wales is registered land.

Antonia Murillo and Sara Wex outline the current status of community pubs

The government was urged to bring forward amendments to the General Permitted Development Order 1995 (GPDO) last July, so that any demolition or change of use involving the loss of a public house would require planning permission, by a cross-party MP motion (Early Day Motion 208, 2 July 2014, Charlotte Leslie). The remainder of 2014 did not see any proposals come forward, but a Commons select committee on community rights took evidence on the operation of ‘community rights’ over the course of 2014. Its remit was to investigate the progress made in allowing communities to use the powers, particularly under the Localism Act 2011 and Regulations, and to examine whether the legislation was operating effectively.