Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Property Law Journal: December 2013/January 2014

Bryan Johnston assesses the price of failing to mediate following the Court of Appeal ruling in PGF

With Voltaire-esque flair, the Court of Appeal in PGF II SA v OMFS Company 1 Ltd [2013] summarily dispatched a tenant seeking to recover its legal costs following its own offer to settle being accepted, ‘pour encourager les autres ’.

Jon Dickins reviews a growing retail trend and the legal issues to be considered by all involved

Retail property has, over the last few years, been fighting a losing battle against the internet, with boarded-up high streets becoming a common sight across Britain.


Lisa Jamieson and Will Densham highlight the importance of choosing an expert witness with care

Expert witnesses often play a very important role in dispute resolution. Their opinion on an issue may be the most important part of a case. It is therefore vital for parties to a dispute to choose their expert witness wisely.

Forsters LLP

Natasha Rees considers a decision that highlights the importance of complying with correct procedures when seeking to recover service charges

The Upper Tribunal recently reached a decision, in an appeal, concerning the strictness with which contractual procedures for the recovery of service charges must be observed, and the degree of flexibility available to a landlord to deviate from those procedures, either deliberately or inadvertently. The decision in Southward LBC v Woelke [2013] highlights how important it is to heed to the terms of the lease when issuing and serving service charges demands. Service charges, which include sums for major works will not be recoverable unless they are demanded in accordance with the lease.

John Starr

John Starr discusses a case where a challenge to the adjudicator’s jurisdiction was held to have been made too late

Adjudication, as we know, is rough justice. The issues in dispute are often not fully analysed because the limited time available precludes detailed analysis. Parties will often bring up ‘new’ points in the course of the adjudication that arguably did not form part of the original dispute. When the winning party goes off to court to enforce the decision in its favour, the losing party may say that there has been some failure in the adjudication procedure, that means that the adjudicator’s decision is not a valid decision at all. In the case of ‘new’ points brought up by the winning party during the adjudication, the losing party might argue that, because they did not form part of the original dispute that was referred to adjudication, the adjudicator does not have jurisdiction to decide on them or to include them in the rationale for his decision.

Nathan Gopichandran investigates a custom with unforeseen consequences

The recent High Court case of Ullah v Ullah [2013] highlighted the long standing custom within some parts of the Asian community of the family property and business being held by various family members on trust for the head of the family, but without any formal expression of trust.

Can a landlord raise issues relating to the procedures followed by a Right to Manage company which has served a claim notice? Andrew Skelly looks at a recent ruling

The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 introduced a new ‘right to manage’ for qualifying leaseholders of flats, giving them the right to take over the management of their block via a ‘RTM company’. Before the RTM company may serve a claim notice on the landlord, exercising the right, it must first serve on all qualifying leaseholders who are not already members of the RTM company a ‘notice of invitation to participate’ (NITP).

Nabarro LLP

What happens when tenant acquires possession without the landlord realising? Rebecca Allwood examines a case involving a periodic tenancy

A land owner who failed to document a tenant’s occupation of land in writing was unsuccessful in defending a claim for adverse possession made by the tenant under the Limitation Act 1980 after it ceased to pay rent and remained in possession for a period of 12 years.