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Property Law Journal: June 2016

Laura Nation examines the implications of the National Infrastructure Commission’s proposed planning rule changes

The National Infrastructure Commission (the NIC) was set up in 2015 by the Chancellor George Osborne to consider the UK’s strategic case for additional large-scale transport infrastructure in the capital. In a report published on 10 March 2016, ‘Transport for a World City’ (the report), the NIC recommended that Crossrail 2 be taken forwards by the government as a means of alleviating pressures on London Underground lines, commuter services at major Network Rail stations and insufficient orbital links. Further, given the predicted increase in London’s population to over ten million by 2030, an increase of 1.4 million over today, (see the ‘London Infrastructure Plan 2050: Transport Supporting Paper 2014’), Crossrail 2, and its ability to promote housing growth, is being hailed as an antidote to the chronic housing shortage in London and the surrounding areas.


Jamie McKie casts a critical eye over the latest expansion of permitted development rights

What are permitted development rights? Section 59(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 empowers the Secretary of State to make development orders granting deemed planning permission for certain development which would otherwise require express planning permission. The rights enshrined in such development orders are known as permitted development rights (PDRs). PDRs can be subject to specific conditions and limitations.

Roger Cohen summarises a series of cases which demonstrate the issues that can arise when a title is registered by fraud or error

The elevator pitch for the system of title by registration in England and Wales is compelling. Title comes with registration. The register is conclusive, or almost conclusive. If the register is wrong and an innocent person is prejudiced, the Land Registry will indemnify the loss. Simple and what could go wrong? The devil is in the detail, compounded by the history and the propensity of a minority to commit fraud. Three examples illustrate the problems that can arise: Malory Enterprises Ltd v Cheshire Homes (UK) Ltd [2002], Gold Harp Properties Ltd v MacLeod [2014] and Swift 1st Ltd v The Chief Land Registrar [2015].

In light of the recent consultation, Harriet Bastiani gives the pros and cons of the proposed privatisation of the Land Registry

In what many observers see as a controversial move, at the end of March 2016 the government announced a consultation on plans to move the operations of the Land Registry into the private sector from 2017. This forms part of the government’s wider aim of achieving £5bn of additional corporate and financial asset sales by March 2020, with the sale of the Land Registry clearly intended to provide an easy capital receipt for the government in its bid to reduce the deficit.

Forsters LLP

Littlestone v Macleish [2016] sheds light on whether landlords’ costs on dilapidation claims are recoverable on a standard or indemnity basis. Rosalind Cullis explains

The Court of Appeal decision in Littlestone v Macleish [2016] has attracted legal commentary, primarily because of the court’s findings regarding offers made pursuant to Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). Indeed, the majority of the judgment focuses on this issue. Of particular interest to property practitioners, however, will be the court’s interpretation of a clause frequently found in leases of commercial premises, which sets out the circumstances in which a landlord may recover its costs from a tenant. While only six paragraphs of the 43-paragraph judgment are concerned with this subject, such brevity should not detract from the significance of the issue at hand.

John Starr

John Starr investigates the use of mediation in construction disputes and debates its effect on individual access to justice

Mediation has evolved, over the decades since its arrival from the US in the 1970s, into a popular means of dispute resolution in the UK construction industry, particularly in low-value disputes. Its ‘popularity’ has been ‘encouraged’ by the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) through the use of cost sanctions.

In the first of two articles highlighting the key points of a case involving deliberate deceit by a surveyor, Jonathan Brooks explores the principles involved

Following the ‘boom and bust’ of the mid-noughties, the courts have seen many instances of over-inflated mortgage valuations giving rise to findings of professional negligence against surveyors. Pressure from sheer volume of instructions, too casual an approach to obtaining and critically assessing comparables, combined with over-reliance on, and misplaced optimism in, the continuance of a rising market, meant that some surveyors fell below the standard of care required of them and overvalued properties, often causing borrowers and mortgage lenders to suffer loss.