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Dispute Resolution

John Wagstaffe
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Continuing our series of blogs addressing common questions relating to property disputes

John Wagstaffe
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Continuing our series of blogs addressing common questions relating to property disputes. 

Hayley Grantham
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The methodology for calculating the premium to be paid to the freeholder in exchange for an extension to the lease under the Leasehold Reform Housing Development Act 1993 was, until fairly recently, a simple calculation.  Recent changes mean that the valuation process is likely to become more complex and protracted, and it is therefore important that you obtain expert legal and valuation advice at an early stage.  

John Wagstaffe
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Continuing our series of blogs addressing common questions relating to property disputes. 

Hayley Grantham
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The new Pre-Action Protocol for debt claims comes into force on 1 October 2017, is your business ready?! 

John Wagstaffe
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In the first of a new series of blogs, we look at common questions regarding property disputes. ​

John Wiblin
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When you’re involved in a dispute, your business will benefit enormously from the advice of an experienced dispute resolution solicitor who has seen disputes of that kind before and who is very familiar with the process.  Businesses are keen to avoid cost and there is no doubt that professional services are costly.  Here are some suggestions for maximising the value you receive.  

Hayley Grantham
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Once neighbours become embroiled in a boundary or right of way dispute, it can get messy and expensive very quickly!  All too often, nothing short of a Court order will resolve the dispute.       

John Wiblin
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Have you heard the phrase ‘90% perspiration, 10% inspiration’?  It applies to many things in business and negotiating your next deal is no exception.  For some reason, many business people believe that skill in negotiation is down to natural personality, charm or ‘gift of the gab’. Those things can help but the fact is that negotiation skills can be learned.  A well prepared but inexperienced negotiator can achieve a better outcome than a more experienced counterpart who is ill prepared.   

John Wiblin
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Clients often ask this question.  The facts seem clear. The law seems clear. The other side have no case. But they carry on oblivious and all efforts to show them that they are on a hiding to nothing, fall on deaf ears.   And that can mean that a court case that should settle early drags on and costs more.

John Wiblin
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Generally, litigation – the process of taking a dispute through the court to a final judgment – is something that any business will want to avoid.  It can be as expensive as it is time consuming, and there are often much more efficient ways to resolve your dispute out of court. That is why alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration and mediation, is becoming increasingly popular for businesses.

John Wiblin
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A garage that had used the same branding as the AA’s breakdown and repair service on a number of company vehicles and online adverts has admitted infringing copyright laws.

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The recent case of Marks and Spencer v BNP Paribas has been of great interest to commercial landlords and tenants. The case involved a commercial lease granted for a fixed term (expiring in February 2018). The lease incorporated a break clause, and the tenant exercised its right to terminate the lease on 24 January 2012, having paid  in December 2011 the quarterly rent which fell due under the lease  for the period  25 December 2011 to 25 March 2012.

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John Wiblin
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Benjamin Franklin said “Time is money”.  Surely no-one who runs a successful business doubts that he was right.  Management time is the most valuable of all.  Few things suck the time of executives and business owners than disputes.  Worse still, disputes are emotionally burdensome to even the toughest and most experienced business people.  Some disputes are so serious that they can’t be ignored and must be dealt with at the highest level.  In those cases, a prompt resolution process is needed.

John Wiblin
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Disputes swallow up management time, cause stress and injure business relationships.  But few businesses that have traded for some time will have been able to avoid disputes altogether.   The next best thing is to resolve any dispute quickly and cost-effectively; mediation is a very effective method of doing that.

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From 1 February 2016, all private Landlords in England will have an obligation to check that new tenants have a “right to rent”.

The Immigration Act 2014 introduced a pilot scheme in the West Midlands whereby Landlords were obliged to check that prospective new tenants had the right to be in the country, before a tenancy could be offered to them. On 20 October 2015, the government announced that this obligation would be rolled out across the rest of England from next year.

Landlords and agents are therefore well advised to get up to speed with their forthcoming obligations under the legislation and they will need to be well aware of the penalties for non compliance.

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John Wagstaffe
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After centuries of hostilities between warring neighbours over precisely where the boundary fence should be, a (more or less) self-contained procedure for resolving those most common and often ruinous of disputes, without recourse to litigation or murder, may be in sight. 

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The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 implies repairing obligations on landlords in relation to the building containing leasehold interests. In Edwards v Kumarasmy [2015] the Court of Appeal has confirmed that these obligations, which apply to a lease with a term of less than 7 years, extend not only to freeholders but also to intermediate landlords. 

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In a long awaited ruling the court of appeal has increased the amount of money to be paid to a woman from her deceased mother’s estate. The deceased, Melita Jackson, had fallen out with her daughter, Heather Ilott, when Ilott had run off with her...
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The Supreme Court has recently delivered a decision that serves as a clear reminder of the importance of careful contract drafting. This applies to all contracts, whether for goods, services or even a lease for property. 

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John Wagstaffe
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Many landlords will have been through the process of taking possession proceedings to remove tenants from a property, often in circumstances where the tenants have stopped paying rent. The process requires landlords to obtain a possession order from the...
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A recent decision of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (‘the Tribunal’) should serve as a cautionary reminder to all landlords and agents to ensure compliance with section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 (‘the Act’). Section...
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The courts will not consider a landlord's application for possession of a property unless a valid notice has been served (or, in more unusual circumstances, where the court considers it just and equitable to dispense with the service of a...
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Having employees is nothing but trouble. You pay them handsomely and yet they are always off sick, and when they leave they have three months to take you to an employment tribunal. Employment tribunal proceedings are even worse than employees. They take...
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The courts will not consider a landlord’s application for possession of a property unless a valid notice has been served (or, in more unusual circumstances, where the court considers it just and equitable to dispense with the service of a...
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People often say that they are worried about using a solicitor, or they are scared about how much it is going to cost them. However the fact remains that when you’re involved in a legal matter you need a legal expert. Our aim is always to get the...
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John Wagstaffe
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Most landowners will be familiar with prescriptive easements, even if not with the terminology which describes rights which third parties acquire over land through long use of it. For instance, if A walks across B’s field regularly for 20 years then A...
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A new court fees regime comes into place from today, imposed under The Civil Proceedings and Family Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2015. Under this statutory instrument, the Government sees its controversial increase to court fees for money claims take...
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The without prejudice rule The without prejudice rule is quite a simple concept that has become horribly distorted.  When it is being used for its intended purpose it’s great, but when being misused it’s about as much use as a surfboard...
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Two helpful weapons in the war on unpaid invoices are the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 (as amended), and the Debt Collection Regulations 2013. These are really helpful pieces of legislation, and it is not often that you get to say...
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Tenancy deposit regulation was introduced by the Housing Act 2004, with a clear aim to provide a mechanism for the safeguarding of a tenant’s deposit. However, the good intentions of the legislation have become somewhat of a headache for landlords and...
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John Wiblin
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Is it reasonable ever to refuse an invitation to mediate a claim?   If one looks at the recent court decisions on this question, it is easy to conclude that the answer is ‘ almost never ’.  Courts are now placing greater...
John Wiblin
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This blog—the last in a series focussed on inhibitors to the settlement of disputes—explores confirmation bias: a leading reason why parties take losing cases to trial and a phenomenon that is widely recognised by psychologists. According to...
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The average length of a commercial lease has fallen in the last 10 years. The British Property Federation (BPF) has found that the average length for a commercial lease was 7.8 years in 2003 but only 5.8 years long in 2013. And less than 6% of commercial...
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When a business has lost money as a result of something unlawful that someone else has done, business people think about suing to recover the amount they have lost so that the loss can be made good. But what about preventing ongoing loss and future...
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Since April 2007, landlords have been under strict obligations to protect deposits received from tenants under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST). In particular, they must: - register the deposit with a deposit scheme within 30 days of receipt; - serve on...
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John Wiblin
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An injunction is a court order forcing the person, company or entity named in the order to do something (a “mandatory injunction”) or to stop doing something (a “prohibitory injunction”). Courts can make injunction orders that have...
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The eagerly anticipated decision in Marks and Spencer plc v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company (Jersey) Limited and another [2014] EWCA Civ 603 has arrived and the Court of Appeal has brought great relief for landlords, overturning the...
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Following the news that bailiffs are probably going to decrease in effectiveness after the government implemented new regulations, we will be taking a look at some of the other options that can be used to recover money owed to you. The first of these...
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From the 6th April 2014, Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) is the new enforcement procedure for landlords collecting rent arrears. Introduced under the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, CRAR is broadly similar to the now abolished remedy of...
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Exercising the break option in a commercial lease can be a minefield for tenants. The strict rule is that all requirements of the break clause should be met. Tenants often underestimate the need to comply strictly with the requirements of the clause and...
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A draft of the Private Rented Sector Code of Practice has been prepared by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and has been published for industry consultation. The Code of Practice has been prepared following the report of the Communities and...
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Until recently, the default method of enforcing a court judgement as been to instruct a county court bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to call on the debtor and seize their goods for subsequent sale at auction.  Since the introduction...
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John Wiblin
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This is the second in a series of blogs that consider how subjective assessments of cases can act as inhibitors to their settlement. Context matters. It provides a reference point for our assessment. This ‘framing effect’ can lead to a poor...
Anna Baptist
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If you are struggling to come to terms with an acrimonious marriage breakdown, the prospect of going to court to reach a financial settlement will probably be daunting and depressing in equal measure. Worse still, recent cuts in legal aid for family law...
John Wiblin
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This is the first of a series of blogs that consider how clients and solicitors’ subjective assessment of their cases may lead them to make the wrong decisions and result in cases not settling or taking longer to settle than should be the case. In a...
John Wiblin
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I have already blogged in the important recent decision of the Court of Appeal in PGF II SA and OMFS Company 1 Limited and explained why it is likely to increase the number of cases that go to mediation or another form of Alternative Dispute Resolution...
John Wiblin
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The Court of Appeal has determined that a litigant who ignores an invitation to take part in a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) will, as a general rule, be treated to have behaved unreasonably. The decision was handed down on 2 October 2013 in...
John Wiblin
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“Mediators: Fit For Purpose?” was the title of the 6th Mediation Symposium of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators held in London yesterday. During a packed program of keynote addresses, panel discussions, and training workshops most speakers...
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Those who employ agricultural workers will know that following the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board, from 1st October 2013 agricultural workers no longer benefit from certain minimum terms of employment set by the Agricultural Wages Order (AWO)....
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John Wiblin
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I can’t think of a less productive way to spend money than on a dispute with a business partner or customer. And yet, if you are in business, disputes of some kind or another are inevitable. Here are 3 common sense steps to keep unavoidable differences...
Richard  Gvero
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Hertford-based solicitors firm Longmores is advising employers of a new legal ruling which could have implications for the way in which they recruit staff, subject to a possible appeal by the government. The Court of Appeal ruled that a law requiring people...
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Hertford-based law firm Longmores are reminding employers of changes to compensation limits which take effect from 1 February. The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2012 will see a number of increases in the limits on certain employment tribunal...
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The recent case of ParkingEye v Somerfield Stores Limited has introduced the new concept of proportionality into the doctrine of illegality in the field of contract law. At common law, a defendant is able to avoid enforcement of a contract on the grounds...
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John Wiblin
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On 1 October a new court system was launched to deal with low value Intellectual Property ‘(IP’) law disputes. Small IP claims (currently up to a value of £5,000) will now be heard at the Patents Court.  The court will deal with...
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While the High Court has recently taken the step of allowing reporting from the courtroom via Twitter (most notably during Paul Chambers’ Twitter Joke Trial), strict new rules have been imposed on judges to prevent them from tweeting or blogging about...
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Ofcom has released a revised draft of its code on internet piracy, which is designed to target persistent infringers of copyright law. Copyright holders and ISPs will review incidents of copyright infringement.  Under the code, the ISPs will then be...
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The legal profession is often perceived to be behind the times, but the High Court has recently displayed a willingness to embrace modern technology by deciding that court proceedings can be served through Facebook.  This follows a decision that an...
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