Have Your Say

 

In December 2017 the government put a stop to the sale of new leasehold houses in England. Ten months later, a consultation is finally taking place.

Leasehold Reform

The Government launched a new consultation on their plans for leasehold reform on Monday 15 October and will run for six weeks. 

The plan proposes that almost all new-build houses will in future have to be sold as freehold, and ground rents will be capped at just £10 a year.

This latest technical consultation will seek views on how to implement these reforms to the leasehold system and Estate Agents are among those specifically invited to comment.

This is a highly complex area and it is important that we get the detail right. If you have any thoughts on changes to be made, now is the time to get your views heard.  You can access the consultation here.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those selling new build and leasehold properties.

If you would like to speak to our team of specialist Property Solicitors to discuss your conveyancing needs, call us today on 0203 551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to tell us more about your case and arrange a callback.

House for Sale

 

Sellers and landlords should take care when providing replies to enquiries and ensure full disclosure is made as the buyer is likely to place reliance on it.

The case of First Tower Trustees Limited -v- CDS (Superstores International) Limited (2017) highlighted that it would be unreasonable for a seller to seek to exclude responsibility and liability by including (on replies to pre-contract enquiries) a non-reliance clause in the contract or lease.

The Court of Appeal confirmed that a buyer should be able to rely on pre-contract enquiries in conveyancing transactions. If a non-reliance clause overrides replies given to those enquiries, then they would become worthless.

Sellers should be reminded to be frank in completing their paperwork and when replying to queries raised of them and to ensure that if during the transaction there are changes to replies previously given, should be disclosed to the buyer.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including Sellers and Landlords who are trying to sell their properties.

Our team of specialist Property Solicitors are on hand to help you with any conveyancing transaction advice you may need.  Don't delay call our team today on 0203 551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to tell us more about your requirement and arrange a callback.

 

houses

 

The requirements leading to the serving of a section 21 notice changed on 1 October 2018 and apply to all assured shorthold tenancies from this date.

There are various pre-conditions to serving a section 21 notice under the new procedure.  A section 21 notice can not be served unless the landlord has provided the tenant with a valid EPC, Gas Safety Certificate and prescribed information by way of the Government’s How to Rent booklet before the tenancy begins.

The landlord must also comply with Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) legislation. The landlord must set up a TDP account to protect the deposit within 30 days of receipt of the money.

We Can Help

Section 21 notices and the ending of tenancy agreements can be much more complex than they first appear.

At MW Solicitors our specialist Landlord and Tenant Team are here to guide landlords through each step of the process.  Don't delay call us today on 0203 551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to tell us more about your requirement and arrange a callback.

NHS

 

On 10th October 2018 the Supreme Court unanimously upheld an appeal by the Claimant that a hospital, whose A&E reception staff told a patient he would have to wait up to five hours before receiving treatment for a head injury, was in breach of it’s duty of care.

The Case

The Claimant, Michael Mark Junior Darnley, who was then aged 26, was assaulted in the late afternoon of 17 May 2010. Later the same day he telephoned a friend and told him about the assault. He said that he felt unwell and had a headache which was getting worse. His friend advised him to seek medical attention and drove Mr Darnley to the Accident & Emergency department at Mayday Hospital (now known as Croydon University Hospital).

Mr Darnley gave an account of the incident to the A&E receptionist but the receptionist told him that he would need to take a seat and wait up to 4 or 5 hours before he could be seen.  The receptionist did not notify Mr Darnley that the hospital had a priority triage system and that patients with head injuries were fast tracked and would be triaged within 30 minutes.

As a result of this omission Mr Darney did not wait in A&E because he had started to feel very unwell; he asked his friend  after waiting 19 minutes to take him home where his condition worsened.  He was subsequently taken by ambulance back to Mayday hospital where he was diagnosed as having a serious head injury with bleeding on the brain. Mr Darnley was left with a permanent brain injury and severe paralysis to the left side of his body.

The Court in the first instance and at appeal ruled that the incorrect information being given by the receptionist did not amount to a breach  and the Court of Appeal held that:

  1. The Trust did not owe Mr Darnley a duty to advise him about waiting times,

  2. The damage he suffered was outside the scope of any duty that was owed to him, and

  3. There was no causal link between any breach and his injuries; he was told to wait, but chose to leave. 

Mr Darnley’s defeat sat very uncomfortably with many Clinical Negligence lawyers.

The Ruling

The Supreme Court overturned these decisions and Mr Darnley was successful in showing that the receptionist owed a duty of care and that the duty was breached.  Furthermore the chain of causation was not broken because it was foreseeable that Mr Darnley may have left A&E after being advised that he would have to wait in the region of 4 to 5 hours.

This decision came as welcome news to many, who had felt that Mr Darnley had been denied justice previously.   Of course he would rely on the information given to him at reception and it was easy to see that he would have stayed, considering he was feeling so unwell, if he knew that an assessment of his injury would take place within 30 minutes, merely 11 minutes after he left. 

The Supreme Court’s decision is undoubtedly the right decision; Mr Darnley should be compensated for his injuries and patients should be able to rely on information given to them by medical and non-medical staff.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have suffered at the hands of medical professionals. 

We are also experienced Brain Injury Solicitors who will arrange a specialist Brain Injury Case Manager to help plan and implement a rehabilitation package which can incorporate your health, psychological, educational or occupational needs.   We will work with medical, clinical and other experts to value your past and most importantly, future needs, such as personal and medical care, income, accommodation and transport.

Where possible we will secure interim payments to assist with day to day and rehabilitation needs throughout the course of your claim.

If you would like to speak to our team of specialist Clinical Negligence or Personal Injury Solicitors to discuss your case, call us today on 0203 551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to tell us more about your case and arrange a callback.

 

 

A promise was made. But is that enough?

For a proprietary estoppel claim, you must prove not only that promises were made, but that you, in reliance of these promises, acted to your detriment. The recent case of Gee v Gee and another [2018] EWHC 1393 (Ch) explores these familiar principles of a proprietary estoppel claim, but also brings up some further interesting points to consider. As this case shows, this is a claim that you do not have to only bring upon death, as the son brought this claim during his father’s lifetime.

The Background

This case involved a son successfully bringing a claim against his father and brother, as he was not transferred the land and company (the farming business) that he expected from the years of promises made by his father. The father owned the farming business and land together with his wife (who owned a minority interest). The land was owned by the father, mother and company in the respective shares of 7/18ths, 7/18ths and 4/18ths. The company consisted of 24,000 shares, all of which were held by the father except for one share being held by the mother. The father therefore held the controlling interest in the business and the land.

The claimant (JM) helped his father with the farming business for over 30 years, unlike his other brother (Robert) who only started to contribute since 2012. JM did receive a wage throughout the years that he contributed to the farming business, at a rate that was “equivalent to the minimum wage for an agricultural worker set by the Agricultural Wages Board”.

JM and his father had a difficult relationship, but as the Judge pointed out in this case, this indicates further that JM’s time and efforts spent farming were in reliance that he would have a majority interest in the business, and land. In 2014, the father transferred his entire assets into the name of his other son Robert, as opposed to JM. In an attempt to restore some balance to the situation regarding the transfer to Robert, JM’s mother transferred her minority entitlement to JM.
 
JM began a claim under proprietary estoppel and was claiming for a greater entitlement to that which he received.

The Result

The Judge commented that some of the representations were made indirectly by JM’s father to JM and this meant that JM could not reasonably rely on it. However, he did find instances in where such assurances were seriously and directly made to JM. The Judge then decided that detriment and reliance had also been established as JM had been working for long periods of time “without adequate compensation” and that JM “gave up the chance to better himself and work elsewhere”.  The Judge recognised the farming enterprise would not have been what it was today without JM’s input. The Judge decided that on the merits of this case, a claim of proprietary estoppel was made out.

Does the fact that the father wants to change his mind about where his assets go not matter at all? The answer is it will depend on the facts of the case. In this matter, the Judge found that for the father to retract from the representations he made, it would be “inequitable to do so”. 

The Judge interestingly pointed out that even though JM had received gifts from his parents in the past, that these were “given to him as a result of his status as a family member, not as compensation for time and effort spent farming”. The Judge found that even though it is relevant that JM’s mother transferred her share to JM, it was not enough to make up for the promises made by JM’s father.

When considering what remedy would be right to award, the Judge confirmed he would base this on expectations held by JM. However, he took into consideration that JM was aware that his father was “changing his mind about how the farm was to devolve” and that Robert had also started to contribute towards the business, which called for a reduction in what was to be given to JM.

The Judge decided that JM should return what he was given by his mother, and he should receive “52% of the shares [in the business] and 46% of the land” instead. A successful result for the claimant; JM gained a controlling interest in the business, which was at the heart of the matter.

The Judge did note that his approach would leave the “company in the hands of multiple shareholders” which could case further “trouble for the future” but he felt that this was “unavoidable”. A clean break was not awarded because the value of the land could increase dramatically in the years to come.

What About You?

Have you “positioned [your] life” around promises made to you? Have you relied on these assurances to your detriment? Or is somebody claiming that you have been making such promises to them?

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors, Our Mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" and we can provide a case review to examine the merits of your case.  We can help progress a claim or defend against one depending on the evidence provided.

Our Estate and Trust Disputes Team are waiting to take your call.  Don't delay, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or tell us about your case using our Contact Us page

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