July 2012 Archive

Negligent solicitors in Kensington house purchase

Visions of Kensington garden squares bring the film Notting Hill to mind, but for these Americans who wanted a piece of London, the story did not end quite so well. On 30 May 2012 in Herrmann v Withers LLP the court found that solicitors had advised Mr and Mrs Herrmann negligently in failing to point out that there was no right to use the communal gardens of the “wonderful and magical” £6.8m house they were buying at 37 Ovington Square in Knightsbridge.

Could a claim be brought against a solicitor who fails to bring a claim in time?

An issue which often catches out businesses who are seeking to bring a claim is limitation. Limitation is the legal term for when a claim is out of time. If the applicable time period has elapsed, then a claimant will no longer be entitled to bring a claim, no matter how strong their case or how valuable the claim is. However, if solicitors have been instructed and have failed to bring the claim in time, then a professional negligence claim to recover the losses suffered will usually have strong prospects of success.

Employer held liable for Facebook harassment by its employees

The employment tribunal has held in the recent case of Otomewo v Carphone Warehouse Ltd that employers can be liable for the actions of its employees on social networking sites where they occur “in the course of their employment”. The claimant, Mr Otomewo, was a manager in a Carphone Warehouse shop. Two members of his staff took his phone without his permission (which was not on him at the time) and posted a status on his Facebook profile saying “Finally came out of the closet. I am gay and proud.” Mr Otomewo was not gay and his colleagues did not believe that he was gay.

Valuer found not liable - a free ride or a lucky escape?

A valuer has been found not liable to a lender because, despite his clear lack of care, even if he had done his job properly the valuation would have been the same. Also, the losses were said to have been overwhelmingly caused by the seller’s fraudulent scheme. This case is of concern to lenders, since the solicitors were thought to have been involved in the fraud, resulting in their insurance cover being declined, so there was no-one available to compensate for those failings. The only party who could offer redress was the valuer, but that professional negligence claim failed.

The dilapidations protocol

The dilapidations protocol is to establish a reasonable process and timetable for the exchange of information between the landlord and tenant to encourage the parties to agree an early settlement, or to support the efficient management of court proceedings where litigation cannot be avoided. Although in existence from spring 2002, as of 1 January 2012 the dilapidations protocol has now been formally adopted into the court rules.

Robinson v PE Jones Contractors Limited [2001] EWHC 102 TCC

Three issues arising from The Court of Appeal’s judgment in Robinson -v- P E Jones Contractors Limited are considered in this article: the roles and responsibilities of the professional designer and the designer builder; the significance and practicability of the complex structure theory and whether it still survives; and tortious liability as a creature of judicial or social policy.

Don't lose your tax planning morals

A division between what people consider to be morally acceptable and what the law states is legally correct when it comes to tax planning and the lengths some individuals, not just those in the public eye, will go to in order to pay less tax.

Tips for relocating your business

The devil’s in the detail where commercial property is concerned. Barry Sankey, consultant commercial property solicitor at Leamington-based Wright Hassall and Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce member, provides his tops tips to businesses who are looking to relocate to new premises. He said: “There are a lot of good deals available to businesses looking to rent or buy commercial property, though the saying; “if it looks to good to be true, it probably is” still applies.”

Protecting tenants – what are the courts doing?

Lenders will know that new legislation – the Mortgage Repossessions (Protection of Tenants) Act 2010 (‘the Act’) – was introduced in October 2010. The intention of the Act was to afford protection to people who had entered into tenancy agreements with the borrower, without the knowledge or permission of the lender. The protection is limited, but it does allow unauthorised tenants who have in all likelihood been paying their rent in good faith to their landlord, some time to find alternative accommodation.
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