June 2013 Archive

Guidelines to be published on lending to women

The Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association are to produce guidance for lenders to ensure they are not treating pregnant women or women on maternity unfairly when they apply for a mortgage. This follows a government review which found no evidence of actual discrimination by lenders, but nonetheless found a long-standing perception that banks discriminate against women, which could act as a deterrent for women in accessing finance from banks.

Scope of valuer’s duty on buy-to-let valuations

Scullion v Bank of Scotland Plc concerned valuers’ liability to buy to let investors. Valuers and their insurers have watched carefully as the case progressed from the High Court to the Court of Appeal and then to be heard in the Supreme Court. However, in a turn of events that may have left buy to let investors and lenders perplexed, Mr Scullion withdrew the appeal on the very morning that it was due to be heard in the Supreme Court.

Compensation from FSCS for negligent mortgage advice

In Emptage v Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) the FSCS was ordered by the court to reconsider the compensation payable following bad mortgage advice. The FSCS had argued they were not bound to compensate a borrower for investment advice on a foreign property, despite that advice being linked directly to regulated mortgage advice. At appeal in June the first court decision was confirmed. Extra funds are therefore available to repay the loan.

Can you prevent a witness from meeting with the other side?

An often quoted rule in litigation proceedings is “there is no property in a witness”. Put simply, just because one party to proceedings has taken a statement from a witness does not prevent the other party from also seeking to do so. In Versloot Dredging v HDI Gerling, the Commercial Court had to consider how this rule applied to a witness who had been engaged in a technical capacity by the defendant in relation to the claim.

How will a court look at issues of uncertainty in a contract?

Parties to a contract should always look to ensure that a contract is certain. If a contract is incomplete then it may well be found to be unenforceable. A mere agreement to agree is not binding. However, where the parties clearly intend to have created a binding agreement, the courts will be reluctant to find that the contract is unenforceable due to lack of certainty. The recent Court of Appeal decision in MRI Trading AG v Erdenet Mining Corporation (2013) shows the approach that is likely to be taken.
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