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Property litigation and ADR.

The editor of this section of the site is Harriet Holmes barrister of Tanfield Chambers (www.tanfieldchambers.co.uk)

There are two cases this month:
  • A solicitor was negligent when advising on grant of lease but the breach of duty was inconsequential
  • A landlord was ordered to pay damages to tenants who had entered into a farm business tenancy in respect of misrepresentations about the state of the farm

Solicitors’ negligence

Commercial lease

Balogun v Boyes Sutton and Perry
[2017] EWCA Civ 75

Summary

The Court of Appeal held that a solicitor had breached his duty in failing to advise his client of a non-correspondence between the terms of a headlease and an underlease concerning the existence of a right to access and use a ventilation shaft. However, in the circumstances of the case, the breach of duty was inconsequential. Accordingly, the trial Court’s decision to dismiss the appellant’s claim was upheld and the appeal was dismissed.

Facts

In 2011 the appellant (C) instructed a partner at the respondent solicitors’ firm (S) in connection with his proposed acquisition of a 15-year commercial lease of a unit on the lower and upper ground floors of a building. S knew from the outset that C intended to fit out and run a restaurant at those premises.

The intended acquisition was of an underlease of the unit, which had planning permission for restaurant use. A purpose built ventilation shaft led from the ceiling of the ground floor and ran through the entire building to the roof of the second floor. The shaft was part of the design of the building. The unit was ready for a tenant fit-out following completion, and so C would have to carry out works.

Following completion of the transaction a dispute developed between C and the head landlord over the nature of the proposed works. In particular, the head landlord was concerned over the size of the chimney above the ventilation shaft which was proposed by C.

C sued his solicitors for damages for professional negligence and/or breach of contract. His primary claim was that S had fai ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

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