Contra Proferentem in Leases

May 3rd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

In Earl of Plymouth v Rees (2019) EWHC 1008 (Ch) the Court set out the interpretation principles applicable to a clause in a lease that reserved rights to the landlord, as follows:-

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April 9th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

In Francis v Vista Del Mar Developments Ltd (2019) UKPC 14 Lady Arden stated the issues for determination on the appeal to the Privy Council from the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal as follows:-

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Site Reverter

February 25th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

The School Sites Act 1841 (“the 1841 Act”) was passed in order to encourage and facilitate the provision of up to one acre of land for use as “a site for a school for the education of poor persons, or for the residence of the schoolmaster or schoolmistress, or otherwise for the purposes of the education of such poor persons in religious and useful knowledge”. In the majority of cases it was used to provide land for local Church of England elementary (or what we now call primary) schools. The purposes set out in the 1841 Act are charitable educational purposes all of which specify a particular use of the land conveyed. The grantor is entitled to select between the statutory purposes as the terms of the trust on which the land is conveyed and may even supplement or modify the statutory purposes with provisions of his own choosing. But, it is the statutory purposes specified in Section 2 of the 1841 Act which determine the duration of the grant. If the land ceases to be used for the statutory purposes selected in the conveyance then title to it reverts to the estate of the grantor. Read more »


Restrictive Covenants

November 29th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

In Alexander Devine Children’s Cancer Trust v Millgate Developments Limited (2018) EWCA Civ 2679 the Court of Appeal considered the modification of restrictive covenants pursuant to Section 84 of the Law of Property Act 1925.  The covenants in question prevented residential development on an area of open land. The modification applied for would allow such development. The Upper Tribunal had a discretion whether to modify the restrictive covenants or not. The Tribunal will not generally be inclined to reward parties who deliberately flout their legal obligations by deliberately breaching a restrictive covenant. Read more »


Village Greens

November 27th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

The Supreme Court has granted permission to appeal in conjoined cases R (Lancashire County Council) v SoS for DEFRA and R (NHS Property Services) v Surrey County Council on town and village greens, local authority owned land, and the important concept of “statutory incompatibility”.


Transfer of functions on merger

November 5th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

The Local Government (Boundary Changes) Regulations 2018, SI 2018/1128, provide that, when two or more councils come together through a merger to create a single, district council, there is a smooth transition, in practical terms, from the predecessor councils (the councils that will be abolished on the reorganisation date) to the successor council (the new council that is being created for the whole of the area). The Regulations provide for incidental, consequential, transitional and supplementary arrangements in consequence of any Orders made by the SoS under Section 10 of the Local Government etc Act 2007.


Village Green

October 8th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

The issue in TW Logistics Ltd v Essex County Council (2018) EWCA Civ 2172 was whether part of a working port had been properly registered as a town or village green (“TVG”). Barling J had held that it was. The Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appeal. A landowner is free, and indeed has the right, to continue in his previous commercial or other activities on the land after registration, so long as he does not interfere with the corresponding right of local inhabitants to continue in their use of it for recreation.



August 16th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

In R ( WX ) v Northamptonshire County Council ( 2018 ) EWHC 2178 ( Admin) Yip J ruled that the Council’s library closure decisions were unlawful. The grounds considered were the duties under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, with respect to consultation and the PSED, and under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 and Section 5A(1) of the Childcare Act 2006. Yip J said, at para 116, that the need to make savings was “ a legitimate, indeed, necessary driver”for further cuts, but it not relieve the Council’s duty to Act lawfully.


Asset of Community Value

May 30th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

In Banner Homes Ltd v St Albans City and District Council (2018) EWCA Civ 1187 a landowner appealed against the Council’s listing under Section 88 of the Localism Act 2011 (“the Act”) of its undeveloped land as a community asset. The land was situated in the metropolitan green belt. It was crossed by two public footpaths. It had been used for more than 40 years by the local community for peaceful and beneficial recreational activities.

The landowner had been well aware of the existing community use when it purchased the land in 1996. It had taken no steps to oppose the use since.

The 820 strong residents’ association made a community nomination for the land to be listed as an asset of community value. The Council acceded, listed the land, and notified the landowner. The landowner applied for an oral review. Read more »


Reverter of school site

March 13th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

Rittson-Thomas v Oxfordshire County Council (2018) EWHC 455 (Ch) concerned two grants of land under Section 2 of the School Sites Act 1841 (“the 1841 Act”). It gave rise to a question concerning the exercise of the power of sale contained in Section 14 of the 1841 Act. Although the operation of the 1841 Act has been amended by the Reverter of Sites Act 1987 (“the 1987 Act”), the 1841 Act remains in force, and has, it seems, generated a good deal of litigation. However, the question at the heart of this case had not previously fallen for determination. Read more »