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Contract, Company and Commercial

Areas of practice include:

  • Contractual disputes.
  • Real Property.
  • Commercial
  • Company
  • Professional negligence, particularly relating to professional trustees, solicitors and surveyors.

 

Cases of interest:

Zuberi v. Lexlaw Ltd (2021) EWCA Civ 16

In this case, a contract of retainer was concluded between a solicitor’s firm and a client. This included a Damages Based Agreement (DBA) which entitled the firm to a percentage of any sum recovered and a clause requiring the client to pay costs and expenses in the event of early termination (‘the clause’).

The Court of Appeal ruled that the Damages Based Agreements Regulations 2013 do permit payment of such expenses to solicitors if the DBA is terminated early.

Accordingly, here the client did not succeed in her argument that the existence of the clause rendered the whole agreement unenforceable.

Judgment: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2021/16.html

 

Wilson v. Kinsella (2019) EWHC 1935

This concerned a dispute over a building contract. A builder and developer (the appellants) appealed against a decision which awarded homeowners a sum of money arising from the contract.

The first instance judge determined that the appellants, in refusing to do any further work without payment, had repudiated the contract.

Whilst the first instance judge could have set out more clearly the basis on which the appellant’s behaviour constituted a repudiation, the High Court found he had not gone wrong and the appeal did not succeed.

 

S&M Construction Ltd v Golfrate Property Management Ltd [2018] EWHC 2337 (TCC)

The court set aside a default judgment which had been granted against a building and contracting company (the claimant). They also applied for an extension of time to serve a defence.

The claimant was able to show that they had a reasonable prospect of defending a counterclaim which had been brought against it.

The court considered the principles which govern relief from sanctions. Though the claimant’s failure to file a defence had been both significant and serious, the default occurred due to a failure of its solicitor. Looking at all the circumstances of the case, there was a real prospect of the claimant successfully defending the counterclaim.

The default judgment was set aside.

 

Salekipour v Parmar [2017] EWCA Civ 2141

The principal issue in the appeal is whether the County Court has jurisdiction to set aside a final order made in other County Court proceedings and to order a new trial in those proceedings on the ground that an important witness gave perjured evidence under pressure from the successful party.

The claimants were tenants of the defendant. They had brought earlier county court proceedings to recover sums allegedly owed to them by the defendant.

This claim was dismissed. The claimants brought a fresh action, producing a witness statement which showed that one of the defendant’s witnesses were pressured to give perjured evidence. This was struck out. The application to set aside the strike out was also dismissed.

The High Court found that the county court was a creature of statute and that the County Courts Act 1984 s.23 did not empower it to set aside one of its own judgments obtained by fraud.

The claimants successfully appealed this decision in the Court of Appeal. A party's right to have a judgment set aside on the ground of fraud was a principle of equity, and proceedings for such relief were "proceedings for relief against fraud" within the meaning of the equity jurisdiction in s.23(g). There was no reason to limit the wording of s.23(g) to exclude such a claim.

Judgment: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2017/2141.html

 


Mark Jones

Call 1997


Adrian Davies

Call 1998


Ben Birtchnell

Call 2009


Elizabeth Wark

Call 2018

 

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