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Commercial Disputes Weekly – Issue 11717 May 2022

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"Section 166(6)… allows the tenant to make a positive choice to receive notices at a different address…Section 196 (3)-(4) serve a different purpose."Obi-Exekpazu v Avon Ground Rents Limited and another

Landlord and tenant – notices
A landlord was entitled to rely on the proprietorship register and the recital in the lease for information as to the tenant’s address for service of ground rents. They were not taken to have the knowledge of their successor in title. However, where section 166 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 required that notices be addressed to the tenant at the dwelling unless the tenant has notified the landlord of a different address, a clause which incorporated section 196 of the Law of Property Act 1925 was not sufficient notice by the tenant that notices could be sent to the tenant’s last known place of abode. As a result, no proper notice of ground rent had been served, the ground rent was not payable and the landlord could not take enforcement action against the tenant.
Obi-Exekpazu v Avon Ground Rents Limited and another [2022] UKUT 121 (LC), 10 May 2022

Security for costs
Although exceptional, the Court ordered that a Russian trustee in bankruptcy provide security for the costs of her application for recognition in this jurisdiction, which had been remitted by the Court of Appeal for consideration of whether there had been fraud in obtaining the bankruptcy judgment in Russia. As well as satisfying the threshold conditions of residency outside the jurisdiction in a non-2005 Hague Convention State, the trustee had no assets in this jurisdiction. Further, there was a real risk of no enforcement in Russia, there may be sanctions issues with any payment of costs and there was no evidence that ordering security would stifle the trustee’s ability to participate in the proceedings.
Kireeva v Bedzhamov [2022] EWHC 1047 (Ch), 28 April 2022

Statutory interpretation
The meaning of ‘person discharging managerial responsibility’ (PDMR) in section 90A of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) has been held to include de jure, de facto and shadow directors. Section 90A was enacted following an EU directive but the drafters of FSMA had deliberately not adopted an autonomous concept of European law. The EU directive arose in a different context than section 90A and there was no reason not to give the term its natural legal sense under English law.
Allianz Global Investors GmbH v G4S Ltd [2022] EWHC 1081 (Ch), 10 May 2022

Landlord and tenant – rent payable
A dispute as to the effect of the surrender of a sub-lease on the rent payable under the lease of railway arches and buildings will go to trial. An application by Rail for London to have the defence struck out was refused. The defence was based on the use of estoppel by convention as a sword to create an enforceable right to receive rent where none had previously existed, rather than as a defensive shield. Such legal points were open to serious argument, the law in this area was uncertain and so needed to be dealt with properly at trial.
Rail for London Ltd v The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Hackney [2022] EWHC 1075 (Ch), 9 May 2022

Should you wish to discuss any of these cases in further detail, please speak with a member of our London dispute resolution team below, or your regular contact at Watson Farley & Williams:

Robert Fidoe
Rebecca Williams
Ryland AshCharles Buss
Dev DesaiSarah Ellington
Andrew HutcheonAlexis Martinez
Theresa MohammedTim Murray
Mike Phillips
Andrew Ward

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