Henry & Henry v Adriatic Land 2 Ltd et al
Joseph Ollech appeared on behalf of the successful second and third respondents in this matter before the First Tier Tribunal. The application ostensibly concerned the reasonableness service charges over a number of years but it masked a much more substantial issue relating to a defective service charge mechanism on a new large scale development consisting of hundreds of premises. It therefore had significance as a test case on the estate in question.
The Tribunal accepted the second and third respondents’ arguments and rejected a literal interpretation of the service charge provision which appeared to restrict the landlord to recovery of a fractional percentage of its true costs, in favour of a purposive approach to interpretation in line with the principles to be derived from The Antaios, Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd v M&S Plc and Arnold v Britton. The Tribunal also endorsed the respondents’ alternative submissions based on estoppel by convention on the particular communications that had passed between the parties.
Whilst cases on construction and interpretation are case sensitive this decision and its reasoning is a useful example, and likely to be of particular interest to parties who may be concerned with a flawed contractual arrangements and ways of mitigating a potentially harsh outcome.
The judgment can be found here
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