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Mark Sefton KC appears for the successful Claimant in a case about the scope of the jurisdiction to grant relief from forfeiture.

On 1 December 2022, HHJ Klein (sitting as a High Court Judge) handed down judgment in Hush Brasseries Limited v. RLUKREF Nominees (UK) One Limited & Anor [2022] EWHC 3018 (Ch). The judgment examines the scope of the court’s jurisdiction to grant relief from forfeiture. Mark Sefton KC, instructed by Mark Reading and Ros Monk of Mishcon de Reya LLP, appeared for the successful Claimant.

The Claimant was the tenant under a lease dated 1 October 1999 of restaurant premises at 8 Lancashire Court, Mayfair, London W1. On 24 March 2011, the Claimant’s then landlord had granted the Claimant an option to call for a renewal of the lease when it came to an end in 2024. The option contained a termination provision that entitled the landlord to terminate the option if the Claimant fell into arrears of rent under the lease.

In 2020 and 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that resulted meant the Claimant fell into arrears of rent. The Claimant settled those arrears on 12 August 2021 but, in the meantime, the Defendants, who had been bringing forward plans to redevelop the site, had terminated the option in reliance on the rent arrears. They did not at the same time seek to forfeit the lease.

The Claimant brought proceedings against the Defendants seeking unconditional relief from forfeiture. The issue in the claim was whether the court had jurisdiction to grant relief. The Defendants argued that the court did not have jurisdiction, because the option did not create a proprietary interest, or because it did not create a sufficiently proprietary interest for the jurisdiction to grant relief to be engaged, or because the termination provision did not represent a security for the performance of the obligations in the lease. The judgment reviews the authorities on relief and examines the proposition that not all proprietary interests are sufficient to fall within the jurisdiction to grant relief. The court rejected the Defendant's arguments, and held that the jurisdiction to grant relief was engaged and that relief should be granted unconditionally.

Download the judgment here. 

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