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North West Investments Ltd v Soho 2 Collection Ltd - Central London County Court

Joe Ollech, instructed by Laura Southgate and Liberty Chappel at Pemberton Greenish, acted for the successful landlord in a reverse summary judgment application dismissing a claim for new 1954 Act Tenancy.  Despite there being an ostensible issue of fact as to whether or not the tenant was in occupation at lease end, the evidence already available demonstrated a pattern of sub-letting before and after the expiry of the term, and the court accepted that the inference that sub-leases had been in place at the term date was so strong that there was no real prospect of success on the claim or any other compelling reason why it should proceed.  For equal and opposite reasons, the court granted the landlord summary judgment on its own counterclaim for possession and mesne profits.

One procedural quirk in this case was that the tenant had compounded its difficulties by failing to file an acknowledgment of service or a defence to the counterclaim which relied on the same facts as the defence. As the counterclaim  included a claim for possession judgment in default was not available.  Summary judgment on the counterclaim was available, but in the absence of a formal response (the counterclaim standing as a claim of its own) permission of the court is needed to proceed under Part 24.  So this limb of the application had two parts – permission to seek summary judgment on the counterclaim,  and thereafter summary judgment.  Both those requests were granted, and judgment on the counterclaim entered. It is always worth making sure that the correct CPR stepping stones to the relief one seeks are in place.

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