Annual Conference – Case Law Kaleidoscope


My brief this year (as in previous years) is to focus on the top 5 or so property law cases decided in the previous twelve months. It is fair to say that as regards significant property cases, the past year has been somewhat barren when compared with earlier years, so that the selection task has not been quite as hard as usual, although I have still omitted a fair number of cases that I might otherwise have included. Nonetheless, I hope that the following selection will be of general interest to property practitioners.

Break Clauses

BNP Paribas Securities Trust Co (Jersey) v Marks & Spencer  [2013] EWHC 1279 (Ch.) (Morgan J)

An office lease contained a tenant’s right to break on (so far as relevant) 24th January 2012 on giving at least six months’ notice. The break clause provided that the lease would only determine as a result of a notice if (i) on the break date there were no arrears of Basic Rent or VAT on Basic Rent, and (ii) on or prior to the break date, the tenant paid to the landlord £919,800 plus VAT. A break notice was served on 7th July 2011 to determine the term on 24th January 2012. On 25th December 2011 it paid the quarter’s Basic Rent due on that date in full. On 18th January 2012 it paid the sum of £919,800 plus VAT. The lease duly determined on 24th  January 2012. The tenant accepted that it had been liable to pay the December quarter’s rent in full, but argued that it was entitled to be repaid an apportioned part of the rent so paid (plus other sums) for the period from 25th January 2012 to 24th March 2012.

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Nicholas Dowding QC
Falcon Chambers