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Published by Steve Chinn, 2019-07-23 04:31:14

Legal Eye Autumn 2019

Legal Eye Newsletter Autumn 2019 page

Legaleye Legal news and views from ISSUE 4 AUTUMN 2019
your firms name

2 Taking blame out of divorce
Reduce family conflict

3 New driving laws for 2019
A few items to be aware of

4 Crackdown on fake website
reviews
A fine and prison sentence

cRbauignshinntoettsobsreteemfnuiassneucasyedAn interesting case is currently making A car being repaired
on private property
its way through the court system and was not ‘in use’

Previewmay have far reaching implications A stationary car that was being repaired
by its owner on private property
caught fire and the fire spread, causing
extensive damage to the property of a

for the landlord/tenant relationship in third party, was not in an accident that

relation to tenancy renewals; making it arose out of the “use” of the car. The

more difficult for a landlord to refuse the courts therefore determined that this

renewal of a tenancy. was not an accident that was covered

by the owner’s motor insurance policy

Business tenants currently have a qualified and nor did it come within the statutory

security of tenure in that upon the expiry of requirement for compulsory third-party
a tenancy, the tenant can apply to the court insurance.
for an order forcing the landlord to grant a

new tenancy. The court is required to make had no purpose other than to get rid of the The car owner’s car failed its MOT and he
that order unless the landlord supplies one of tenant. It was further accepted that the gained his employers permission to use their
seven grounds of opposition; one of which works would not be undertaken if the tenant loading bay to carry out work on the car in
is that the landlord intends to demolish or the hope that it would pass its MOT. While he
renovate the premises. was carrying out welding work, sparks ignited

In reality, in many cases landlords would not were to leave voluntarily. flammable material inside the car. The fire
even have to spend the money. They need spread to the employer’s premises and also
only supply the tenant with a schedule of In the event, the court concluded that the to the adjoining premises, causing substantial
works substantial and disruptive enough landlord could not oppose the grant of a damage. The employer’s property insurer paid
to be inconsistent with their continued new business tenancy on the ground that out more than £2 million in claims. The insurer
occupation. The tenant would recognise he intended to demolish or reconstruct the then made a claim to recoup their outlay
defeat and leave voluntarily. premises in question if the works that he said from the employee’s motor insurer.
that he intended to carry out had no purpose

In the current case, the tenant was not other than to get rid of the tenant and would However, because the employee was not
prepared to accept the position and took the not be undertaken if the tenant were to in his car when the incident occurred, as an
matter to court - at which point the landlord leave voluntarily. express term of his insurance policy required,
gave an undertaking to the court that they and because the 1988 Road Traffic Act did
would carry out the works if the court ruled The story is not over yet because the landlord not require third-party insurance cover in the
that the tenant should vacate the premises. was given leave to appeal this decision to the circumstances of the present accident, the
However, all parties accepted that the supreme court. court ruled that the motor insurance policy
proposed works had no practical utility and had no liability in connection with the fire.

Legaleye Legal news and views
from Company Name Solicitors  

Making it easier for leaseholders Drivers using the
to manage their properties Uber app are not taxis
‘plying for hire

The Law Commission is proposing changes that would make it quicker and In the ever developing legal clarification
easier for leaseholders to take control of the day-to-day management of of internet based taxi (or “ride sharing”)
their building. services, an Uber driver was recently
found not to be a taxi illegally plying for
hire.

The defendant in the case was parked in the
centre of Reading waiting for a passenger
to make a booking for his vehicle via the
Uber app. Two of the council’s taxi licensing
enforcement officers who were registered as
Uber passengers saw the outline of his vehicle
on their app, approached the vehicle and
Currently, homeowners of flats with long Extending the qualifying criteria so that
leasehold houses, not just flats, qualify
• leases can acquire the “right to manage” for the RTM.
Permitting multi-block RTM on estates
(RTM), which gives the homeowners, and removing the 25% commercial
rather than their landlord, responsibility for space restriction.
Introducing deadlines for procedures
• management functions relating to services, and exchanges of information between
the landlord and RTM company, so that
repairs, maintenance and insurance. It is a
“no-fault” right, so leaseholders can exercise

• it without having to prove mismanagement

Previewbytheirlandlord.However,thecurrent
system is seen by many as too technical, • the process doesn’t stall. interviewed the defendant. He said he was
slow, restrictive, uncertain and expensive. Exploring options for a more balanced waiting for a booking through the Uber app.

In response to these criticisms, the Law costs regime. The defendant was parked lawfully. He was
Commission is consulting on proposals that not waiting in a taxi stand, nor was he near
aim to make the process more accessible, The Law Commission released a Consultation a bus stop or stand. The car had no markings
simpler, quicker and less uncertain. The Paper on the 28th January 2019 containing indicating it was for hire, but it had two small
proposals include: the proposals for change and inviting the TfL (Transport for London) roundels, one in the
public to respond with their views. The back window and one on the front windscreen,
consultation will be open until the summer which were highly visible and which indicated it
of 2019. was licensed by TfL as a private hire vehicle.

New service for identifying The car was not advertising a number to
charitable bequests contact to hire it and was not available to
anyone hailing it on the street, but could only
be hired via the Uber app.

A new system alerting charities to when HMCTS will be working closely with Smee & Reading Council argued that, as the
they have been left money in wills is Ford in order to ensure that there is as little enforcement officers could see an icon of the
to be established by HM Courts and disruption as possible arising out of these car on their Uber app and that the defendant
Tribunals Service (HMCTS) following a changes over the six months’ notice period, was waiting to be hired, then the defendant
decision to end its current arrangement. and their views will be sought, based on their was plying for hire.
knowledge of the current service, about
The move follows a decision to end options for a new arrangement. The court ruled, however, that there was no
HMCTS’ current arrangement with Smee unlawful plying for hire in the present case.
& Ford, a private company, which has HMCTS stressed that the decision to end the His vehicle did not advertise itself as available
provided a paid-for notification service current arrangement is no reflection on the for hire nor did the driver do anything that
to participating charities for several years. service provided by Smee & Ford but comes would have suggested to the public that he
Whilst this arrangement with Smee & Ford as a result of an assessment of the legal was available for hire. If a member of the public
was established in good faith, HMCTS has position. had approached the vehicle and sought a ride,
since come to the conclusion that it is not the defendant would have refused to take
consistent with the department’s legal duties. such a passenger off the street without a prior
booking through the Uber app.

2

New driving laws

for 2019

There are a raft of new motoring laws
being enacted and a number of existing
laws for which enforcement is being
focused upon. To make sure that your
driving experience is as smooth as possible
over the coming months, here are a few
items to be aware of.

Learner drivers on motorways
People learning to drive can now drive on

motorways; albeit that this is only allowed if an

instructor is supervising the learner. However,

this is only optional - it isn’t compulsory for

learners to have lessons on motorway driving.

Taking blame out of divorce Smart motorways
Drivers on smart motorways cannot drive

through a red X sign; that is, they cannot

continue to drive in a lane - even if it is clear

- if the overhead gantry is showing a red X

Divorcing couples will no longer have to blame each other for the breakdown of their sign over the lane. Drivers doing this can be

marriage. fined £100. It is likely that roadside cameras

will be modified to record people making this

The Justice Secretary has announced a new include: infraction.

law to help reduce family conflict. The move Retaining the irretrievable breakdown Cyclists
follows a public consultation where family of a marriage as the sole ground for Drivers who don’t leave enough room when
divorce overtaking cyclists can now be fined £100.
• justice professionals and those with directReplacing the requirement to provide According to the Highway Code, you must
evidence of a ‘fact’ around behaviour or leave adequate room between the car and the
experience of divorce voiced their support separation with a requirement simply cyclist, which is about 1.5 metres or a door’s
for reform. New legislation will therefore to provide a statement of irretrievable width. The Highway Code also now permits
breakdown cyclists to ride (not more than) two abreast.
• soon be introduced to Parliament to update Creating the option of a joint application
for divorce, alongside retaining the Newly qualified drivers
our 50-year-old divorce law which has been option for one party to initiate the No new rules yet but tougher restrictions
shown to exacerbate conflict.

Current laws demand proof that a marriage

• has broken down irretrievably and force

Previewspousestoevidence‘unreasonable
behaviour’ or years of separation, even in • process on new drivers are being considered. At the
cases where a couple has made a mutual Removing the ability to contest a moment there are no specific restrictions on

decision to part ways. • divorce new drivers although drivers with under two
Introducing a minimum timeframe of years with a licence can lose their licence if they

Very few divorces are contested but this 6 months, from petition stage to final attract six penalty points. Actual restrictions

practice is known to be misused by abusers divorce (20 weeks from petition stage are, however, actively being considered for

choosing to contest a divorce purely to to decree nisi; 6 weeks from decree nisi new drivers; including a nighttime driving

continue their coercive and controlling to decree absolute). curfew, restrictions on carrying passengers and

behaviour. Proposals for changes to the law restrictions on the engine size/power output of

the cars they drive.

When is an Allotment not an Allotment?

According to the National Allotment Society: “An allotment is an area of land, leased
either from a private or local authority landlord, for the use of growing fruit and
vegetables.” But just how intensively do you need to work the land? Well, a judge has
decided that, down in Hastings on the South Coast, cultivating 13 fruit trees on a
250 square metre allotment with only grass in between them doesn’t meet the local
council’s rule that at least 75% of any allotment must be cultivated and the soil must
be planted with productive crops or other plants. As a result, the allotment holder, a
Mr Michael Rock, can be evicted.

The 75% rule was introduced to stop plot holders from neglecting their plots which otherwise
would be handed to others on the waiting list. Mr Rock told Hastings County Court, during an
appeal against an eviction notice, that he decided to stop growing vegetables and instead
planted 13 fruit trees. The judge dismissed the appeal and upheld the eviction notice, and, for good
measure, ordered Mr Rock to pay £750 in court costs. It is not immediately clear whether planting
other crops in between the trees would have satisfied the Council, or whether planting even more
fruit trees closer together would have done the trick.

Mr Rock has pledged to fight on, taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights if 3
necessary.

Legaleye Legal news and views
from Company Name Solicitors  

Crackdown on fake
website reviews

Up to a third of user reviews on
consumer websites are said to be fake.
However, a landmark fraud ruling in the
European courts has signaled a fight back
to regulate the honesty of reviews.

Whilst deliberately misleading consumers
through unfair or misleading marketing
can, and has, led to fines and the closure of
websites and rogue companies, a court in
Italy has, for the first time, jailed someone
for fraud in connection with paid-for user
reviews.

The owner of a marketing company, Promo

Salento, had been selling fake reviews on

the Trip Advisor website to hundreds of
hospitality businesses across Italy in order
to raise their profile on the website. €100
for ten positive reviews and €240 for thirty
positive reviews! The reviewer had contacted

No duty of care by thethousands of suppliers in Italy; some of whom

took him up on his offer and some of whom

landowner for adjacent roadscontacted Trip Advisor to let them know

about the scam. The reviewer was fined

Preview€8,000andsentencedtoninemonthsinjail.
In a key recent court ruling, it was found brought proceedings in negligence against the
that the owner of private land next to a defendant, who denied liability and alleged

road junction could not be held liable for contributory negligence.

a motor accident that occurred; where the The defendant contended that visibility
driver maintained that the vegetation on at the junction was severely restricted by
the private land had obscured his view. the presence of vegetation to his right,

in particular on a fenced-off parcel of

In effect, the ruling found that an owner land bordering the roads at the junction.

of land adjacent to a junction on a highway He commenced proceedings against the

does not owe a duty of care to road users landowners, alleging negligence and/or breach

to maintain vegetation they had caused or of statutory duty in relation to the state of

allowed to grow on their land so that its the vegetation and seeking a contribution in

height does not obstruct a vehicle driver’s respect of any liability he might be found to

view when approaching the junction. have to the claimant.

In the case, the claimant was cycling along a In the event, the court maintained the view
main road when he was in collision with a car that it would not be just, fair or reasonable to
driven by the defendant as it emerged from a find that the land owner had a duty of care in
minor road on the claimant’s left. The claimant circumstances of the kind found in the present
sustained serious injuries in the accident. He case.

Company Name Email: [email protected]
Address Line 1, City, County, Postcode www.company.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 1234 567 890
Fax: +44 (0) 1234 567 890
DX: 334 City/address UK

This newsletter has been prepared for general interest and it is important to obtain professional advice on specific issues. We believe the information contained in it to be correct at time of print. While all possible care is taken
in the preparation of this newsletter, no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of the material contained herein can be accepted by the firm, the authors or the publishers.

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