In case you are in need of distraction from the heat/the tory leadership contest/getting your first, second or third bout of covid/the general state of all things, may I present a small collection of judgments at which to rubberneck. None seem massively important in legal terms, but I can promise at least two or three jaw drops per judgment, and you may find you have spent days down the rabbit holes.
First, Albert Court (Westminster) Management Company Ltd & Ors v Fetaimia & Anor (2022) EWHC 1657 (QB) in which a freehold management company successfully brings harassment proceedings against two leaseholders, and containing amongst many immortal moments, the point where a defendant on the witness stand first has to be told to leave her notebooks behind, and then ordered to clean more notes off the back of her hands. Also, starting your defence at trial by effectively admitting you hold an illicit recording of an earlier hearing is not to be recommended.
Second, there simply isn’t time to keep fully abreast of the Brake v Axnoller litigation in all its many, many manifestations. But here are some recent ‘highlights’ of what is truly the Gormenghast Triology, or Game of Thrones box set of litigation.
The possession claim for the big house – Axnoller Events Ltd v Brake & Anor (2022) EWHC 365 (Ch). The Brakes lost. Then the judgment on what a ‘forthwith’ possession order meant. The Brakes lost that too. And also the stay of eviction application.
The unlawful eviction claim for the cottage – Brake & Ors v The Chedington Court Estate Ltd (2022) EWHC 366 (Ch). The Brakes lost. (You may see a pattern emerging).
Indemnity costs against the Brakes. “I found that she was making up evidence as she went along, that she changed her story as she gave evidence, and told lies which were frankly childish. I did not believe her written and oral evidence that the assurances and promises which (unsupported by any clear documentary evidence amongst the multitude of files produced) she claimed had happened had actually taken place. This really was the case of a defence which could properly be described as “a web of lies”.”
And I haven’t even touched on the Court of Appeal on the ‘private documents that weren’t’ case. But anyway, the Brakes lost. Read on and read the many, many other judgments not listed here at your peril. I disclaim any liability. But it is not every day that landlord and tenant law involves the condition of stashed horse semen, that’s all I’m saying.
Thirdly, Mohammed Rasool, he of the fake illegal eviction claims for properties where he wasn’t a tenant, the banning order against acting as landlord or agent, and the first ASBi against a landlord to stop harassing his tenants, has been found to be in contempt of court in the fake illegal eviction claims and had a general civil restraint order made against him.
I have no doubt that all of the applications were dishonest to the knowledge of Mr Rasool, and that they evidence the actions of a thoroughly dishonest individual. The false statements, which Mr Rasool admits to having made, were sufficient in themselves to lead to the obvious conclusion that Mr Rasool is not an individual whose evidence has any credibility, at least in the absence of corroboration by clear and undisputed contemporaneous documentation or evidence from independent witnesses.”
Fourthly, and finally, there was solicitor and landlord Scott Halborg’s failed judicial review of Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council’s decision to issue him with a Community Protection Warning about his apparent conduct towards his tenants and their neighbours. Although not at issue in the JR, Mr Halborg makes some assertions about L&T and property law that are, well, dubious. For example about the landlord’s immediate right to a key for any lock the tenant has changed or added to the access ways to the property. Or whether someone can claim for nuisance that is alleged to affect a property that they don’t occupy and had in fact let to a tenant. There was also this remarkable judgment in another matter of Mr Halborg’s where he advanced 11 appellant’s notices with 24 appeals. Mr Halborg is apparently claiming against his parents and against their solicitors. Permission to appeal was given on some few grounds related to indemnity costs orders, but the General Civil Restraint Order survives. (We will re-encounter Mr Halborg in relation to a judgment of HHJ Backhouse on rights of audience for ‘solicitor’s agents’, when I get time to get to it.)
Don’t start any of these on a Wednesday morning, at least not unless you are on holiday….