Legal headlines

Two court judgements have recently hit the legal headlines in the property world.  We reported on the first in our November, 2018 newsletter.  The second concerns an application for an injunction to prevent visitors to a viewing platform at the Tate looking into neighbouring flats.

Re Canary Wharf (BP4) TI Ltd and others v European Medicines Agency [2019] EWHC335 (Ch)

The judge found that, contrary to its submission, the fact that

(a) the EMA could not, after Brexit, legally take an interest in property outside the EU nor

(b) continue to hold a property interest in the UK after Brexit was not relevant.

It had acted within the meaning and effect of the European law when it took its lease.  The UK exiting the EU made no material difference.  Thus, the EMA lease was not frustrated by Brexit.

Re Fearn and others v The Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery [2019] EWHC 246 (Ch)

Re a potential breach of the residents’ human rights – neither The Tate nor its viewing platform is or is exercising functions of a public nature.  Hence, the human right legislation is irrelevant.

Turning to ‘nuisance’ – the judge considered the case law and concluded that nuisance is capable, in an appropriate case, of protecting the privacy of a home as against another landowner.  However, in looking at whether this was ‘an appropriate case’, he concluded it was not.  The flat owners had chosen to buy flats which “are impressive, and no doubt there are great advantages to be enjoyed in such extensive glassed views, but that in effect comes at a price in terms of privacy”.  Owners could take measures to protect their privacy (e.g. to install net curtains or blinds or ‘privacy film’) but that would reduce their view.  However, said the judge, the claimants were not seeking a legal right to a view – which “is not a right known to the law”.  He continued “They are saying they should not have to obstruct their view to protect themselves from an inwards intrusion by others.”  That is a different point but is the intrusion a nuisance?  The law of nuisance, said the judge, requires ‘give and take’ and looking at the overall balance which has to be achieved, the availability and reasonableness of the measures which the flat owners could take supports his views that the intrusion is not nuisance in this case.

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