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Court of Appeal decides that completion notice had not been properly served by billing authority

DATE: 15 Jun 2017

The Court of Appeal (Gloster LJ (Vice President), Macur LJ and King LJ) has reversed the decision of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in UKI (Kingsway) Limited v Westminster City Council [2017] EWCA Civ 430 allowing the ratepayer’s appeal.

The Court of Appeal decided that the billing authority had not properly served a completion notice addressed to "the owner" which had been left at the premises with the receptionist (an employee of the facilities management company, who was an unauthorised agent) and which had found its way to the owner in electronic form.

The Court of Appeal overturned the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber)’s reasoning that service in this context was satisfied by the indirect transmission of information such that what mattered was the eventual receipt by the owner.

The Court of Appeal also indicated that were minded to accept the ratepayer’s argument that the electronic receipt was insufficient (para 54) but considered it unnecessary to express a concluded view on that point.

The decision highlights the importance that billing authorities serve completion notices properly in order to enter new buildings in the rating list on the basis of a deemed completion date under s.46A and schedule 4A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

Dan Kolinsky QC represented the successful Appellant, UKI (Kingsway) Limited.  

Click here for the judgment