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Nicholas Taggart

Nicholas Taggart


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Real Property

Nic’s practice ranges over almost all aspects of real property work, both contentious and non-contentious. His experience including the following aspects of real property law: conveyancing disputes and includes:

  • Restrictive covenants (enforcement and applications for modification or discharge)
  • Easements, including rights of light and profits-á-prendre;
  • Trespass and adverse possession
  • The structuring of complex property transactions;
  • Riparian law;
  • Mining and gravel extraction;
  • Manorial rights and the effect of royal grants and charters
  • Rectification;
  • Misrepresentation claims;
  • Bona vacantia; and
  • The law relating to estate agency.

Interesting Cases include:

  • British Telecommunications plc v. Rail Safety and Standards Board Ltd. [2012] L&TR 35 (CA) - agreements for lease; specific performance.  An agreement for the grant of a sublease was made conditional upon the superior landlord’s consent being granted.  The agreement contained in an annex a form of deed to be executed by the superior landlord, mesne landlord and subtenant.  Relying on a long-stop date provision, the proposed subtenant rescinded the agreement at a time when all the parties had executed the deed in escrow, but the deed had not been completed.  The Court of Appeal held that, on the true construction of the agreement, the parties had stipulated that the superior landlord’s consent could only be validly given in one way, thereby avoiding the difficulties caused by informal consents, and that the proposed sub-tenant was accordingly entitled to rely on the long-stop provision.  Nic acted for the successful proposed subtenant.

  • Barton v. The Church Commissioners for England and Wales [2008] EWHC 3091 (Ch); [2008] PLSCS 354, (Morgan J) – easements and profits-á-prendre. The Court had to consider whether fishing rights could be acquired by prescription, through acts of ownership by the Bishops of Hereford, and their tenants, since 1759. The Church Commissioners successfully established an “unstinted right of piscary in gross”: before this, the last reported case where a claim of this nature succeeded was in 1863. The Court also considered the effects of certain royal grants and charters dating back to the 11th Century.

  • Re Cain’s Application [2009] UKUT 212 (LC), (Upper Tribunal, Lands Chamber) - modification of a restrictive covenant under the Law of Property Act 1925, section 84; meaning of “change in the character of the application land or the neighbourhood”; whether covenant to retain a building scheme secures practical benefits or substantial advantage to other beneficiaries of the covenant. 

  • RMC (UK) Ltd. v. Nahab [2002] PLSCS 20.6.02 (Neuberger J) - construction of option contract and grants of mines and minerals. The Court gave guidance on whether an option to extract minerals should be construed without hearing evidence as to the “matrix of fact” in which it was granted, and in particular what was the parties’ objective state of knowledge as to the nature of the minerals which might be extracted. 

  • Frogmore Developments Ltd. v. Shirayama Shokusan Co. [2000] 1 EGLR 121 (Neuberger J) – easements, rights of light. The Court had to address whether an express grant of a right to light in a lease had entitled the grantee a sufficient right to light; interaction between an express grant and a potentially inconsistent.

  • Re University of Westminster’s Application [1998] 3 All ER 1014; (1999) 78 P&CR 82 (CA) - modification of a restrictive covenant under the Law of Property Act 1925, section 84. The Court of Appeal reviewed the matters the Lands Tribunal can have regard to when exercising its discretion to modify or discharge a restrictive covenant. It also set out the appropriate notification procedure in cases where the number of properties with the benefit of the covenant was very large. The Court also considered whether the absence of any person claiming the benefit of the covenant should influence the decision to modify or discharge. 

  • Gan v. Wood [1998] EGCS 7.5.98 (CA) – proprietary estoppel. In order to found a proprietary estoppel, the detrimental reliance had to be proportionate to the consequences of the estoppel being asserted. So, expenditure of small sums maintaining a house in Mayfair let on a short lease was insufficient to support an alleged proprietary estoppel in respect of an oral promise to grant an option to grant a fresh lease. 

  • CIN Properties Ltd. v. Rawlins [1995] 2 EGLR 130; (1995) 69 P&CR (CA) – trespass; highways. The freeholder owner of a shopping centre owner had the right to revoke a licence to some, but not all members of the public for any reason it wished. This did not infringe the human rights of the excluded individuals, even though this was the primary retail location in the town. The freeholder also had the right to ban those persons from “walkways” created under the Highways Act 1980, if their conduct was not consistent with exercising a right to pass and re-pass, because that conduct exceeded their rights to use a highway and so was a trespass. 

  • Department of Transport v. Williams (1994) 138 SJLB 5; Times, December 7, 1993 (CA) - trespass and tort. The Department of Transport obtained an injunction to restrain protestors from interfering with the construction of a highway, the M3 at Twyford Down. The injunction was based on trespass in part, but also to restrain the tort of wrongful interference with the discharge of a lawful statutory duty. The Court of Appeal supported the Judge’s conclusion that the tort of wrongful interference with trade extended to bodies discharging statutory functions and upheld the practice of granting injunctions against persons identifiable only by photographs and code-names.