Crosby v Alhambra Company Limited

Case Summary

 

Court:
 High Court
Status:
 Not Binding
Current Legislation:
 Party Wall etc Act 1996, s. 3, s. 20
Historic Legislation:
 London Building Act 1894
Facts:

Alhambra owned the freehold of the Alhambra Theatre in Leicester Square. Crosby owned a lease of 28 Leicester Square next door, who in turn let the property to London County Council.

Alhambra wanted to undertake works to the party wall. They served the required notice on the Council, who consented. The works started in October 1906. In November 1906 Crosby found out about the works and requested permission to inspect them. Alhambra refused. Crosby applied for an injunction stopping the works. Crosby argued that Alhambra had failed to comply with the 1894 Act in that Alhambra had not served notice on them.

Decision:

An injunction was granted. Building owners must serve notice on all owners of each separate leasehold and freehold.

However, where an individual leasehold or freehold was held by more than one person, notice may be served on only one of those joint owners.

Comment:

It is unclear whether building owners can still serve notices on only one joint owner. The Court relied on s. 5(32) of the 1894 Act which defined “adjoining owner” as “the owner or one of the owners”, whereas the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 omits the phrase “or one of the owners” from the definition of “adjoining owner” in s. 20.