Freetown Limited v Assethold Limited

Case Summary

 

Court:
 Court of Appeal
Status:
 Binding
Current Legislation:
 Party Walls etc Act 1996, s. 15, s. 10(17)
Facts:

Freetown owned the freehold of 12 Westport Street, London. Assethold held a long lease of the adjoining property at 14 Westport Street. Freehold wanted to undertake works to the party wall, and the relevent notices were served. On Friday 22 July 2011 the third surveyor made an award, and on that day or the day after (Saturday 23) he posted it to the parties.

Freetown appealed that award on 08 August 2011. Assethold argued that the 14 day time limit in section 10(17) of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 ran from the date the award was posted, which meant that the appeal had to have been issued on or before Thursday 4 or Friday 5 August 2011. As it was issued on 08 August was out of time.

The County Court and, on appeal, the High Court, found that the award was deemed served on the date that is was posted to the parties. Freetown appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Decision:

The deemed service provisions in s. 15 of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 were subject to section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978; specifically, that an award was deemed served when it would have been received in the ordinary course of post.

Comment:

One potential difficulty is demonstrating when the document was posted. The person sending it should obtain proof of posting from the Post Office when they are serving notices, awards or other documents, to avoid any difficulty in establishing that the date of service.

Full Text:
 [2012] EWCA Civ 1657