Case Summary


 Court of Appeal
 Not Binding
Current Legislation:
 Metropolitan Building Act 1855, s. 85
Historic Legislation:
 Party Wall etc. Act 1996, s. 7(2)

Jolliffe was the tenant of 17 Coronet Street, Hoxton. Woodhouse owned the freehold of 19 Coronet Street.

Woodhouse wanted to demolish and rebuild No. 17, but without demolishing the party wall with No. 19. However when he had demolished No. 17 he discovered that the party wall was of insufficient strength to support the new building. Woodhouse then served notice on Jolliffe claimed his right to demolish and rebuild. Surveyors were appointed, and an award was published.

The works to the wall took 7 months. Joliffe complained that this was too long, and issued proceedings for damages, alleging that because the work were so protracted Woodhouse had acted in breach of his duty under s. 85 of the 1855 Act not to cause unreasonable inconvenience.

Joliffe argued that he was not liable because, although there had been delays, he had employed competent architects and workmen and had delegated his duty to them.


The Court found that Jolliffe could not delegate his responsibility under s.85 to his contractors; it remained personal to Jolliffe.

The Court held that 7 months was too long, and so Jolliffe had breached his duty not to cause unreasonable inconvenience.

In the third party claim the Court found Benkert was liable under the award, notwithstanding that an account had not been served on him.