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The Supreme Court has just allowed, unanimously, the appeal of SJ&J Monk against the decision of the Court of Appeal, reversing the decision of the Lands Chamber, which latter decision is now restored. The appeal concerned the extent of the state of deemed repair in which a hereditament is to be deemed to exist before the beginning of the hypothetical tenancy.

The VOA admitted in argument before the Court that they had abandoned the line on this which they had followed since the 1999 Act. The judgment will have to be studied, and the VOA Rating Manual rewritten yet again, but it seems that the dam holding back a lot of outstanding appeal cases has now been broken, and a large number will now be capable of resolution by discussion, I hope.

As a personal observation, I welcome this decision. The 1999 Bill was misconceived as to the state of repair, and this emerged only in the House of Lords, by which point there was no parliamentary time left to amend it. Accordingly, it was agreed that the Minister would give a speech in Committee, declaring what the intention of the legislature was, with the intention that it would be capable of production in litigation, using the Pepper -v- Hart principle. VOA and professional bodies all agreed the technical part of the text of the speech in draft, which was, in fact, written by me. How nice that five of the mightiest legal brains in the country agree, in substance, that I was right!

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Peter Scrafton IRRV (Hons) FCIArb MRSA (Hon) Solicitor (Non-Practising) and Accredited Mediator is a legal and valuation consultant and member of the IRRV Council.

©J.P. Scrafton, March, 2017

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