How many bites at the cherry will the court allow? Discontinuance and dismissal
Discontinuance is governed by Part 38 of the Civil Procedure Rules. All that is required in most cases is for the claimant to file and serve a notice of discontinuance (although in certain circumstances the court’s permission is required). The general rule is that a claimant discontinuing its claim is liable to pay the other side’s costs although the court has discretion to make an order in different terms.
One of the key mischiefs which the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 was designed to address was stalking. However, in recent years the ambit of the Act has been drawn in ever wider terms by the court. Whilst at first glance it might appear that the Act only applies to conduct between private individuals, the court has made clear in recent cases that the Act also has implications in a commercial context. As it imposes both civil and criminal liability it is important that businesses are aware of the offences created by the Act and that steps are taken to avoid liability.
It seems hardly a week goes by without the court providing clarification on the meaning of settlement offers under Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules but the latest update is a change to the rule itself rather than a new interpretation by the court. The amendment applies in relation to offers to settle made on or after 1 October 2011 and has the effect of overturning the Court of Appeal decision in Carver v BAA  which has since caused some confusion.
Comply with statutory obligations or risk losing your commission
In the case of The Great Estates Group Limited (“GEG”) v Michael John Digby  GEG entered a sole agency agreement with Mr Digby for the sale of his property. The property was sold within the period of the sole agency agreement but through another agency. GEG issued proceedings to recover damages for its lost commission (amounting to nearly £60,000) but the court found both at first instance and on appeal that GEG was not in fact entitled to its commission.
Gone are the days when insurance brokers could simply pass information between insurer and their insured assuming little responsibility for the accuracy of that information. Over the last decade the duties placed on insurance brokers have developed and expanded so that, more than ever, it pays for those seeking insurance for their businesses to be familiar with the duties placed on insurance brokers particularly in circumstances where a claim is rejected by the insurer.
A recent Court of Appeal decision will be good news for surveyors. The question before the court was whether a valuer owed a duty of care to the purchaser of a buy–to-let property which had been negligently valued.
Sellers beware: instructing multiple agents can lead to more than one commission payment
Seller liability to pay more than one commission (where multiple agents are instructed) is ambiguous and often leads to litigation, as demonstrated in the recent case between Glentree Estates Limited v Holbeton Limited (2011).
It is said that an Englishman is at liberty on his death to dispose of his property in whatever way he pleases. However, this is subject to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 which allows for relatives and dependants to challenge a will if no (or inadequate) provision has been made for them under the will.
Your secret is safe with me...or is it? A brief guide to Norwich Pharmacal orders
In recent years there has been a proliferation of websites which allow individuals to comment freely and, in many cases, anonymously on all manner of issues. In recent weeks the use of such websites has come under much media scrutiny. Whilst many welcome the freedom of speech that the internet can offer, what happens when those comments go beyond what might be considered to be acceptable and stray into the realms of defamation and harassment?