Jacey Property Company Limited v Miguel De Sousa and Another (2003)
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT
CENTRAL LONDON COUNTY COURT
(HIS HONOUR JUDGE FYSH QC)
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE PILL
LORD JUSTICE LAWS
LADY JUSTICE ARDEN
JACEY PROPERTY COMPANY LIMITED
- v -
1. MIGUEL DE SOUSA
2. PAULA ROSA PEREIRA DE SOUSA
MR DANIEL GATTY (instructed by Messrs Pittalis & Co , London, N12
8NP) appeared on behalf of
MR DUNCAN KYNOCH (instructed by Messrs W R Burrows & Son, Middlesex, HA3 0QB) appeared on
behalf of the Respondents
HTML VERSION OF JUDGMENT
(AS APPROVED BY THE COURT)
Crown Copyright ©
1. LORD JUSTICE PILL: I will ask Lady Justice Arden to give the first judgment.
2. LADY JUSTICE ARDEN: This is an appeal by the defendants in this
action against paragraphs 2 to 5
the order of His Honour Judge Fysh QC, sitting in the Central London County Court, dated
29 November 2002. By paragraphs 2 to 5 of his order, the judge ordered the appellant to pay the
respondent the sum of £25,399.80 by way of mesne profits up to and including 29 December 2002 and
continuing thereafter at a daily rate of £41.10. He gave judgment for the claimant in the sum of
£5,928.63 being the aggregate of the sums which he held were due in respect of legal costs and
repairs, together with interest at the rate specified in the lease. By his order the judge also ordered that
the appellants give possession of the property , the subject of the lease, namely the ground floor
lock up at 302 Wellworth Road, London SE17 ("the property "). The judge also dismissed the
3. The action was brought by the respondent as landlord of the property
. The respondent sought
possession on the basis that the appellants' user of the property was unauthorised, that they had
failed to pay a sum due in respect of repairs to drains of the property and were liable for legal fees
and interest, and that they were also liable for the arrears of rent of £15,000.
4. The lease of the property was executed on 16 May 1997. User is restricted
to use as a shop for
the appellants' business as a patisserie or such other use within class A1 of the Town and Country
Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, for which the landlord shall give consent not to be unreasonably
withheld or delayed. The appellants accept that their particular user of the patisserie was in breach of
this clause from about mid-1998, from which date they used the property for the sale of hot and
cold food to be eaten both on and off the premises. This was food which had been prepared on the
premises as opposed to food which had been brought in for re-heating on the premises.
5. The appellants' case was that the respondent was estopped from complaining
about the authorised
user, alternatively that there was a collateral agreement that the property would be used as a
restaurant of this kind. The judge found against the appellants on both those issues. The issue on
appeal arising out of the user of the property was whether the judge was wrong to reject the
appellants' case that the respondent had waived the user clause in so far as it precluded the appellant
from serving and preparing hot and cold food. It is necessary that I should set out the judge's findings
in relation to that matter and in relation to other matters with which he dealt.
6. The judge heard evidence from six witnesses: Mr Jack Cornbloom,
who represented the respondent
landlord; Mr Alfred Pearce; Mr Eric Dunning; the second appellant, Mrs De Sousa; her neighbour,
Mrs Barbara Cradduck and Mr Chris Faulkner. The judge found that Mr Jack Cornbloom was a
satisfactory witness "but only just so". He found that the second appellant, Mrs De Sousa, was not a
reliable witness. He held that the other witnesses were satisfactory and, in relation to Mr Pearce, he
expressed the view that he was a very fair witness whose word could be relied upon. In relation to his
assessment of Mrs Cradduck's evidence, the judge also commented that her evidence as to what was
on sale at the property has now become rather unimportant.
7. The judge found the following facts. By mid-1998 the appellants
were offering hot and cold food to be
eaten both on and off the premises. That food was prepared on the premises. By the summer of 1998
and unknown to Mr Cornbloom, the second appellant had installed an impressive commercial cooking
range in the kitchen at the rear of the premises for the preparation of food on the premises both for reheating
and hot from the oven. Such food included not only lasagne, pastas and risottos etc, which had
been previously brought in, but also cooked breakfasts. There was a drain from the kitchen sink which
ran out in the external drain opening in the outdoor back area of the property . The respondent's
case was that the cooking gave rise to grease which caused blockages in the drains.
8. The judge held that the in-house cooking facilities would have been
invisible, or at best only partially
visible, to customers in the public part of the premises and even to those making use of the lavatory
facilities at the rear of the premises. The respondent made frequent visits to the property . The
appellants' evidence was, therefore, that he was fully aware of the numerous breaches of the user
conditions in the lease and he did nothing, even though he knew of the unapproved and unenhanced
catering facilities that had been undertaken by them at the relevant time. It is said that he stood by
watching the appellants build up their business.
9. The judge held that the respondent's evidence, particularly that
of Mr Cornbloom, regarding ignorance
or innocence of what was going on in the public parts of the patisserie was "implausible". He held that it
was there to be seen and, in addition, there were signboards offering hot foods of various kinds. He
held that it was just possible that Mr Dunning, the respondent's agent, did not notice. However, the
judge accepted that, although Mr Cornbloom visited the lavatory during his visit, he did not notice the
in-house cooking facilities to the rear. The judge therefore accepted Mr Cornbloom's evidence on this
point. He further accepted that Mr Cornbloom only fully appreciated what the appellants were doing at
the cafe in January 2000. He held that on the evidence there was no question of Mr Cornbloom having
sanctioned the on-site cooking facilities, whatever else he may have turned a blind eye to. In the
judge's judgment that was the end of the estoppel issue.
10. There were also issues before the judge concerning the malfunction
of the common drains. The judge
held that from December 1999 the drains under the patisserie had given repeated and serious trouble
because of blockages. The respondent attempted to deal with them. Its case was that, under the terms
of the lease, the appellant should pay a proportion of what the respondent spent on trying to rectify the
11. The lease provided that the tenant agreed:
"To pay a proper and fair proportion as determined by the Landlords surveyor of the
expense of repairing renewing and rebuilding....
(iii) ...sewers and drains...
And the amount of any such proportion when ascertained as aforesaid shall become
payable by the Tenant to the Landlord ... within 14 days."
The lease further provided that:
"The Landlord will maintain and repair the remainder of the Building and the nearby
premises so as to provide support and shelter for the demised premises."
12. The lease also conferred on the tenant the right to use in common
with the landlord and all other
persons having the like right:
"...the common drains and sewers ... situate under the rear service area."
13. By clause 3 the landlord had the right to enter on the property
in order to:
"...construct ... cleanse ... inspect ... replace ... sewers drains ... causing as little
inconvenience or disturbance as possible and making good all damage caused to the
14. The landlord claimed a proportion of the works done to the drains
pursuant to clause 3(iii) of the lease.
There is no dispute as to the manner of apportionment, nor is it said that the building costs were
unreasonable. The only point taken by the appellants was that the determination was performed by the
respondent's solicitor acting in a surveying role and not by the landlord's surveyor as stipulated in the
lease. The judge held that that was factually correct. However, he rejected the appellants' case that
that relieved them of responsibility for paying for any sum under this part of the claim since precisely
such determination was a condition precedent to liability.
15. The judge gave the lease what he held to be a purposive construction.
He said that in his judgment the
phrase should be construed as meaning:
"an appropriately skilled person appointed by the landlord to act as a surveyor for this
16. No qualification was specified for the surveyor and he accepted
the submission that a departure from
the literal wording of the clause could be condoned if circumstances warranted it. He relied on the
passage from judgment of Mr David Blunt QC in Scottish Mutual v Jardine (unreported 12 March
1999). As regards legal fees and interest, it was common ground that the legal fees were not
unreasonable. The judge held they were payable with interest at the rate provided for in the lease in
the light of his findings.
17. The judge then turned to the appellants' counterclaim. There were
allegations of six breaches of the
repair obligations and a list of eight items of remedial work which the appellants contended had to be
undertaken and in respect of which they sought a mandatory injunction.
18. The first question relates to the true construction of clause 4(3)
of the lease, which I have already read.
This provides for the landlord to maintain and repair the property , other than the demised
premises, so as to provide "support and shelter" for the demised premises. On the question of the
construction of this clause the judge held that the covenant was limited in scope. The remainder of the
building, including the drains, and the landlord's obligations were not positive in the sense of their
general obligation of repair and maintenance, but limited simply to ensure that the remainder of the
building remained to provide support and shelter for the lock-up shop. However drains and sewers
could not provide support for the building unless the building was jeopardised by the collapse of the
drains. Accordingly, a blocked drain could not jeopardise the support, still less the shelter of the
premises on the ordinary meaning of those words.
19. The appellants argued before the judge that, if the repair covenant
did not cover the drains, there was
logically a gap in the repair obligation. Accordingly, the appellants contended that a purposive
construction had to be given to the repair covenant to avoid a construction which was uncommercial,
undesirable and unlikely because it would mean that nobody had a responsibility for repairing the
common drains. Moreover, the appellants had an obligation to keep their own drains in good order.
Accordingly, unless the common drains were likewise kept in good order, it would be impossible for the
appellants to fulfil their repairing obligations.
20. The judge preferred the respondent's case. The covenant to repair
was only activated if the state of
repair of the drains in some way undermined the structure of the building. The clause could not provide
any protection against a claim for damages for interruption or use. The judge accepted that if, on a fair
and purposive construction there was a possibility of closing the gap so that there was a complete code
so far as repair was concerned, the court would lean in that direction. He referred to Holding & Barnes
v Hill House Hammond  L&TR 428 at 434. However, that was not the situation in the present
case. The presence of a repair gap could not justify rewriting the term of the lease.
21. The judge accepted that there was no implied covenant on the part
of the landlord that the demised
premises are fit for occupation or that they are suitable for the purposes for the purposes for which they
are let or that the landlord will do any repairs. He referred to Southwark LBC v Tanner  3
WLR 939 at 951. The judge went on to consider whether the defects pleaded by the appellants
amounted to disrepair in law. In the light of my overall conclusion in this case it is not necessary for me
to set out the judge's reasoning in detail on that point.
22. The appellants appeal on seven points:
(1) The judge was wrong to reject their case that the respondent had waived the user clause insofar as
it precluded them from serving and preparing hot and cold food.
(2) The judge was wrong to hold that the claimant was entitled to forfeit the lease and for non payment
of a contribution to the repair of the drains.
(3) The judge was wrong to award the respondent legal costs claimed as a debt under the lease and
interest. That contention is dependent on the first two succeeding.
(4) The judge was wrong in law to find that the landlord's repairing clause did not encompass the
common drains to the building.
(5) The judge was wrong to find that the works to the drains identified as necessary by the joint experts
were not repairs in law because they address inherent defects or would be improvements. That issue
only arises if the appellants succeed on the fourth issue.
(6) The judge was wrong to find that the concreting over a manhole in the floor of the premises was
outside the repairing covenant.
(7) The judge was wrong to hold that lost income claimed during a closure of the business while the
respondent opened up the manhole could not be recovered as damages for disrepair.
Those last two issues are also dependent on the appellant succeeding on the fourth issue that the
judge was wrong in law to find that the landlord's repairing clause did not encompass the common
drains to the building.
23. On the first point, the appellants contend that the respondent
waived its rights under the user clause, or
was estopped from relying on the breaches, because Mr Cornbloom was aware of the full extent of
their user at all material times, and acquiesced by (a) accepting and demanding rent until May 2000;
(b) offering to extend the kitchen of the premises for an increased rent in order to facilitate their user;
and (c) offering encouragement to the appellants in their successful appeal against the initial refusal of
planning permission for the preparation of hot food on the premises. Although at the start of the trial the
landlord's case was that even certain foods which were being sold were outside the user clause, the
landlord's case was refined in final submissions at trial and on this appeal so what is in issue is the
cooking and preparation of hot food by conventional means. It is said by the landlord that that is
outside the clause.
24. Mr Daniel Gatty appears for the appellants. He has relied in his
skeleton argument on a number of
authorities such as Attorney General for Hong Kong v Fairfax  1 WLR 149 and Hepworth
v Pickles  1 Ch 108. The appellants contend that the judge ought to have found that
Mr Cornbloom knew that hot food was being prepared on the premises. In this regard he relies on the
(a) the second appellant's evidence that Mr Cornbloom encouraged their planning application for
permission to prepare hot food on the premises;
(b) Mr Cornbloom denied all knowledge of the planning application prior to the proceedings, but he
admitted in cross-examination that he had been told of the application by the second appellant though
he denied that she had told him that the appellants were appealing against the refusal;
(c) the appellants' evidence that Mr Cornbloom offered to extend the premises to house a larger
(d) the evidence of Mrs Cradduck (Mrs De Sousa's neighbour) that Mrs De Sousa had told her at the
time about Mr Cornbloom's offer to extend the kitchen of the premises; (e) Mr Cornbloom's admission
in oral evidence that he did offer to build the appellants an extension to the premises, which he said
was an extension to provide storage and office space.
(f) the respondent's failure to complain about the use made of the premises until May 2000, following a
dispute over the drains, notwithstanding that on Mr Cornbloom's evidence he was aware of such use
from at the latest January 2000;
(g) the respondent's complaints about user in a letter dated 25 May 2000, in the section 146 notice and
in the particulars of claim. None of these refer to the preparation of food but to the sale of hot and cold
food. The judge found that the respondent's denial of knowledge that hot food was being sold was
25. Mr Gatty submits that the judge should have made findings about
all these crucial issues. Having
rejected Mr Cornbloom's evidence on the question of the sale of hot food, the judge should also have
rejected his evidence about not knowing about the preparation of hot food. Mr Gatty relies on Lloyds
TSB plc v Hayward  EWCA Civ 1813, in which a failure to make a finding as to the date
when a document was created so undermined the lower court's findings as to what was orally agreed
at a meeting that a new trial was ordered.
26. For the respondent Mr Duncan Kynoch submits that this court should
not interfere with the findings of
the judge who saw the witnesses. He relies on a passage in Biogen Inc v Medeva plc  1
RPC at 45 per Lord Hoffmann. Mr Kynoch further submits that, as a matter of law to support an
estoppel, the appellants must show a clear promise by the respondent that it would not insist on its
strict rights under clause 3(14), the user clause (see Woodhouse AC Israel Cocoa SA v Nigerian
Produce Manufacturing Co  AC 741). He submits that that was not the case in the present
case. The appellants' case relies on the second appellant's evidence and the judge found the second
appellant to be an unreliable witness. Moreover, the acceptance of rent may affect remedies under the
doctrine of waiver by election, but does not amount to representation for the purposes of waiver by
estoppel. In addition, the appellants failed to show detrimental reliance which is necessary for waiver
by estoppel. Further, a substantive waiver of covenant would, on Mr Kynoch's submission, require
consideration or a deed. The period of the alleged acquiescence was too short to support the inference
that there had been any waiver by instrument under seal.
27. As far as waiver by election is concerned, Mr Kynoch submits that
this doctrine does not apply to
breaches of covenant which continue. A user clause is a covenant whose breach continues. On this
point the essence of the appellants' case is that the judge failed to deal with the evidence about
Mr Cornbloom encouraging the planning appeal and offering to extend the kitchen. It is said that his
failure to do so undermines his findings on waiver. It is said that in consequence this court should make
a finding in the appellants' favour; alternatively, this court should order a retrial.
28. There are three main items of evidence relied upon by the appellants.
The first is the evidence about
the planning appeal. The first element of this evidence is the evidence of Mrs De Sousa in her witness
statement paragraph 11:
"While it is true that we omitted to seek Mr Cornbloom's written consent to apply for
planning permission, we told him that we were applying for planning permission and that
we initially failed to obtain permission. He encouraged us to make an appeal against this
as he thought the refusal was wrong. He even advised us about possible alternations to
the premises like extending the kitchen and the store room."
29. I have only read an extract from that paragraph, but those are
the only particulars given in relation to
the encouragement which it is said Mr Cornbloom gave to the appeal against the initial planning
refusal. That matter was put to Mr Cornbloom. He denied that he knew that there was going to be an
appeal, although he accepted that he knew that an application had been made. His attitude was that
the appellants would have to come to him as landlord for him to approve either the application or the
change of user. I quote from one of his answers at page 12 of the transcript of day 1:
"Q. You were aware from conversation with Mrs De Sousa that she was applying for
planning permission for class A3 use [cafe or restaurant].
A. Let's put it this way. We didn't have a conversation about it, we didn't discuss it in
detail. She told me that she had been -- in fact what she actually said to me was that it
had been turned down. She put in for A3 planning use and it had been turned down. That
was the beginning and end of the subject.
Q. Is it your evidence that that was part of your discussion with Mrs De Sousa?
A. No, I didn't -- I had that in mind when she mentioned that she was going for A3
planning, I had in mind, okay, before she gets it, she's got to apply to me.
Q. Why did you not in your statement, mention the conversation with Mrs De Sousa
regarding planning applications?
A. I can't answer that. I mean, there's probably lots of things I didn't mention in it. I didn't-- -"
30. That is a summary of the evidence on that point. The second point
was that, as I have read from
Mrs De Sousa's evidence, Mr Cornbloom had offered to extend the kitchen and had said that, if that
happened, there would be extra rent. It was said that, as a result, he must have known that food
preparation was going to take place or was taking place in the kitchen.
31. There was also evidence from Mrs Cradduck who said:
"I recall soon after Mr and Mrs De Sousa started to sell hot food, Mrs De Sousa told me
that Mr Cornbloom had a discussion with them that he would pay for an extension to be
built at the back in order to extend the kitchen. In return he would want an extra £5,000 in
rent. Paula De Sousa asked me what I thought, and I advised that she should speak to
her accountant as to whether it was a viable proposition. I also recall that she told me that
when asking him about selling hot food, he had no objection."
32. The judge found that Mrs Cradduck's evidence as to the sale of
hot food was rather unimportant.
Mr Gatty relies on this as showing that the judge overlooked the conversation between Mrs Cradduck
and Mrs De Sousa and its importance in contradicting what Mr Cornbloom was saying about his
33. Finally, the further evidence on which Mr Gatty relied is a letter
of 25 May, the section 146 notice and
the particulars of claim. These are not freestanding points, but Mr Gatty draws attention to the point
that it was not the preparation and cooking of food on the premises to which Mr Cornbloom objected,
but the sale of hot food. As will be clear from what I have said, the sale of hot food heated in the
microwave was a matter which was within the user clause.
34. I come to my conclusions on this point. The crucial paragraphs
in the judgment are the paragraphs
contained in the judge's assessment of the witnesses (paragraphs 12 and 13 which I have
summarised) and paragraph 18 of his judgment; which reads as follows:
"I need not consider this user in any further detail for this reason: the de Sousas have
admitted breaches of the user conditions, but, as noted, rely on estoppel in answer to the
claimed consequences. My findings touching this estoppel are as follows: I regard as
implausible the evidence led by Jacey (principally that of Mr Cornbloom) regarding
ignorance (or innocence) of what was going on before his very eyes in the public parts of
the patisserie. Not only was it there to see but there were signboards offering hot food of
various kinds. It is, I suppose, just possible that Mr Dunning did not notice; he had no
interest in the matter and was a less frequent visitor I do however accept that though he
visited the lavatory during his visits, Mr Cornbloom did not notice the in-house cooking
facilities to the rear. That was what he said and I believe it. Mrs de Sousa suggested that
he must have noticed the commercial cooking range -- but why should he? It was not
directly before him on his way to the toilet but off to one side. It may even have been
obscured by a door or screen -- but my note of evidence is unclear on this. The toilets
were marked and the search for a toilet is usually undertaken with a single purpose in
mind. I also accept that Mr Cornbloom only fully appreciated what the de Sousas were
doing at the café in January 2002. On the evidence, there is no question of Mr Cornbloom
having seen still less sanctioned (see the next paragraph) the on-site cooking facilities --
whatever else he may have turned a blind eye to. And that in my judgment, is the end of
the post-lease estoppel issue."
35. Mr Gatty has informed us that in his written closing submissions
he referred to the elements of the
appellants' case, which he has contended that the judge failed to deal with so that they were before the
judge in writing when he came to write his judgment. Yet, in this paragraph, which is the kernel of his
judgment and contains his findings and his decision, there is no reference, for instance, to Mrs De
Sousa's case that the Mr Cornbloom encouraged her to appeal against the refusal of planning
permission or asked her to extend the kitchen. Those, together with the letters, make up, on Mr Gatty's
submissions, a case which undermines the judge's findings.
36. This court should not readily interfere with findings of fact by
a trial judge. The reasons for this have
been explained on many occasions, but I would cite in particular the paragraph from the speech of
Lord Hoffmann in Biogen Inc v Medeva Plc, referred to by Mr Kynoch in the respondent's skeleton
"The need for appellate caution in reversing the judge's evaluation of the facts is based
upon much more solid grounds than professional courtesy. It is because specific findings
of fact, even by the most meticulous judge are inherently an incomplete statement of the
impression which was made upon him by the primary evidence. His expressed findings
are always surrounded by a penumbra of imprecision as to emphasis, relative weight,
minor qualification and nuance of which time and language do not permit exact
expression, but which may play an important part in the judge's overall evaluation."
37. The reasons for not interfering with the judge are very much more
than that the judge heard the
witnesses and was able to form a view as to their credibility, but that there would have been more
complex reasoning than the judge is able to express in a judgment. The judge's findings on one point
are absolutely clear; that is that he preferred Mr Cornbloom's evidence to that of Mrs De Sousa. He
rejected Mr Cornbloom's evidence about his lack of knowledge of the sale of hot food, but that rejection
is not, in my judgment, inconsistent with his rejection of Mrs De Sousa's evidence on the points with
which he did not deal. There is therefore no necessary knock-on effect from his holding against
Mr Cornbloom on the knowledge of sale point on to the further point that he actually knew about the
preparation of food on the premises.
38. As to the evidence about the extension to the kitchen, when the
written statement of Mrs Cradduck is
examined it can be seen that she was giving evidence of a conversation between her and Mrs De
Sousa. She was not, therefore, present at the discussion between Mrs De Sousa and Mr Cornbloom.
In those circumstances, the judge was entitled to say that that did not carry matters much further.
39. Secondly, Mrs Cradduck was in any event not specific as to the
purpose of the extension of the
kitchen. It will be recalled that the respondent's case was that he did offer an extension of the kitchen
but that it was for an office or storage purpose, not for kitchen use. On that point also Mrs Cradduck's
evidence does not take the position substantially further.
40. On Mrs De Sousa's evidence about the extension to the kitchen,
the judge found her to be an
unreliable witness. Therefore it would have been inconsistent for the judge to have accepted her
evidence on that point.
41. As to the letters, the section 146 notice and the particulars of
claim, the issue taken was that the user
had become that of a café and was no longer that of a patisserie. That particular point was unanalytical
because it failed to identify what made the business a café rather than a patisserie, given that the
understanding between the parties all along was that the food could be microwaved at a patisserie.
Again, in my judgment, the letters, the section 146 notice and the particulars of claim do not take the
matter much further.
42. I find some assistance can be obtained from the judgment of the
Court of Appeal in English v
Emery Reimbold & Strick Ltd  1 WLR 2419 where the Court of Appeal considered the
adequacy of reasons. I need only read four paragraphs from the leading judgment of Lord Phillips, MR:
"17. As to the adequacy of reasons, as has been said many times,
this depends on the
nature of the case: see for example Flannery at page 382 In the Eagil Trust case, Griffiths
LJ stated that there was no duty on a Judge, in giving his reasons, to deal with every
argument presented by Counsel in support of his case:
'When dealing with an application in chambers to strike out for want of prosecution, a
judge should give his reasons in sufficient detail to show the Court of Appeal the
principles on which he has acted, and the reasons which led him to his decision. They
need not be elaborate. I cannot stress too strongly that there is no duty on a judge in
giving his reasons to deal with every argument presented by Counsel in support of his
case. It is sufficient if what he says shows the parties, and if need be the Court of Appeal
the basis on which he acted… (see Sachs LJ in Knight v Clifton  2 AER 378 at
392–393,  Ch. 700 at 721).' (p.122).
18. In our judgment, these observations of Griffiths LJ apply to judgments
descriptions. But when considering the extent to which reasons should be given it is
necessary to have regard to the practical requirements of our appellate system. A Judge
cannot be said to have done his duty if it is only after permission to appeal has been
given and the appeal has run its course that the court is able to conclude that the reasons
for the decision are sufficiently apparent to enable the appeal court to uphold the
judgment. An appeal is an expensive step in the judicial process and one that makes an
exacting claim on judicial resources. For these reasons permission to appeal is now a
nearly universal prerequisite to bringing an appeal. Permission to appeal will not normally
be given unless the applicant can make out an arguable case that the Judge was wrong.
If the judgment does not make it clear why the Judge has reached his decision, it may
well be impossible within the summary procedure of an application for permission to
appeal to form any view as to whether the Judge was right or wrong. In that event
permission to appeal may be given simply because justice requires that the decision be
subjected to the full scrutiny of an appeal.
19. It follows that, if the appellate process is to work satisfactorily,
the judgment must
enable the appellate court to understand why the Judge reached his decision. This does
not mean that every factor which weighed with the Judge in his appraisal of the evidence
has to be identified and explained. But the issues the resolution of which were vital to the
Judge's conclusion should be identified and the manner in which he resolved them
explained. It is not possible to provide a template for this process. It need not involve a
lengthy judgment. It does require the Judge to identify and record those matters which
were critical to his decision. If the critical issue was one of fact, in may be enough to say
that one witness was preferred to another because the one manifestly had a clearer
recollection of the material facts or the other gave answers which demonstrated that his
recollection could not be relied upon.
20. The first two appeals with which we are concerned involved conflicts
evidence. In Flannery Henry LJ quoted from the judgment of Bingham LJ in Eckersley
v Binnie (1988) 18 Con L.R. 1 at 77-8 in which he said that 'a coherent reasoned
opinion expressed by a suitably qualified expert should be the subject of a coherent
reasoned rebuttal'. This does not mean that the judgment should contain a passage
which suggests that the Judge has applied the same, or even a superior, degree of
expertise to that displayed by the witness. He should simply provide an explanation as to
why he has accepted the evidence of one expert and rejected that of another. It may be
that the evidence of one or the other accorded more satisfactorily with facts found by the
Judge. It may be that the explanation of one was more inherently credible than that of the
other. It may simply be that one was better qualified, or manifestly more objective, than
the other. Whatever the explanation may be, it should be apparent from the judgment.
21. When giving reasons a Judge will often need to refer to a piece
of evidence or to a
submission which he has accepted or rejected. Provided that the reference is clear, it
may be unnecessary to detail, or even summarise, the evidence or submission in
question. The essential requirement is that the terms of the judgment should enable the
parties and any appellate tribunal readily to analyse the reasoning that was essential to
the Judge's decision."
In that passage that the court explains that it is not necessary for a judge to set out every reason or to
deal with every question of fact, provided that the Appeal Court and the parties can understand his
43. In this case I do not consider that the appellants have shown a
sound basis for interfering with the
judge's findings. As I see it, the judge's omission to deal with the specific matters on which the
appellants rely on this appeal was not inconsistent with his other findings and with his assessment of
the witnesses. Accordingly, those omissions do not logically undermine his findings.
44. It was not suggested that the judge did not have sufficient opportunity
to make his assessment. Indeed,
he set out his assessment in some details at paragraphs 12 and 13 of his judgment. On this point, in
my judgment, the appeal fails. In argument I asked counsel whether, when judgment was handed
down, the judge's attention was drawn to the omissions. It is not necessary for me to pursue that point,
but I would refer to what this court said in Fawcett v Felix Inns, in Re T as well as in English v
Emery Reimbold & Strick at paragraphs 22 to 25.
45. I now turn to the second issue, as it appears in the Notice of
Appeal, which was argued before us. On
the second issue Mr Gatty submits that the sum was not ascertained by the landlord's surveyor. A
solicitor is neither qualified nor practices as a surveyor and therefore is not appropriately skilled, even
under the judge's definition, to act as a surveyor for the purposes of determining a fair and proper
contribution. It was not open to the judge to rewrite the clause. Scottish Mutual v Jardine, relied on
before the judge, is not, on Mr Gatty's submission, authority for the proposition that the court can ignore
a requirement that a service charge amount should be determined by a surveyor, but rather that the
court can substitute its judgment for the surveyor's determination if the latter is wrong.
46. Mr Gatty accepted that on the third issue the judge was wrong to
award the claimant legal costs
claimed as a debt under the lease and interest if he was able to succeed on both the first and second
47. For his part Mr Kynoch seeks to uphold the judge's judgment. He
submits in particular that the decision
in Scottish Mutual v Jardine is authority for the proposition that the determination of a fair
proportion by the landlord's surveyor under a similar clause is not a precondition to recovery. This is a
short point and I can set out my conclusions upon it.
48. I see no escape from the proposition that the parties have submitted
to the arbitrament of one person,
that is the landlord's surveyor, and that is one person only. It is not open to the landlord to substitute
another person, however well qualified in other respects, and even though he is appointed to act in a
surveying role. As I see it, that is outside the fair construction of the clause.
49. In Scottish Mutual v Jardine there was a clause requiring the tenant
to pay a fair proportion of
certain expenditure as determined by the landlord's surveyor. There was a provision for a certificate of
the landlord to be conclusive evidence as to that due proportion. In that case the judge held that the
terms of the lease could not prevent the court from reviewing the amount of expenditure for which the
tenant was liable. In addition the judge held that the absence of the determination by the landlord in
that event did not prevent the landlord from recovering the proportion of the expenditure which the
court determined the tenant should pay.
50. That case was very different. In this case the court makes no determination
of the due amount payable
by the tenant, whereas in Scottish Mutual the court made that determination. Moreover, it was not in
issue in that case that some person other than the landlord's surveyor or the court could make the
determination. That is the issue in the present case. As I see it, the machinery in the clause must be
followed. It is not a situation where it is impossible to use the machine for which the parties have clearly
51. I now turn to the fourth ground of appeal which concerns the true
construction of clause 4(3) of the
lease. On this Mr Gatty submits that the judge was wrong in his construction because it leaves a gap in
the repairing obligations of the parties. It leaves the appellant no right to carry out the necessary
repairs to the common drains, but no means either to require the landlord to do so. He submits that this
is a construction which the court should seek to avoid where possible. The judge was also wrong on
his submission to attribute to the words a limiting effect which they were not intended to have. The
judge's construction attributes too narrow a meaning to the word "support."
52. Mr Gatty submitted that the lease should be construed against the
landlord who submitted the draft
lease. Moreover, as the drains within the property depended on the common drains those drains
could be said to provide support for the premises. Support is used in the sense of "support services",
that is providing assistance from which something else is to function. In this connection Mr Gatty relies
on the Oxford English Dictionary definition of "support", which includes "the provision or availability of
services that enable something to fulfil its function or keep it operational". Mr Gatty also relies on the
fact that if this clause is construed, as he submits, there is no gap in the repairing clause and the
uncommercial result, to which I have already referred, is avoided.
53. Mr Kynoch submits that the true intent of clause 4(3) is that it
is to apply not to every defect in the
drains, but only to defects having certain limited consequences. The repairing covenant does not
ensure "support and shelter for the demised premises and the use and occupation thereof". On the
appellants' case practically any blockage of the common drains would adversely affect the ability of the
premises to function. On Mr Kynoch's submission the support in question is physical support. He relies
on the fact that the lease also grants an easement of support. He submits that clause 4(3) simply
provides a positive obligation to maintain support to complement the negative obligation not to
withdraw support in the easement of support. On that basis, the concept of support is consistent
throughout the lease. He accepts that as a result there is gap in the repairing obligations but submits
that the court should not strain to find ambiguities in the language in order to fill a gap (see Credit
Suisse v Beegas  1 EGLR at 85H). The court should not rewrite the covenants. The parties
have not wholly failed to deal with the drains altogether but imposed a limited obligation. It is common
ground between the parties that the position in law is that stated by Lindsay J in the case of Credit
Suisse v Beegas in this passage:
"Barrett [ v Lounova (1982) Ltd  1 QB 348] might assist a court in coming
to a business-like conclusion and in filling a gap where the language of a lease can fairly
be construed either to leave a gap or to fill it, but it cannot be authority for a proposition
that whenever one encounters what seems to be an unbusiness-like gap then the court is
able or obliged to fill it."
54. The principal matter on which Mr Gatty relies in his argument is
the wider meaning of "support" to be
found in the Oxford English Dictionary. For the purposes of clause 4(3) of the lease we must find the
true meaning of "support" by reference to the lease. The meaning of any word is bound to be
contextual. In the particular provision in question, in my judgment the more obvious meaning is that it
refers to physical support. It has received some support itself from page 31 of the lease, Part III
paragraph 1 of the Exceptions and Reservations to the Landlord, which provides for a right to
subjacent and lateral support for the nearby premises in the building from the demised premises, which
clearly refers, as I see it, to physical support.
55. In my judgment it would be straining the language too far to say
that it is sufficient that a further matter
can be included within the repairing covenant which indirectly lends support of a non-physical nature to
the demised premises. I appreciate that that appears to leave a gap in the repairing clause, but the
court cannot supplant and rewrite the terms of the parties' agreement. I appreciate also that the tenant
may find that he is unable to clear his own drains because of a blockage in the common drain. In those
circumstances he is likely to have other remedies against the landlord; likewise if the premises become
uninhabitable as a result of the blockage to the drains. All we are concerned with is the question of
clause 4(3) of the repairing covenant. We were invited to look at certain evidence of Mr Cornbloom's
subjective intention, but those matters were not admissible, and I understood Mr Gatty, on reflection, to
56. In my judgment the appellants fail on that issue. Therefore, the
further issues that arise on the
counterclaim do not arise. In the circumstances I would dismiss the appeal with the exception of the
claim for the contribution to expenses on which, for the reasons I have given, in my judgment the judge
was in error and that matter should not form part of the order against the appellants.
57. LORD JUSTICE LAWS: I concur in the result upon each of the points
in this appeal proposed by my
Lady for the reasons given by her. I add only that in granting permission to appeal last December, I
considered it arguable that the judge's failure to address those specific points that are enumerated in
paragraph 4.6 of Mr Gatty's skeleton, and elaborated by him before us, undermined the judge's
conclusions upon what has been called the estoppel point.
58. Having, in common with my Lord and my Lady, seen Mr Kynoch's skeleton
argument and been
referred to various passages in the transcript of evidence, I am quite satisfied that the judge was
entitled to conclude as he did upon that point and that a reasoned basis for his decision sufficiently
appears on the face of the judgment.
59. LORD JUSTICE PILL: I also agree.
Order: Appeal dismissed with the exception of the claim for the contribution for expenses
in the sum of £1,113.58 together with the part of the interest related to that in paragraph 3
of the judgment below.
Stay on order for possession to be removed. Possession in 14 days (14 March).
Costs summarily assessed in the sum of £6,000. The respondent will have 80 per cent of
his costs (80% of £6,000) in this court.
Costs order below revised to the extent that the respondent (claimant as he then was) will
have 80 per cent of his costs below.