The tenant applied for a licence to assign. The landlord failed to reply, anticipating that delay would allow it to generate a better lease renewal.
Held: The delay was unreasonable and a breach of the landlord’s statutory duty, and was an act calculated for its own financial advantage. The court awarded exemplary damages. The award was appropriate in theis case. It fell within the categories set out in Rookes v Barnard.
The Honourable Mr Justice Peter Smith
Times 02-Mar-2004,  EWHC 324 (Ch), Gazette 25-Mar-2004,  1 WLR 1,  1 EGLR 121
England and Wales
Cited – International Drilling Fluids v Louisville Investments (Uxbridge) Ltd CA 20-Nov-1985
Consent to Assignment Unreasonably Withheld
The landlord had refused a proposed assignment of office premises from a tenant who had occupied the premises as its permanent offices, to a tenant who proposed to use the premises as serviced offices – that is, for short-term rent to others. The . .
Cited – Footwear Corporation Ltd v Amplight Properties Ltd ChD 1-Apr-1998
The plaintiff was tenant of premises under a lease granted by the defendant’s predecessor in title. He vacated the premises in July 1996, and on 17 November 1997 wrote asking the defendant for a licence to sublet them to a pet shop business. The . .
Cited – Norwich Union Life Insurance Society v Shopmoor Ltd ChD 1999
Shopmoor’s predecessors demised premises for 150 years at a yearly rent of andpound;100 on payment of a premium. A covenant provided that the tenant was not to assign or sublet without the landlord’s consent, not to be unreasonably withheld or . .
Cited – British Bakeries (Midlands) Ltd v Michael Testler ChD 1986
Peter Gibson J discussed the refusal of a landlord’s consent to an assignment: ‘In my judgment, where, as here, a refusal of consent to an assignment is based on a number of reasons, the fact that one of those reasons is bad will not normally render . .
Cited – Mount Eden Ltd v Folia Ltd and Prohibition London Ltd ChD 2003
Cited – Go West Ltd v Spigarolo and Another CA 31-Jan-2003
The tenant applied for a licence to assign the lease under section 1. The landlord refused consent, but the parties continued to negotiate. The tenant argued that the landlord’s continuation of negotiations showed the earlier counter-notice to have . .
Cited – Drane v Evangelou CA 1978
The court said of a claim that an award of andpound;1000 for exemplary damages was too high: ‘In my opinion a sum awarded by the way of exemplary damages is not to be weighed in any scales. It is a question for the judge, having heard all the . .
Cited – Rookes v Barnard (No 1) HL 21-Jan-1964
The court set down the conditions for the award of exemplary damages. There are two categories. The first is where there has been oppressive or arbitrary conduct by a defendant. Cases in the second category are those in which the defendant’s conduct . .
Cited – Cassell and Co Ltd v Broome and Another HL 23-Feb-1972
Exemplary Damages Award in Defamation
The plaintiff had been awarded damages for defamation. The defendants pleaded justification. Before the trial the plaintiff gave notice that he wanted additional, exemplary, damages. The trial judge said that such a claim had to have been pleaded. . .
Cited – HM Attorney General v Blake (Jonathan Cape Ltd third Party intervening) HL 3-Aug-2000
The author had written his book in breach of his duty of confidence. Having signed the Official Secrets Act, he accepted a contractual private law duty. After conviction as a spy, the publication of the book was in breach of the undertaking by not . .
Cited – Kuddus v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Constabulary HL 7-Jun-2001
There is no rule of law preventing the award of exemplary damages against police officers. The fact that no case of misfeasance in public office had led to such awards before 1964, did not prevent such an award now. Although damages are generally . .
Cited – Ramzan v Brookwide Ltd ChD 8-Oct-2010
The claimant owned a flying freehold room butting into the defendant’s property. Whilst the claimant’s property was unoccupied, the defendant broke through into the room, blocked off the door to the claimant’s property, and included the room in the . .
Cited – Ramzan v Brookwide Ltd CA 19-Aug-2011
The defendant had broken through into a neighbour’s flying freehold room, closed it off, and then included it in its own premises for let. It now appealed against the quantum of damages awarded. The judge had found the actions deliberate and with a . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 24 June 2021; Ref: scu.193902