Legal wrangles at the High Court over valuable land in trendy Borough Market, a south London restaurant that never served a meal and an IT agreement that crashed. Plus our Brussels update

Stoney Street vs Roythorne & Co
Property developer Stoney Street Developments is suing solicitor Roythorne & Co after accusing the firm of negligence.

Stoney Street claims the Spalding, Lincolnshire, law firm failed to analyse properly the legal position, leading to losses of more than £100,000. The case centres on a long lease of a car park site in Southwark, south London, which the firm planned to redevelop.

Stoney Street was to pay the vendors, the trustees of the Borough Market (Southwark), an overage payment if it was able to carry out certain redevelopment on the site.

In September 2002 the vendors’ solicitors sent a draft deed of release allowing Stoney Street to be released from the overage agreement if it paid £355,000.

But it is claimed this agreement was never executed, and Stoney Street remained liable to pay the overage payment. It says that if Roythorne had not acted negligently, the company would have entered into a binding agreement with the vendors and overage would have been fixed. It says its losses are £106,474.

McEwen vs Flair Construction Ltd
Victor McEwen is demanding damages of £100,000 after claiming he was falsely told that premises in Brixton Road, south London, was ready to trade and had planning consent as a restaurant.

He alleges that Flair Construction (UK) Ltd did not own the property, as claimed, and there was no effective planning consent as a restaurant, and the premises needed substantial work.

McEwen, who has taken over the claims of Lime’In Ltd under an agreement with the company’s liquidator, is seeking damages for misrepresentation, limited to £100,000 or damages for deceit and damages for breach of the agreement.

Sovereign vs Gallions Housing Association
Social landlord Gallions Housing Association, which has 5000 residential units and 60 shops in the Thamesmead area of London, is facing a £1.2m legal battle with an IT company.

Sovereign Business Integration plc claims that Gallions, which took over the Thamesmead council estate, has breached an IT agreement.

Now Sovereign, of Cockfosters in Barnet, north London, argues that Gallions is in repudiatory breach of agreement.

Sovereign agreed to provide IT services to Gallions in October 2001, but Gallions wrote giving notice of termination on 26 August 2004.

Sovereign has suffered losses and is seeking payment of the money to which it would have been entitled if it had been given 12 months’ notice, which totals £1,220,040.88.

Sovereign is also seeking £25,829, which it claims Gallions had earlier failed to pay and £5250 VAT due on a payment of £30,000 under a handover agreement following termination of the agreement.

EU watch

Tony Blair has a busy summer ahead: taking on the G8 and EU presidency at a time when a number of issues of specific importance to the UK are coming to a head.

  • First, there is the directive on working time. Reports suggest that the UK has done a deal to gain German and Polish support and so has a chance of forming a blocking minority against the removal of its opt-out from the maximum 48-hour week.

  • Then of course the services directive, a measure designed to make it easier for providers to compete across borders, which the UK strongly supports. Views still conflict over the country of origin principle, which would allow a British company to provide its services in other EU countries under UK rules, with exceptions for issues such as building regulations and the minimum wage. The real test of the member countries’ commitment to a genuine single market for services will come in September after the European parliament makes its amendments.

  • Also on the agenda will be the EU budget, which will determine, for example, the amount of EU funding for regeneration over the next seven years. With a June deal now looking impossible, the discussions will spill over into the UK presidency. Given the government’s stance on the £3bn rebate won by Margaret Thatcher in 1984, the UK is unlikely to play the role of official compromise negotiator.

Jill Craig is head of European policy at the RICS’ Brussels office. Email: