Dispute resolution solicitors Hertford
Civil Disputes arise in a variety of formats with different legal issues depending on the nature of the dispute. An agreement can be parol (oral ) or in writing and (with the exception of agreements made in respect of sale / purchase land which must be in writing), both are equally valid. If one party does not comply with the agreed terms, they are in breach of contract.
However, unless recorded in writing the terms agreed between the parties are more open to interpretation and as a consequence oral agreements are be less easily enforceable.
Contract disputes may require the Court to order one party to fulfil his/her obligations (specific performance) or may award the other party damages when they have acted upon a promise to their detriment and incurred financial loss as a consequence (Promissory Estoppel).
Breach of contract proceedings can be brought in the County and / or High Court depending on the value of the claim and remedies sought. If one party is seeking to enforce the terms of the contract, remedies may be specific performance or compensation in lieu. Court fees, interest and legal costs will normally be recovered by the successful party in addition although costs are always at the court’s discretion.
If a person dies leaving a will which does not provide adequate financial provision for certain dependants then providing the requirements of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 ( as amended ) are fulfilled those person may bring a claim for financial provision to be made to them out of the deceased’s estate.
A claim can also be made under the same act if a person dies without making a will ( Intestate ) again providing the claimant meets the required criteria.
In either case a claim has to be brought within six months of the Grant of Probate and will override the provisions in the deceased’s will.
Disputes over wills frequently occur when a family member / beneficiary is concerned that the deceased’s will does not accurately present the deceased’s true wishes.
In some circumstances, this might be just down to bad will drafting but other issues may be concerning the deceased’s mental capacity at the time of making their will (testamentary capacity) or that they were unduly influenced by other beneficiaries in the will (undue influence).
The test for testamentary capacity is well established in the case of Banks -v- Goodfellow whereas evidence of undue influence is often more difficult to determine. It is often a requirement that the deceased’s medical records are obtained as it may be necessary to request a retrospective report on the deceased’s likely testamentary capacity at the time of writing the will.
A common form of dispute are boundary disputes between neighbours.
These can often be determined by reference to the title deeds but in some cases rights can be acquired over a neighbour’s land by usage (rights of prescription). In certain cases, ownership of land can be acquired by possession (adverse possession) provided that the Possessor has used the land as their own without consent for a continuous period of time.
In order to regulate this type of ownership an application has to be made to HM Land Registry in a prescribed format setting out the history. If HMLR determine the application meets the criteria the applicant will be granted a “possessory” title which can later be upgraded to an absolute title.
Judkins Solicitors also advise on defending possession proceedings brought against individuals by Banks and Building Societies either in a private residential mortgage context or where a matrimonial home has been mortgaged as security for business debts.
Judkins have also acted for clients in obtaining possession of a property and / or for a declaration of an interest in property pursuant to the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (“TOLATA”).
Dispute resolution solicitors Hertford