… but the legal feeding frenzy continues with a £4,000 bill
Dennis Jackson, 73, escaped forfeiture today of his £800,000 flat at the Plantation Wharf in Battersea.
In a five-minute hearing Deputy District Judge Cole brushed aside arguments from Alexander Bastin, the barrister representing the freeholders and Plantation Wharf Management Limited, who demanded forfeiture of Jackson’s lease.
But Helen Turnbull, an open access barrister found for Jackson by LKP yesterday, successful argued that as Bastin and his team were appealing against the LVT decision that restricted their legal costs the issue was not concluded and therefore Jackson’s case should be adjourned. She also argued that it should be adjourned anyway to give Jackson time to contest the action.
To Jackson’s surprise, a representative of Prudential, his mortgage company, also was present asking for an adjournment in order to protect its £175,000 mortgage on the property. Jackson had thought Prudential would not be present.
Meanwhile, the legal costs gravy train kept on flowing with the freeholder’s extended legal team presenting a £4,000 estimated bill for the hearing.
Bastin argued that these should be paid. They would cover his fees, those of the solicitor Janice Northover, who was present but silent, her assistant who helps carry her bag, and even Phillip John, chief executive of managing agents Tideway, who at the LVT hearings successfully demanded £250 an hour in order to explain his “complex” accounts that the tribunal said were “very difficult for a lay leaseholder to understand without some kind of proper explanation”.
In spite of Bastin’s repeated objections, the judge ruled that costs were to be delayed and reserved.
The adjournment gives Jackson time to consider his options in the case. “That was as good a result as I could have got today,” he said.