The young barrister who represented for free the pensioners in the notorious ‘legal torture’ case at Oakland Court in Worthing is up for an award.
Stephanie Smith, a barrister in her twenties, defeated Justin Bates, who was acting for the freehold-owning landlord and is a more senior lawyer in her own Arden Chambers.
Bates is an expert on leasehold law who frequently represents freeholders in actions against leaseholders. He was instructed by Laceys solicitors of Bournemouth, who style themselves “honorary solicitors” to the trade body, the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA).
The freeholders repeatedly challenged whether the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal should hear the case. When the pensioners eventually won the case in May this year, two of the original applicants had died.
The local MP Sir Peter Bottomley condemned these legal stratagems as “legal torture” on the LKP website and in the House of Commons. The case was referred to during the LKP / Carlex briefing at Westminster for MPs, hosted by Sir Peter earlier this week. [Read more...]