Staying Court Proceedings

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Case: Shropshire Council v RMC Farming Limited

    1. In this case, before I was instructed, my clients lost an Arbitration in respect of a Notice to Quit given under Case D of the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986. That Arbitration Award is the subject of an appeal both under section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (serious irregularity giving rise to substantial injustice) and section 69 (a point of law).
    1. When I was instructed I was told that in fact the Case D Notice to Quit had been sent to the wrong party because the tenancy had previously been assigned. My response was to serve a section 6 Notice under the AHA 1986, given by the assignee of the tenancy, seeking to establish the terms of the tenancy and, as a preliminary matter, that the assignment was valid and effective.
    1. In the meantime, in reliance upon the Arbitrator’s (challenged) Award, the Landlord commenced possession proceedings in the County Court. I applied to stay those proceedings on the basis that the section 6 Notice Arbitration had to be determined first and accordingly section 4 of the Arbitration Act 1996 applied. That requires the Court to stay proceedings where there is a valid arbitration agreement. We argued that the statutory arbitration process constitutes an arbitration agreement.
    1. Rather than argue about that in the County Court possession proceedings that the Landlord had commenced, the Landlord started a fresh set of proceedings in the High Court, seeking an Injunction to restrain the section 6 Notice Arbitration proceeding. The application for an Injunction failed and the County Court possession proceedings were also stayed.
    1. Another interesting feature of this dispute is that the Judge sitting in the High Court in Birmingham decided that, in contrast to a contractual arbitration, a statutory arbitration is not confidential. Because it was not a point germane to the successful outcome for my client, that part of the decision has not been challenged.
    1. Mark Galtrey was briefed by me in the High Court. He was outstanding.

© P R Williams

3 July 2024

P R Williams, Ebery Williams – Author of Scammell, Densham & Williams Law of Agricultural Holdings

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