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Sara & Hossein v Blacks

19 January 2023

Richard Fowler represented the successful landlord in the Supreme Court in a notable new case about commercial leases.

On 18 January 2023 the Supreme Court handed down judgment in Sara & Hossein Asset Holdings Ltd v Blacks Outdoor Retail Ltd [2023] UKSC 2. Richard, instructed by Pinsent Masons LLP, acted for Sara in the appeal on a difficult point of construction.

Sara was landlord of premises in Liverpool and claimed service charge from its tenant, Blacks. Sara had self-certified the service charge due; the leases provided that Sara’s certificates would be “conclusive” in the absence of “manifest or mathematical error or fraud”, and there was no challenge to the certificates on those grounds. The Court of Appeal had granted summary judgment to Sara on its claim. By a majority, the Supreme Court dismissed Blacks’ appeal, while holding that Blacks was permitted to pursue arguable counterclaims. The Supreme Court also considered the authorities on “manifest error” provisions, which are found in a wide range of contracts.

The Supreme Court’s press summary is here.

The judgment is here.

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