Case Summary: High Court's Decisive Amendment of Case Stated
The case of Damian Ferko v. Ealing Magistrates Court and others involved an appeal by the appellant, Damian Ferko, against the decision of the Magistrates Court. Damian Ferko, as the tenant of a first-floor flat, alleged serious internal mould growth and claimed a statutory nuisance caused by his landlord and the owners of the flat. The Magistrates Court had dismissed the complaint brought by the appellant, leading to the appeal.
The central legal issues in the case included:
Sufficiency of reasons for the Magistrates Court's decision on the complaint.
Whether findings and reasons provided by the Magistrates Court were given after the decisions were made, violating procedural requirements.
Interpretation of the Statutes, particularly concerning what constitutes statutory nuisance and whether structural disrepair is the sole trigger for statutory nuisance.
The notice requirements imposed on the tenant, and whether they were too strict and not required by the relevant statute.
Causation in relation to statutory nuisance, whether the defendant's responsibility must be the sole cause (but-for test) or merely a material cause (material contribution test).
Mr. Justice Ritchie, in the High Court, granted the appellant's application to amend the Case Stated (CS). The CS needed amendments to better reflect the proceedings below and identify the real issues on appeal. The original CS had inadequate questions, and the judge redrafted the CS to include the relevant questions to be addressed in the appeal.
Amendments to the CS:
The amendments to the CS included addressing questions on:
Sufficiency of reasons for the Magistrates Court's decisions.
Ex-post facto reasons and findings provided after the decisions were made.
Interpretation of the Statutes regarding statutory nuisance and unfitness for human habitation.
Notice requirements imposed on the tenant.
Causation in relation to statutory nuisance.
The judge also clarified the chronology of disclosure of reasons and findings by including the dates when the Magistrates Court provided them.
The High Court's decision to amend the Case Stated (CS) was aimed at ensuring all the issues raised by the appellant were included for an effective hearing of the appeal. The amendments provided firm guidance on what should be in the CS to assist the appeal court in doing justice between the parties.
Note: The judge mentioned that it would be more efficient and cost-effective for such applications under S.28A of the Senior Courts Act 1981 to be listed for a case management hearing separately from the full appeal hearing.
Alexander Shaw Solicitors represented the Appellant, Damian Ferko, in the case.
Solicitor responsible: Zoheb Chaudhry and Basit Raza
Case Name: Damian Ferko v. Ealing Magistrates Court, Kapiesta Ltd T/A Xara Estates, Surinder Kumar, Krishna Kumar