galleries contact us search online payment
home our people what we do news working for us

News & Events

Bankruptcy threshold to be increased to £5,000
The Government has announced that from October 2015 it plans to increase the minimum threshold for creditors’ bankruptcy petitions from £750 to £5,000 and the maximum level of debt in respect of which a Debt Relief Order (“DRO”) can be obtained from £15,000 to £20,000.

The increase of the minimum threshold for creditors’ bankruptcy petitions to £5,000 is likely to be the more controversial of the 2 measures. Whilst there is a consensus that the current limit of £750 is outdated and in need of revision, the increase is significant and the evidence collected by the government on the subject demonstrates that a number of interested parties had called for a more modest increase.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Bankruptcy threshold to be increased to £5,000

Income Payment Orders and approved pension schemes
Bankruptcy and undrawn pensions-confusion abounds after Horton v Henry!

Can a bankrupt keep the value of an undrawn pension out of the hands of their trustee in bankruptcy? This is no longer clear: in 2012 the High Court said "no" but in December 2014 the answer was "yes".

In 2012, the High Court decided that a bankrupt could be compelled to draw on the pension, with the amounts payable ordered to be paid to the trustee in bankruptcy under an Income Payments Order (IPO) made pursuant to section 310 of the Insolvency Act 1986. On 17 December 2014 a different judge took the rather unusual step of deciding that, although the case before him could not be distinguished from the 2012 decision, it was, in his view clearly wrong and he should not follow it. He decided that the Court had no power to compel the bankrupt to draw on the pension and so it could not make an IPO in respect of it because an IPO could only be made where the bankrupt was "entitled to payment" and there was no such entitlement until the pension was drawn.

Faced with these inconsistent decisions it is unclear how a similar application before another judge will be resolved. Fortunately, the judge gave permission to appeal and it is reported that it will come before the Court of Appeal in due course, which hopefully will provide clarity on this important issue. In the meantime, insolvency practitioners will need to approach this issue with caution and appropriate detailed advice.

To find out more about how the High Court came to make these conflicting decisions and for a detailed discussion about the policy implications of it having done so, click on the link below.

Download: Income Payment Orders and approved pension schemes

Shared Appreciation Mortgage Mis-Selling
Since 1997 the average cost of a house in London has increased from around £98,000 to a staggering £580,000. For those fortunate enough to have owned a property since 1997 the return on this investment has been substantial, that is, unless you were unfortunate enough to have been sold a Shared Appreciation Mortgage by Barclays or Bank of Scotland (BOS) ('the Banks').

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Shared Appreciation Mortgage Mis-Selling

Insolvency Proceedings v Arbitration
Anyone using arbitration clauses should note the Court of Appeal decision made on Monday 8 December, to the effect that a winding up petition is not automatically stayed because the petition debt arises from a contract containing a mandatory arbitration clause.

This important development could assist creditors enforcing strong claims against debtors incorporated in many offshore financial centres as well as in England.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Insolvency Proceedings v Arbitration

Landlords to check tenants’ immigration status
As part of the government’s drive to make the UK a less attractive place for illegal immigrants a controversial new scheme has been introduced by the Immigration Act 2014 that places an obligation on landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants before entering into tenancy agreements for residential accommodation. The scheme was launched in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton on 1 December 2014 and will be extended across the UK during the course of 2015, although the exact dates and locations have not yet been released.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Landlords to check tenants’ immigration status

Collective Enfranchisement – Take notice of the statutory requirements
A Notice to acquire the freehold collectively under the enfranchisement legislation is likely to be held to be invalid if it does not contain the information required by the statutory provisions, even if the recipient of the Notice has all of the relevant information and suffers no prejudice. Care should therefore be taken to ensure that a Notice includes the information required by the legislation. Laura Bushaway examines the recent Court of Appeal decision in Natt and another v. Osman and another [2014] EWCA 1520 Civ.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Collective Enfranchisement – Take notice of the statutory requirements

Supreme Court decides that merits are relevant to relief from sanction. If strong enough.
The Supreme Court has addressed the vexed question of post-Mitchell relief from sanction for the first time.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Supreme Court decides that merits are relevant to relief from sanction. If strong enough.

“Teacher Stern triumphs against Mishcon’s Saudi prince in Supreme Court”
The Supreme Court has thrown out an appeal brought by a Saudi prince over a series of court sanctions in relation to his case against a former shareholder, handing a win to Teacher Stern just months after taking over the mandate from Howard Kennedy...

Also see: “Teacher Stern triumphs against Mishcon’s Saudi prince in Supreme Court”

Immigration Update: The Government changes the rules relating to investor migrants but not with the aim of reducing net migration
Earlier this month, the Government made some significant changes to the investor category of the Immigration Rules. This article considers the changes made and the Government’s motivations for the changes.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Immigration Update: The Government changes the rules relating to investor migrants but not with the aim of reducing net migration

Update: Payment of rent by tenants in administration
It is now settled law that when an Administrator retains occupation of leasehold property on the basis that it will benefit of the company’s creditors, rent that relates to that period of occupation must be paid by the Administrator as an expense of the administration.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Update: Payment of rent by tenants in administration

The end of the insolvency exception to Jackson
From April 2015, success fees and After the Event insurance premiums will no longer be recoverable as part of the costs ordered on the successful outcome of insolvency litigation.

However, this will only apply to funding arrangements entered into after April 2015. There is still time for savvy IPs to ensure that current cases can benefit from the current arrangements but in order to do so they will need to take steps now to collect and collate the evidence on which their claims will rely.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: The end of the insolvency exception to Jackson

Tenants in Administration and Landlords
In recent Court decisions, the balance between Administrators and Landlords has shifted backward and forwards with great regularity. Both sides have just learned that the goal posts have moved once more.

The judgment from a unanimous Court of Appeal last week has overruled the previous authorities on the issue of whether rent is payable as an expense in an Administration. In light of the decision in Jervis v Pillar Denton Ltd and Others, the decisions in Goldacre and Luminar are no longer of any effect.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Tenants in Administration and Landlords

Holiday Pay and Overtime
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed that overtime should be taken into account when assessing holiday pay. James Baker and Clare Taylor consider the recent decision in the joined appeals of Bear Scotland v Fulton, AMEC Group v Law and Hertel v Woods.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Holiday Pay and Overtime

Common Sense Prevails for Service Charge Consultation
Landlords will be relieved to hear that the statutory service charge consultation requirement only applies if a service charge of over £250 per leaseholder is payable in respect of separate projects or sets of qualifying works. Laura Bushaway and Zoe Athill look at the recent Court of Appeal decision in Francis v. Phillips.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Common Sense Prevails for Service Charge Consultation

When does “without prejudice” mean without prejudice?
If there is no dispute, simply marking correspondence “without prejudice” will not protect it from disclosure in later legal proceedings. The parties may however agree that that should be its effect. It is therefore important in the early stages of negotiation to decide whether that is intended and, if so, specifically to agree that the negotiations will proceed on that basis.

Last week, we reported that the High Court had allowed documents marked “without prejudice” to be used in Court because there had been no dispute at the time they were created. This went straight to the Court of Appeal which upheld that decision, but has not yet published its full reasons.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: When does “without prejudice” mean without prejudice?

Negotiation with Prejudice
It is often thought that heading a letter "without prejudice" will protect it from being disclosed later in proceedings, but as a recent case reminds us, that will not always be correct. Rod Cowper and Clare Toomer consider the recent decision in Avonwick v Webinvest.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Download: Negotiation with Prejudice

Teacher Stern wins lead role
Mishcon de Reya and Teacher Stern have replaced Irwin Mitchell and HowardKennedy FSI to win lead roles on a Saudi prince’s long-running battle to have his dispute with a shareholder heard in private.

Full story available here.

Rod Cowper notes another reason to be careful about accepting a "termination for convenience" clause
Most contracts provide some mechanism for ending the contract if a party is in breach of the contract. Indeed, English law can imply such a right where there is a breach of a particularly important term or breach has particularly important consequences. But increasingly, parties agree "termination for convenience" that is, a right to bring the contract to an end even if the other party has fully performed its obligations to date.

The Commercial Court has recently decided that such a clause will operate in effect as an exclusion of liability preventing a claim against the party entitled to terminate under the clause even it has not operated the clause.

In Comau UK Ltd v Lotus Lightweight Structures Ltd [2014] EWHC 2122 (Comm) this conclusion was reached by a conventional route: damages for breach of contract are assessed on the basis that the party in breach would have exercised any choice it had between different ways of performing the contact in the way that will minimise the damages payable. So, if the contract could have been terminated without giving any reason, the innocent party cannot recover damages on the basis that the contract would have continued for its full term.

To that extent, the decision is uncontroversial, but it is a clear warning to parties agreeing such a clause that its effect may go beyond a simple entitlement to terminate.

A more controversial aspect of decision was that the Deputy Judge decided that the clause would have this effect even though it could not in fact be operated to terminate the contract. The clause provided expressly that the right to terminate could only be exercised for convenience if the terminating party was not then in breach of its payment obligations. In fact, it was in breach of its payment obligations. The innocent party accepted that as a repudiatory breach of the contract thereby bringing the contract to an end. It then sued for damages measured by the profits that would have been earned if the contract had run its full course.

The Deputy Judge rejected this, holding that the breach did not prevent the clause acting as an exclusion of a claim for lost profits.

It is by no means clear that he was right to reject the claim on that basis. His reasoning is terse. He simply said "the fact… that [the defendant] was only entitled to invoke [the termination for convenience clause] if it was not in breach, does not appear to be relevant because the assessment looks at what [the defendant] would do if they had not been a breach".

It may be that the Deputy Judge had in mind the dictum of Diplock LJ in Laverack v Woods of Colchester [1967] 1 QB 278 (which was quoted in the Court of Appeal decision cited earlier by the Deputy Judge - Durham Tees Valley Airport v BMI Baby Ltd [2011] 1 All ER (Comm) 731) that "where there is an anticipatory breach by wrongful repudiation…it involves assuming that what has not occurred and never will occur has occurred and will occur, i.e., that the defendant since the breach performed his legal obligations under the contract".

However, whilst this does indeed, in one sense, require breach by the wrongdoer to be ignored, it is only for a narrow purpose, namely making the assumption that the contract would have continued in operation strictly in accordance with its terms. The position in Comau was surely different: if it was assumed that henceforth the contract would be operated strictly in accordance with its terms, the wrongdoer had no right to terminate because its right to terminate had been eliminated by its failure to make payment.

Whether a Court would or should be prepared to make the further assumption in favour of the wrongdoer that it would have cured its payment breach and thereby reacquired a right to terminate is unclear, but that is not what the Deputy judge in Comau said he was doing. This was a summary judgment application that failed and it is possible that the point may be reconsidered at trial.

In the meantime, however, it follows that both parties need to be wary of the operation of a termination for convenience clause as an exclusion of liability: the party who has conferred such a right on the other needs to be aware of the possibility that it may operate as an exclusion, but the wrongdoer should not rely on that if there is a risk that it could be said that breach had eliminated the right altogether.

New partner joins Teacher Stern press release.
Teacher Stern is delighted to announce that Rod Cowper has joined as a partner and Head of International Dispute Resolution. Cowper has conducted international arbitrations in major centres around the World for over 30 years and litigation in all commercial divisions of the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the Privy Council. He regularly works with lawyers in the major offshore centres to manage litigation there, often as part of coordinated multi-forum disputes.

Corporate and Insolvency disputes, particularly arising in a cross-border contexts, feature heavily in his practice, a large part of which involves acting for and against Banks in disputes ranging from lending and guarantee issues to those arising from derivatives and other less traditional transactions.

Cowper said “Teacher Stern is a solid and supportive platform from which to address the dispute resolution requirements of clients involved in financial and investment business in London and across the Globe”.

David Salisbury , Managing Partner, commented “We welcome Rod as an important element of our strategic growth as we address together the challenges and opportunities of the current international business environment.” He continued “ Teacher Stern has grown significantly over the last year or so starting with the very successful merger with Butcher Burns in May 2013. Since then we have added another 8 new fee earners and further additions are in the pipeline. This is indicative of our positive view for the future and the need to meet the demands of an increasing client base across all departments.”

Teacher Stern, established in 1967, is a full service commercial law firm based in Holborn, London with over 70 fee earners.

Download: Press release

Triangle enlists Deutsche Bank for Holborn Links deal
Triangle has completed a £212.5m off-market purchase of the Holborn Links Estate, WC1, financed by Deutsche Bank.

The price reflects a capital value of £534 per sq ft. It was bought on behalf of Perez International, which represents a consortium of international investors managed by Triangle Group.

The 3.3-acre estate comprises 42 buildings totalling 320,000 sq ft, including shops and restaurants along Southampton Row and Sicilian Avenue, as well as offices and flats on Southampton Place.

Triangle bought the assets from Eliasz Englander’s Englander Group.
The completion comes more than six months after Triangle exchanged contracts on the deal. It had put down a £4.5m deposit to buy the buildings. This money was later deducted from the purchase price.

Deutsche Bank is understood to have financed the purchase with a loan of between 50% and 60% LTV, equating to between £106.3m and £127.5m.

Triangle and Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the funding.
Since buying the Holborn Links Estate for £118m in 2000 from Hammerson and Standard Life, Englander Group invested heavily in making the portfolio boutique and popular.

Tunc Guven, partner and group chief financial officer at Triangle, said the company is now planning to further invest in the portfolio, including more asset management to increase the value, and changing the use of some of the properties.

Rick Denton, chief executive of Triangle, added:“This strategic acquisition is a consequence of our international clients seeking to grow their presence in London. The Holborn Links portfolio compiles a valuable balance of property assets and includes our second hotel acquisition in the area. Our first being the Lifestyle Hotel L’Oscar, a creation of Jacques Garcia which is currently under development and due to open at the end of 2015.”

Savills advised the buyer; the vendor was not represented.

Teacher Stern creates 2 new partners
With effect from 1 May 2014, Teacher Stern are pleased to announce that 2 long serving solicitors have been promoted to Partners. Eytan Weisz in the Property department and Rajesh Pabla in the Litigation department.

New Tax Partner at Teacher Stern
The Partners are pleased to announce that Sarah Cardew has joined the corporate commercial department as our new tax Partner.

Sarah was head of Corporate Tax at Penningtons Manches which is ranked Tier One by both Chambers and The Legal 500. Sarah was also at BLP for nearly 12 years before she joined Penningtons.

David Salisbury, head of Corporate, notes "Sarah has a wealth of experience and expertise across a broad range of sectors within the corporate and real estate tax sectors and she will be a great addition to the partnership."

New Partner joins Teacher Stern
We are delighted to announce that Dov Katz joins us today as the Head of Capital Markets.

David Salisbury says "Dov joins us from HowardKennedyFSI where he was a partner in their Corporate department and Head of AIM. Having trained at Fladgate, Dov has also worked at Dechert LLP and Rosenblatts and brings a wealth of experience especially in corporate finance. This will greatly enhance our service offering to clients."

New Property Partner
The Partners of Teacher Stern are delighted to announce that from 1 October 2013, Victoria Hodges will be joining the partnership.

David Salisbury notes "Since Victoria first joined us a trainee in September 2005 and following her qualification into the property department, she has become a highly valued and integral member of the firm and we are delighted to make this announcement."

Leonard Ross
We are very sorry to announce that Leonard Ross passed away on Thursday 5 September 2013.

Leonard joined Teacher Stern as a consultant in 2005 following many successful years in his well known practice of Ross and Craig.

Leonard was a delightful person to work with and he will be sorely missed by all the partners and staff of the firm.

Teacher Stern Press Release
Teacher Stern LLP is pleased to announce that it has recently acted for Metroline Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of ComfortDelGro Corporation), on the exchange of contracts for the acquisition of bus routes operated from five separate bus depots in West London from First Group plc for £57.5 million and is currently working towards to the completion of the transaction.

The team from Teacher Stern LLP, led by partners David Salisbury, Oliver Azurri and Kelly Whitfield, completed an extensive due diligence exercise before advising Metroline Limited on the corporate, commercial, employment, tax and property elements of the acquisition.

The business that will be acquired under the transaction comprises 31 routes utilising 494 buses operating from five West London garages - Alperton, Greenford, Hayes, Uxbridge and Willesden Junction. Completion of the transaction is set for June 2013, following which the newly acquired bus routes will operate under the Metroline brand.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and Teacher Stern LLP is working closely with First Group plc’s lawyers to obtain the necessary consents from Transport for London.

Kelly Whitfield said “It is an exciting time for this client, building on their existing presence in the London bus market. The Teacher Stern property, corporate, employment and tax departments all worked very hard on getting to exchange and it was because of this team effort that we managed to exchange contracts within the necessary timeframe and are now focusing on getting the relevant consents and approvals in place, ready for completion. We very much look forward to working with this interesting and exciting client both in the run up to completion and in the very future as it continues its expansion within the UK."

Butcher Burns LLP joins Teacher Stern.
Teacher Stern are delighted to announce that Butcher Burns LLP will be joining us on 1st May 2013. The combined practice will be operating under the Teacher Stern LLP name and will continue to be based at the Bedford Row offices.

Managing partner, David Salisbury, is very excited by the prospect of expanding the breadth and depth of service currently provided to clients. “ We have identified a number of client synergies and common strengths and there is a cross over in a number of practice areas, particularly in property and litigation. With 14 fee earners joining us, we feel the combined firm will be better positioned to respond to our clients’ needs and provide a broader platform of services.”

The excellent reputation of both firms together with strong management and experienced lawyers will support continuous improvement.

Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation.
Teacher Stern are pleased to announce that we have been accredited to the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) which is a new quality scheme for solicitors who deal with buying and selling property. As a member of the CQS, this means we meet the high standards the Law Society sets to ensure that we give clients a professional and quality conveyancing service.

Teacher Stern awarded Lex medals
Lex 100, the student guide to the UK’s premier law firms, have awarded Teacher Stern Lex Medals in two categories, namely Client contact and Job satisfaction.

Comms Dealer, August 2012
Martine Nathan reveals how not to waste money on new branding without undertaking preliminary checks first, and how to reference trade marks correctly.

Download: Comms Dealer

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011
Martine Nathan provides an update on the recent changes to The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations

Download: The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

Tenancy Deposit Schemes - May 2012
Laura Bushaway a Solicitor in our Dispute Resolution department provides a summary of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes

Download: Tenancy Deposit Schemes - May 2012

Changes to Employment payment amounts and limits in 2012
James Baker provides an update to the recent changes to Employment payment amounts

Download: Changes to Employment payment amounts and limits in 2012