Weekly review: 8th – 12th April 2013

Adverse possession

Once a squatter is in possession of land, this possession is not lost by virtue simply of a later scaling down of its activities there. Trivial activity on the land by the paper owner once the squatter is in possession is not enough to amount to a taking back of possession (Law Bing Kee v Person(s) in occupation of RP)

Construction: contract: interpretation

When interpreting a term in  a lease (as in any other contract) the court can have regard to the factual matrix and the purpose of the relevant provision insofar as it can be discerned in the light of the factual matrix and the rest of the document (New Mercury Holdings Corp v Secretary for Justice)

Contract: landlord and tenant: damages: duty to mitigate

Where a landlord cannot give vacant possession at the start of the agreed lease term and the lease is rescinded, the tenant’s duty to mitigate its loss requires it to act as an ordinary, prudent business man would act in the circumstances. It can recover expenditure occurred on its behalf by a third party (at least in circumstances where the loss to the third party will fall equally on the tenant). (Mega Yield International Holdings Ltd v Fonfair Co Ltd)

Deed of mutual covenant: common parts: trespass by tenant

Where a tenant takes possession of common parts a landlord who permitted this can be jointly liable in trespass (海怡閣(成和道) 業主立案法團v 泓璟集團有限公司)

Rectification

‘a party seeking rectification for a common mistake should show that (a) the parties had a common continuing intention in respect of a particular matter in the instrument to be rectified, (b) there was an outward expression of accord, (c) the intention continued at the time of the execution of  the instrument sought to be rectified, and (d) by mistake the instrument did not reflect that common intention.’ (Re Lee Mei Yan KrisDeputy Judge Marlene Ng [19])

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