Hastings & Co Solicitors win substantial settlement

Hastings & Co Solicitors have recently helped one of their clients win a substantial settlement in connection with a property dispute.

We acted for a client in a dispute with her former partner (we’ll call him Mr X). The parties had previously lived together and when they separated entered into a Separation Agreement. As part of the agreement Mr X agreed to continue paying the mortgage on the family home until their child attained the age of 18. In breach of the agreement Mr X stopped paying the mortgage and applied to the County Court to vary the Separation Agreement. We defended the claim and made a counterclaim against Mr X for damages for breach of the Separation Agreement.

At a court hearing Mr X was ordered to pay our client substantial damages and costs.


Hastings & Co Solicitors specialize in litigation and dispute resolution and can advise in connection with disputes between co-owners of property.

T. 01621 876 031

E: liam@hastingsandco.co.uk

Cohabitation and the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996

The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 is an important piece of legislation for unmarried couples and other people who jointly own property together or who live together. This includes for example gay couples that have not entered into a civil partnership and relatives that live together, for example, siblings living together and children  living with their parents.

Where the property is held in joint names the law presumes that it is held equally (i.e. 50/50 where there are 2 owners).

Sometimes, for whatever reason, the property is held in one person’s name only. However, it is possible for someone else to also have an interest in the property.

Section 14 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 gives the courts power to determine who owns a property and what shares they have. It also gives them the power to make an order for sale of the property. These are often referred to by lawyers as TOLATA claims.

It was my experience after the last recession, that couples would often do nothing after separating especially if there was little or no equity in the jointly held property. However, as property prices increased it  became worthwhile to make a TOLATA claim. A lot of property owners became very disappointed to learn that their ex-partners still had an interest in their property and that because the property had increased in value it would now cost a lot more to buy them out. This was often many years after their ex-partner had left the property. Unmarried couples splitting up should get advice early on. 

It is adviseable for anyone thinking of making an application, or faced with an application, to get advice from a solicitor. Liam Hastings specialises in TOLATA claims and litigation generally. Please telephone 01245 835 305 for advice.

Disclaimer: this blog is intended to give a brief overview of the law and is not intended as a substitute for independent legal advice.

What is civil litigation?

Civil litigation is the process of resolving disputes through the civil courts.

Historically, your typical high street firm of solicitors had a criminal law department for clients in trouble with the law, a family department dealing with divorces and children issues and a civil litigation department dealing with other types of dispute.

What types of dispute are we talking about? It could involve private individuals or businesses and the subject could be about anything. We regularly deal with the following types of dispute:

  • businesses or private individuals which are owed money
  • personal injury claims
  • contractual disputes
  • probate disputes
  • disputes between landlords and tenants
  • disputes about land including rights of way and boundaries

The common theme for all of the above is that claims are usually brought in the County Court or High Court and are governed by the Civil Procedure Rules. The practice of civil litigation is reserved to solicitors so that only solicitors can undertake civil litigation on behalf of other people. In theory, you do not need to instruct a solicitor in order to bring or defend a claim in the civil courts as it is possible to act as a litigant in person. However, the court rules can be complicated and litigation is not for the faint hearted. Furthermore, if you get it wrong litigation can be very expensive and so unless you know what you are doing it is wise to get advice from a specialist.

Hastings & Co Solicitors are a niche solicitors practice in Chelmsford, Essex specialising in debt collection, employment law and civil litigation. For further advice or assistance please contact Liam Hastings on 01245 835 305.