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Appropriate legal advice under tort and land law


09Feb 2022 by

You are a surveyor with the letting agency. A client, Mr Churchill, is not having a good week so he is seeking your advice on all three matters below.
Situation 1. On Monday, he discovered that the painters who redecorated one of his rental properties two months ago had used an inferior paint, and the paint is now peeling, a fact pointed out by a prospective tenant on the viewing recently. He will have to have all the painting work re-done. When Mr Churchill visited the property to confirm completion of the contract, he asked about the paint and was told by the painting contractor foreman (who also stated they had not actually done the work) that his stipulated paint had been used. Mr Churchill has already paid the final bill in full and wants to know whether he can recover any of his new costs from the painting contractors. (Approximately 900 words.)
Situation 2. On Tuesday, he found all the expensive Koi Carp in his fishpond had died. The water in the pond had been polluted by what appeared to be an oily substance. There was a trail of red diesel across his garden to the fence marking the boundary between his property and the property of Mr Knot, his neighbour. Mr Knot has a river boat that he uses recreationally. It was discovered that two of the four 205L drums of red diesel fuel kept against Mr Knot’s side of the boundary fence had rusted through and the contents had emptied into Mr Churchill’s property and polluted his pond. Mr Churchill has been told by a friend that he can claim from Mr Knot because you are not allowed to cause harm to your neighbours. He wishes to know if this is true. (Approximately 900 words.)
Situation 3. On Wednesday, he had a conversation with a different neighbour (Mrs Earheart) who insists that a compost heap at the end of Mr Churchill’s back garden is blocking the path to the main road. The compost heap is on a strip of land outside the back garden fence but owned by Mr Churchill. Mrs Earheart says anyone living in her property has a right of way to use the strip of land as a path and that Mr Churchill should check the deeds of his property, because the right is recorded. Mr Churchill does check and finds an easement recorded, but he does not know what this means, or what he needs to do. He has asked your advice. (Approximately 900 words.)
Write a report providing appropriate legal advice to Mr Churchill under tort and land law. For each of the situations outlined above, your report should:

describe the broad areas of law set out in the scenario;
critically appraise the specific area of law, based on scenario facts and using appropriate legal principles;
advise, based on your evaluation of the scenarios, on any remedy(ies) that might be available to Mr Churchill in respect of situations 1 and 2;
advise Mr Churchill, in respect of situation 3, on what an easement is, on what Mrs Earheart’s remedy might be, and what he needs to do to mitigate that remedy.

Additional guidance
Task advice

Define all legal terms used in your answer. You should assume that Mr Churchill does not understand legal jargon.
Select and use relevant legal principles, drawn from legal authority. When using case law, you should use the principles, not the facts of the case.
Ensure you have written a reasoned argument. Your advice should follow logically from the preceding discussion.
Advise in tort law, not contract.
Offer legal, not practical ‘common sense’ advice, restricted to the task set. For instance, do not suggest Mr Churchill should be more careful who he chooses to paint his properties in future, or build a raised bed pond, or tell Mrs Earheart to find another route. Practical advice will not gain you any marks.

Presentation advice
Your report should be written in professional English (appropriate for a Chartered Surveyor) and should cover all three elements (the peeling paint, the polluted pond, and obstructing compost heap) and must provide the advice asked for. The precise structure will be up to you, but it is expected that you will have:

a title page (with your name, student number, module code and the word count. This page is not included in your word count);
a contents page, with page numbers. You can use the Word function for this, or create one manually (not included in word count);
an executive summary – this should explain why the report has been written, the key points made in the report and a brief outline of the advice presented (not included in word count);
an introduction that sets out the purpose of the report, the background and context, and the specific issues covered (included in word count);
the main body – this will have at least three sections (one for each scenario set out in the assignment brief) and you can use appropriate sub-sections if you wish (included in word count);
a conclusions section that will briefly restate the purpose of the report, summarise the key information supporting your advice, and clearly state your advice (included in word count);
a reference list, alphabetically sorted and following the UCEM Harvard Referencing style (not included in word count).

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