Somerfield Stores Limited v Spring (Sutton Coldfield) Limited (In Administration)  EWHC 2084 (Ch)
Somerfield was Spring’s tenant of supermarket premises. Somerfield’s lease enjoyed security of tenure under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and it accordingly served a section 26 notice at lease expiry requesting a new tenancy under the Act. The landlord served a counter notice stating that it opposed the grant of a new tenancy on the ground that it intended to redevelop the premises.
The tenant applied for summary judgment, arguing that because the landlord company had since gone into administration there was no reasonable prospect of it establishing an intention to redevelop. The Court at first instance dismissed the tenant’s application. Whilst it accepted that the landlord could not presently establish an intention to redevelop, it found that
Somerfield had not established that there was no reasonable prospect of the requisite intention being established at the trial date, which was when intention needed to be shown. Somerfield appealed arguing that, on a summary judgment application, the relevant date for establishing intention should be the date of the summary judgment hearing itself. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument affirming that, in all cases, the relevant date is the date of trial. The alternative would put landlords in an impossible position as they would have no idea when a tenant might “ambush” them with a summary judgment application.