My client was a professional girl in her mid-twenties who had done modelling work and had contact with a man who worked part-time as a photographer. He made repeated and persistent requests to my client for her to send photographs and to pose for photo-shots, which turned into requests for nude and semi-pornographic photo requests.
As a result, she exposed what she viewed as his predatory and harassing behaviour on an online forum. She received support from other girls who had stated that they experienced similar persistent lewd conduct from this photographer. He instructed specialist solicitors who wrote to my client with threats of a defamation claim against her because of what she had said online about him.
You can read more about the law of defamation here: https://ksclegal.co.uk/defamation-and-the-protection-of-reputation/
It was then that my client instructed me. Understandably, she was highly distressed upon receiving aggressive legal threats claiming large sums of damages, as well as the mental distress that she had suffered to date already.
I wrote back firmly and put our case, in particular, including our legal defences to any potential claim for defamation.
Result: I did not hear back meaningfully from the photographer’s solicitors, and the matter ended. This was a relief for my client, who certainly did not want the stress of continued correspondence and rising legal costs.
Employee benefits – interpretation of contracts and policies
I have been fighting a claim concerning the sum due under an employee’s life assurance policy which was a benefit of the employee’s employment. The main beneficiary is his young son, and my clients have been the deceased employee’s partner and his mother.
I was first instructed in the case in March 2020. We regarded the interpretation of the policy by the employer as most perverse, and our claim amounted to a substantial five-figure sum. We commenced Court proceedings around Nov 2020. The case came to trial at the Royal Courts of Justice in London and finished very recently. The dispute was essentially over the wording of the life assurance policy. No sensible offer to even meet us even ‘half-way’ had been had been made by the employer or their counsel at any stage.
Circuit Judge Dight CBE decided the case wholly in our favour, namely that our interpretation was absolutely correct, and awarded legal costs in our favour as well.
What is sad about the claim is that it has caused a lot of avoidable stress to my clients, given that the background to the case is a tragic accident which resulted in the employee’s death. This sort of dispute is the last thing that the family wanted. Moreover, the employer is one the UK’s largest High Street names, and they would be outraged if they were named on this website or elsewhere publicly as behaving in such a high-handed unreasonable manner.
Landlord and tenant
My client was a tenant who was needed to move house and wanted her new tenancy to be checked over. (This is always a good idea, in case you get caught out by a spurious clause which you have not noticed or understood).
In her agreement, there were indeed a couple of clauses which were worth pointing out to her, which were a little unusual. But the biggest problem was caused by a clause of which she was aware, which prohibited keeping any pets. My client had a dog, and she had no intention of abandoning it. The estate agent had verbally assured her that this clause could be ignored, as the landlord did not have any real objection to pets, despite what the agreement stated.
But surprisingly, the agent was not willing to alter the agreement to reflect this, or confirm the variation in writing. This smelt very fishy, because all such clauses should be written entirely in the agreement, and an ‘entire agreement clause’ (as lawyers call it) normally states that only what is written in the agreement is of binding effect. It seemed to me that what had happened here was that the agent had gone beyond his remit in giving the verbal assurance, which he had no authority from the landlord, to give.
Trying to establish that he had made such verbal misrepresentations later, if and when any dispute arose about keeping the dog, would have been next to impossible, practically speaking. I advised my client that this was clearly an agent who could not be trusted and would probably cause her problems in the future as well.
My client had not signed any agreement yet; fortunately, she had consulted me in good time. So, she decided to withdraw and look for an alternative suitable property, which she found without difficulty quite quickly.
If you would like advice, please contact me for a consultation. Usually, I will get back to you within a matter of hours.
Kuldeep S. Clair, Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales
07484 614090 firstname.lastname@example.org