Thursday 30 July 2020

Judgment in Brent Council v Bridge Park case not expected until September. HPCC blow when constitution not found

After hearing closing submissions from the Counsels for Brent Council and Leonard Johnson the Judge, Michael Green QC,  said he was unlikely to deliver his Judgment before September.  He said that he would decide on a legal basis if the defendants had a beneficial interest in the Bridge Park site but said that in itself that would not resolve the issues between the parties.  He said that the parties needed to talk together: 'Everyone needs to move on.'

The issue of whether HPCC had a constitution in its early days remained unresolved today when Mr Cottle admitted to the Judge that a search yesterday had failed to come up with a copy. They had found a copy of a draft working ducment for the Bus Garage Steering Group, a later organisation that included HPCC members.

The constitution was vital to establishing the status of HPCC and thus its claim for an interest in the land which is the nub of the case.

The Judge told Mr Cottle that if there was a document he needed to know. He said, 'Perhaps the other side would have wanted to ask  Mr Johnson and Mr Anderson questions about it.' The Judge said the document needed to be located and handed over to the Court. It was amazing that the council had not insisted on a constitution befor handing money over to HPCC.

The two sides in the dispute had sent the Judge  more than 100 pages of written closing submissions which enabled proceedings to take less time than expected.  It did mean for those observing the case remotely exchanges were harder to follow today with frequent references to the submissions, ancillary documents and legal precedents.

Mr Cottle asked to submit amendments to the Bridge Park case one of which related to Mr Leonard Johnson's status.  Cottle said this would be signed tomorrow and the Judge asked that it be signed and a photograph of it sent to him.

The submissions related to the issues that have already been reported on here and included the conflict between the parties on the status of HPCC and its charitable purpose and aims; whether HPCC could be said to have an interest  in the land and the status of 'an aspiration' to buy the lease; who actually owned the project, the implications of the Covenant required by the GLC and its implications for future use of the land and whether it was indented for charitable purposes,; the role of Brent Council in the early stages of the project and the implications of the different funding streams in terms of ownership and any subsequent breaches of conditions; whether there was a conditional trust at the commencement of the project and many more complex issues accompaned by references to rulings in previous cases and legislation one side or the other thought was relevant.

Brent Council was anxious to prevent any future action by the defendant in terms of a restriction on the land arising from the claim and said that their development project was 'respectful of the Bridge Park legacy.'

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