Annington Property Ltd & Ors R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for Defence 2023 EWHC 1154 Admin - 15 May 2023
The arbitral tribunal comprised Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, Professor Graham Chase FRICS and Mr. Martin Butterworth FRICS. They issued 5 awards between December 2019 and July 2021. The rent reviews proceeded on an agreed assumption that neither APL nor the SoS could be considered as parties to the hypothetical letting.
In September 2019 the solicitors for APL and the MoD had agreed that the bid of the hypothetical lessee could take into account any entitlement to enfranchise under the 1967 Act. In their third award (dated 18 June 2020) the tribunal set out the approach to be taken to that issue.
In their fourth award (dated 6 October 2020) the tribunal determined the site review rents for the representative sites in "batch 1", comprising 4 of the 27 representative sites to be dealt with in the arbitration. One of those sites was located at Cranwell and included two of the dwellings in respect of which enfranchisement notices have been served. In their fifth award (dated 5 July 2021) the tribunal determined site review rents for the eight sites in "batch 2."
At this point site rents for the remaining 15 representative sites were still to be assessed. It was expected that the process would continue until 2023. The arbitration proceedings were hard fought. The parties exchanged over 50 expert reports and hearings took place over many days. The legal submissions were extensive. APL alone has spent around £60m in costs. Accordingly, in April 2021 Mr. Guy Hands, Chief Executive Officer of Terra Firma, the fund manager controlling all the voting rights of the shares in Annington Holdings (Guernsey) Limited ("AHGL") (see below), proposed that the parties should work together to find an alternative solution for resolving the site reviews.