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  • Aryan Agarwal

#CaseBrief: Matthews v. Dobbins


FACTS

The Appellant, Matthews, seeks an appeal against a decision by His Honour Judge Mais in the Marylebone County Court, dated 30th October of the relevant year. The Respondent, Mirium Louise Dobbins, the Defendant in the County Court proceedings, did not appear despite an order for substituted service.

 

ISSUES

The key issue revolves around the enforcement of possession of premises (No. 268 Ladbroke Grove, London) by the Plaintiffs (Matthews) due to the Defendant's (Dobbins) substantial arrears in ground rent payments.

 

HOLDING

The County Court Judge, relying on Section 191(1)(a) of the County Courts Act, 1959, concluded that since the Defendant paid the arrears and costs into the court at least five days before the return day, the action should cease, and the lessee (Dobbins) retains possession according to the lease.

 

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Plaintiffs initiated proceedings on 20th September, 1961, citing non-payment of ground rent by the Defendant. The Court ordered substituted service due to the Defendant's non-appearance. Earlier attempts for personal service were unsuccessful.

 

RATIONALE

Section 191(1)(a) of the County Courts Act, 1959, is pivotal, stating that if a lessee pays into court the rent in arrear and costs at least five clear days before the return day, the action shall cease, and the lessee retains possession without the need for a new lease.

 

ARGUMENTS

The Plaintiffs argued that the Defendant substantially fell into arrears, justifying possession under Section 191 of the County Courts Act. The Defendant, by paying the arrears and costs into court, contended that the action should cease as per Section 191(1)(a).

 

JUDGEMENT

The County Court Judge held in favor of the Defendant, determining that the payment into court under Section 191(1)(a) extinguished the Plaintiffs' right of action. The appeal seeks to challenge this decision.

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