Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2013 position: 25

Property update — November–December 2013: trespass

The Court of Appeal has had to consider the amount of damages payable in relation to air conditioning equipment placed, without permission, on a roof. If the parties had negotiated a licence, what would have been the duration of the hypothetical permission? And could aggravated damages be awarded to the aggrieved owner in respect of the trespass?

The court based its assessment of damages on the price that would have been paid for a licence equal in length to the time the unit was unlawfully on the roof. It did not agree that the parties might have negotiated the licence to last much longer — which would, of course, have cost more.

Aggravated damages could not be awarded. These are aimed at compensating for the distress and injury to feelings caused by a guilty party’s conduct. If the innocent party is a company, then it has no feelings that can be hurt in this way…

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