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Charles Terenz Estate V. Cornwall Council Notes

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CHARLES TERENZ ESTATE V. CORNWALL COUNCIL FACTS In outline the claimant, Charles Terence Estates Ltd ("CTE"), purchased some 30 properties in 2006 and 2007, which it leased to the defendant, Cornwall Council, under schemes designed to house those with housing need. The leases were originally with two district councils in Cornwall, Restormel Borough Council ("Restormel") and Penwith District Council ("Penwith"). These councils in turn used the properties to house those in need. Coming into existence of Cornwall Council and cessation of rent payment: From 1 April 2009 the district councils in Cornwall, including Restormel and Penwith, and the former Cornwall County Council, were abolished and replaced by a new unitary local authority, Cornwall Council, which has succeeded to their rights and liabilities. Cornwall Council reviewed the schemes which Restormel and Penwith had undertaken with CTE, ceased paying rent under the leases and demanded immediate repayment of the grants and loans. CTE instituted the present proceedings for the unpaid rents. Cornwall Council rejects the claim and contends that the leases were flawed at the outset for both private and public law error. HOLDING Claim for breach of fiduciary duty GLC owed duties to different classes, the duty to transport users on the one hand, and the duty of a fiduciary character to ratepayers on the other, both of which had to be fairly balanced: 814H-815C. In the course of his speech Lord Diplock said that the GLC's fiduciary duty included a duty not to expend moneys thriftlessly but to deploy its financial resources to best advantage, the relevant financial resources being the rate fund obtained by issuing precepts and the grants the GLC obtained from central government. The existence of the fiduciary duty cast light on the true construction of the legislation: 830A. Lord Scarman accepted that the House of Lords had "to construe the Act in the light of the principle that a local authority owes a fiduciary duty to its ratepayers." This binding authority means that relevant legislation conferring a power on a local authority must be read subject to the fiduciary duty owed to its taxpayers. Market Value of Rent for Premises not taken into Consideration: The broad claim of the Council here was that in negotiating the rent to be paid for the housing facilities, the market value of rent for such premises were not considered at all.

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