The claimant, a company limited by guarantee, carried on a business and occupied the premises for the purposes of that business within the meaning of Part II Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.Determination of a preliminary issue as to whether the claimant company ('C') carried on a business and occupied premises for the purposes of that business, within the meaning of Part II Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, such as to entitle it to the protection afforded to business tenants by that part of the Act. C commenced proceedings against the defendant solicitors ('the firm') for damages for negligence. C, a company limited by guarantee, was established in 1996 to run a number of sports grounds and occupied the subject premises by leases due to expire on 31 March 2001. C retained the firm for the purpose of obtaining renewals of the leases. On 5 October 2000 the firm served on the landlord notices under s.26 of the Act. However, the firm then failed to make applications to the county court under s.29(3) of the Act, resulting in C losing the protection of Part II of the Act. C contended that, in light of the unchallenged evidence of C's chief executive, C was plainly occupying the premises for the purposes of a business within s.23 of the Act and was carrying on trade there. The firm submitted that C was not carrying on a business at the premises, as it was not doing so with the predominant intention of making money but rather with the predominant intention of maintaining sports facilities.HELD: (1) C had a corporate structure, a number of employees, dealt with accounting matters in the usual way, advertised its facilities and was registered for VAT. (2) The firm's contention that C was not in occupation of the premises was quite impossible to maintain. The heart of the firm's case was that C could not satisfy s.23(1) and (2) of the Act as it could not distribute its profits. There was nothing in the Act or the authorities that justified such an approach. By s.23(2), the expression "business" included "any activity carried on by a body of persons". The extended definition of "business", as per the authorities, meant that many activities were entitled to protection even though they were not carried on commercially (Town Investments Ltd v Department of the Environment (1978) AC 359, Customs & Excise Commissioners v Lord Fisher (1981) 2 All ER 147, In Re Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England & Wales (1888) 22 QBD 279 considered). (3) The activity carried on by C at the premises was carried on with a view to making profit and it was carried on as a trading activity.Order accordingly.

[2003] EWHC 3333 (Ch)

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