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In the Spring edition of Informer, we wrote about the uncertainties that can so easily arise when serving notices. 

The recent case of Freetown Limited v Assethold Limited confirms how careful a party serving a notice must be.  The dispute involved notices served under the Party Walls etc Act 1996.  The dispute was resolved when the surveyor issued an award dated 22 July 2011.  It was sent by post to the parties, arriving on 25 July.  Freetown lodged an appeal on 8 August.

The strict time limit for appealing an award is 14 days “beginning with the day on which an award… is served".  What was the date of service: the date of posting (in which case the appeal was out of time) or the date of receipt (in which case the appeal was in time)?   The court held that the date of service by post was the date of posting (not the date of receipt).  Therefore, the appeal was out of time. 

As ever, great care needs to be taken to ensure that notices are served in time.  Do take advice to ensure that good notice is given. 

Antony Phillips is a partner in the Property Litigation group at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP.

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