Host wins right to fight Marston's bill

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: High court, Appeal, Marston

Charman: won appeal in High Court last Wednesday
Charman: won appeal in High Court last Wednesday
A licensee who formerly ran around 150 pubs for Marston's has won a High Court appeal to continue his fight against a dilapidations bill of...

A licensee who formerly ran around 150 pubs for Marston's has won a High Court appeal to continue his fight against a dilapidations bill of £123,000.

Mark Charman has also won the right to pursue a counter claim against Marston's for misrepresenting the potential of the pubs he ran.

Charman — formerly Marston's largest multiple retailer with around 30 pubs at any one time, around 2% of its estate — exited the last of the pubs in January 2007.

He was left facing a dilapidations bill of £123,000, and further amounts for beer and back rent. Charman claimed this was "excessive", saying the dilapidations figure was just £583.

Proceedings reached a standstill when Judge Brown at Birmingham Priory Court last October asked Charman to pay £93,000 to the court within seven days, later extended to 21 days, to continue the case or face having his defence and counter claim struck out.

Charman, who claims to have spent over £100,000 on the case to date and now represents himself, was appealing against this payment in the High Court.

He said this would make him bankrupt. His wife Jayne was given permission to speak on his behalf in court.

In summary, Lord Justice Rix said the judge had acted within his powers but had effectively passed a summary judgement by imposing the payment, which he may have seen as a form of security against costs.

"Either way the judge was not acting fairly and appropriately within his case management powers," he said. "The use of those powers in this case was disproportionate and it might be added unhelpful to (Mr Charman's) pursuit of litigation."

He added: "It was, in effect, unfair pressure on Mr Charman to bring his defence and counter claim to a halt."

The Charmans were awarded £1,000 in costs. The case will now return to the courts in Birmingham.

Related topics: Legislation, Marston's

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