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Solicitors like Latin. Conveyancing Solicitors like one Latin phrase in particular, CAVEAT EMPTORThis means “Let the Buyer Beware!”

In English Law it is the responsibility of a purchaser to ascertain whether the property is structurally sound, whether there are any physical defects and also whether there are any legal issues. This means your seller is not necessarily legally obligated to reveal defects in the property.

Searches on the property you are buying

Searches are investigations that your Conveyancer carries out as part of their Conveyancing work.  They send a standard list of questions to certain authorities in order to obtain information about the property. The searches most commonly undertaken are:

Local Authority Search which gives information such as whether there have been any planning applications or building regulations applied for the property.  This can indicate whether the works done to the property were undertaken in accordance with statutory regulation.

A Water & Drainage Search shows whether the property is connected to proper drainage and a water supply.

Environmental Reports indicate whether the property is at risk of contamination, flooding, subsidence and other environmental factors.

A Mining Search may be required depending on the property’s location. You may need to have a coal, tin or some other kind of mining report undertaken to check that the property has not been adversely affected by past mining activities.


A Survey must be carried out by a surveyor.  It is not generally a legal requirement but is very much recommended.  A surveyor can check that the property is structurally sound, whether there are any defects and even give your Conveyancer some hints as to whether they need to look into a legal matter further. A surveyor will visit the property and see it physically, in person. Remember although a Survey is not a legal requirement, because of the Buyer Beware rule if you find something wrong with the property after completion, you’re stuck with fixing it yourself.

At Fidler & Pepper Solicitors we have our own search company so we can run the searches quickly alongside our conveyancing which makes the process much easier.

Get in touch – we can help or provide you with a quote

Take a look at our website if you would like a conveyancing quote, need more information or want to see our  frequently asked questions. If you would like to speak to one of our experienced team please call 01623 45 11 11.

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Employment    No Comments

When you mean what you say, are you saying what you mean? As the Mad Hatter told Alice, the two are not the same at all.

Businesses need to be careful when drawing up routine documents like contracts of employment to ensure that key words are clearly defined in the document itself, otherwise the courts may apply a meaning from normal modern usage that has a different outcome.

This is the message of two cases that have come before the Court of Appeal over the last few weeks.
In Owens v Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Beverley Owens was a qualified teacher who was employed to help special needs children to deal with their behavioural and emotional difficulties. Her contract of employment described her as a ‘specialist teacher counsellor’ but because she did not teach in a classroom, the Council transferred her from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme to the less generous Local Government Pension Scheme. When Ms Owens objected to this, the matter went all the way to the Court of Appeal.
Because the word ‘teacher’ was not defined in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme rules, the judges looked to the Oxford English Dictionary for a definition of the word. They decided that the words teach and teacher were not limited to teaching in a classroom and that the activities undertaken by Beverley Owens fell within the dictionary meaning of the word and that she was entitled to be reinstated in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

The meaning of a single word was equally important in R v Taylor where businessman Mr Taylor had been convicted in the Crown Court of falsifying his company’s books or papers, which is an offence under section 206 of the Insolvency Act 1986. The records that he had falsified were kept on computer and he appealed against his conviction on the basis that the company’s computer records were not ‘books and papers’ within the meaning of section 206.
The judges agreed that computer records were not paper, but held that the records could be described as ‘books’. They said that the expression books and paper should be given a practical meaning in line with present-day usage and practice, and that it would not be inconsistent to say that a company’s books were kept on computer.
Fidler & Pepper Solicitors say : “These cases give a strong message that the courts will not feel that they are restricted to a narrow, literal interpretation of words and phrases when interpreting documents and acts of Parliament. By adopting an up to date practical approach to language, the law will change and adapt as the language evolves.
“It certainly emphasises that businesses need to be careful when drawing up routine documents like contracts of employment. If a key word or phrase is given a certain meaning, then it’s crucial that the meaning is expressly defined in the document itself.”

Contact us for help and legal advice on HR and employment issues, we offer a 30 minute free consultation.

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