Higgs & Sons Property Litigator to take on business rates disputes

16th August 2018

Higgs & Sons Property Litigator to take on business rates disputes

A test case by Wigan Athletic, challenging the business rates they have to pay following relegation, has been dismissed.

In the space of three seasons, the football club dropped from the Premier League to League One, before ultimately being promoted back to the Championship in 2017/2018 after a further spell in League One in between. The club maintained that their relegations constituted a ‘material change of circumstance’ entitling them to lower business rates.

The case was dismissed, however, with the President of the Valuation Tribunal for England acknowledging that although relegation did impact on finances, it did not constitute a material change in circumstances - because the stadium did not change physically.

Such legal disputes over business rates are a specialist field, and to reflect this growth area, Black Country law firm Higgs & Sons has recently brought in a property litigator who has experience in this area of law.

Peter Humpherson was originally called to the Bar in 2005 before cross-qualifying as a solicitor in 2012. For seven years he represented many prominent clients in Court hearings as a freelance advocate, before both District and Circuit Judges. Peter also worked on a case ultimately being decided in the Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court. Peter joined Higgs & Sons’ specialist property litigation department in January 2018.

Peter said: “My experiences allow me to provide practical advice as to how disputes may play out in Court, and I am more than happy to represent my clients in Court hearings where possible.

“Disputes over rates and rateable values are very often contentious and emotive, and litigation experience is often key to a successful outcome.

I was recently instructed on a contentious business rates matter where the sum involved was almost £500,000 and following a Court hearing and sustained period of negotiations, the outcome for my client was extremely favourable.”

Wigan Athletic are likely to appeal the decision.

For further information or advice on rateable values, please contact Peter Humpherson at Higgs & Sons on 0345 111 5050.


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