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Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics
David Sawtell

David Sawtell has won the Society of Legal Scholars Best Paper by a Doctoral Student at their 2021 Annual Conference. David’s paper, entitled ‘Injunctions, land and the cynical breach’, was given in the Property and Trusts subject section at their annual conference. The conference was held this year at Durham University in September 2021.


About the paper - ‘Injunctions, land and the cynical breach


In his paper, David notes that the Supreme Court in Lawrence v Fen Tigers [2014] UKSC 13 as well as the Court of Appeal in Ottercroft Ltd v Scandia Care Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 867 identify that the defendant’s motivation and knowledge when infringing a claimant’s property rights is highlighted an important factor in deciding whether or not to grant an injunction. Why this is the case, however, has not been precisely identified. David seeks to pinpoint the precise doctrinal rationale for the undoubted relevance of a defendant’s cynical breach. He argues that a defendant who infringes a claimant’s property rights deliberately and with a view to material gain assumes the risk the possible consequences of their actions, in the form of a court order to reverse the steps that they have taken. David considers the interplay between the defendant’s knowledge and motivation and the test of oppression, as well as how this insight can be applied to the Law Commission’s proposed draft Bill as part of its report, Rights to Light (2014) Law Com. 356.