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London Partner Roger Cohen was featured in an EGi article, first published Nov. 24 (paywalled), that looked at the use of property guardian schemes as a means of avoiding paying business rates on otherwise empty properties. The article focussed on a particular case involving a London Borough of Southwark property, Ludgate House. Southwark Council has asked the Court of Appeal to overturn a decision by the Upper Tribunal which found the owner of Ludgate House not liable to pay non-domestic rates due to the occupation of the property by a number of guardians. Reflecting on this, Cohen said, “The outcome before the Upper Tribunal suited the owner and disappointed the local authority responsible for collections. Ratepayers will be hoping that the Court of Appeal follows the reasoning of the Upper Tribunal.” He continued, “Nevertheless the Court of Appeal has an opportunity to hold that it is the council’s ability to charge empty rates that is in greater need of guarding.”

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