Aby Smith


Litigation & Dispute Specialist

I have always had a keen interest in business and how businesses resolve problems, so law seemed a natural route for me to take. I obtained a degree in Law with German from University of Birmingham in 2009 as well as completing Legal Practice Course, and to date, I have 5 years post-qualification experience. 

My professional experience lies in defending national house builders against claims by consumers, working on collection of book debt ledgers for insolvency practitioners and the defence of contractors when workmanship is called into question. I have recovered debts for a wide variety of clients such as vehicle finance companies, solicitors, insolvency practitioners and large companies. As well as being able to provide a cost-effective solution to claims, I can be involved when a dispute arises to try to ensure that it is brought to a swift conclusion. I provide a full court-compliant debt recovery service from sending the initial letter of claim, through advocacy at small claims hearings through to enforcement of any Judgment as well as general commercial and private disputes.

I joined Legal Studio because I saw this as a way of running my own business and practising law on my terms. There is so much flexibility available to me and I really enjoy the like-mindedness of the people I work alongside. I enjoy playing squash 5 times a week, open water swimming, doing the odd bit of mountain biking and I am currently completing the Wainwrights in the Lake District. 

Specialist Areas of Interest

New-build housing

Transfer Fees

Debt Recovery

Contract Disputes

Aby's Latest Blogs

Have you taken stock of how many invoices you have outstanding recently, and how old the invoices are?
Many businesses can have quite a shock at how much money they are owed in uncollected invoices but cannot commit the time to chasing them whilst meeting other business demands.
Credit Control systems can take time to put in place and monitor effectively, but without them, you may be allowing money owed to your business to simply disappear. Debt collectors are often ineffective as their letters are either ignored (as people realise that they rarely follow up with a court claim); or result in a breakdown of relationship with a client who may have provided further work.
If you feel that things are starting to spiral out of control in relation to your debt recovery procedures, why not speak to one of our experts at Legal Studio who will be happy to discuss any book debts with you and provide advice on credit control from a legal perspective going forward.
Please contact Aby Smith for further information at aby.smith@legalstudio.co.uk or 0113 357 3207.
2018 27 08
Aby Smith
Buying land with the benefit of planning permission can bring with it unexpected difficulties when the subsequent development is not carried out by the party who initially obtained the planning permission. Take a look at Lindsay Dixon’s advice to make sure the line is drawn correctly…

The case of Signature Realty Limited -v- Fortis Developments Limited highlighted the importance of obtaining an assignment of the copyright, or a licence to use, the Architect’s drawings that formed the basis of the planning permission to avoid infringing copyright in those drawings.

Signature Realty was a property developer which obtained planning permission for a block of flats based on drawings prepared by an Architect, but was then unable to secure finance to purchase the site and complete the project. The site was therefore sold to Fortis. Planning permission had been granted on the condition that the development was completed in accordance with the Architect’s drawings, which had been published on the local authority planning portal with a copyright notice. Signature Realty issued proceedings against Fortis for infringement of the copyright in the drawings.

The drawings had been used by Fortis for marketing the properties, tendering, producing AutoCAD versions and constructing the building. The Court held that there was sufficient intellectual skill in the drawings for copyright to exist and that Fortis had in fact infringed the copyright in the drawings.

The Court did not accept that Fortis had an implied licence from the Architect to use the drawings on the basis that they had paid a premium for the planning permission. Simply, Fortis had not engaged the Architect and it had not bought the land from the copyright owner.

The Court ordered an enquiry as to damages or an account of profits. The Court did not consider it appropriate to award additional damages under section 97(2) Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as there had not been a flagrant infringement and the benefit gained had not been as a direct result of the copyright infringement.

Ordinarily, in a situation such as this, the site owner will instruct the Architect to prepare design drawings before selling the site to a third party with an implied licence to use the drawings to complete the works required on the site to comply with the planning permission. In this case, however, the property developer who commissioned the drawings and obtained the planning permission was not the original land owner or the developer who built the building. Accordingly, they did not have any implied licence which they could transfer when they sold the land and therefore the copyright in the Architect’s drawings was infringed.
2017 25 25
Aby Smith