A University of Southampton Law Lecturer has won a legal battle against his brother over his right to sell a flat owned by the two of them.
Filip Saranovic, a 29 year-old Maritime Law Lecturer at the University of Southampton, has managed to secure a victory in Central London County Court over his brother Nikola, 41 year-old Tesco security guard, to sell the £750,000 property.
The ruling comes after the two brothers purchased the property in June 2014 with money that they received from their mother. Filip drafted the contract agreement between the two brothers which he discussed with Nikola in a local Costa before it was signed.
The London Evening Standard reports that Filip allegedly omitted to inform Nikola of a clause in the contract that allowed for either party to force through the sale of the property unilaterally after one year.
A Judge has ruled that the house can go on the market within one month, giving Nikola, his wife Bojana and their four-year-old daughter time to “adjust to the idea” of leaving their home. He also ruled that he would consider a written plea for reduction of Nikola’s legal costs from their current status of £200,000.
The Legal Battle
Nikola challenged his brother Filip, claiming that his younger brother, who was educated at both Cambridge and Harvard University, had taken advantage of him.
His Honour Judge Michael Berkley, presiding over the case, agreed that Nikola “had no express knowledge” of the sale clause and had relied on his brother “to explain that important part of the transaction”. Judge Berkley, however, ruled that Filip had “done nothing wrong” and that Nikola, who is “not a details man”, had not paid enough attention to the papers he was signing.
Judge Berkley found Filip had lived up to the “duty of candour” he owed to his brother and was entitled to expect Nikola would take independent advice before agreeing to the terms of the contract.
Martin Young, representing Nikola, told the Evening Standard:
“What Nikola wanted all along was to keep the home that he thought would be his for as long as he wanted it…”
“Filip knew that Nikola was relying on him to know the nature of the document he was signing. He thought the money was going to buy a home for him and his family for the foreseeable future.”
Jonathon Upton on the other hand, representing Filip, told the Evening Standard:
“Nikola didn’t ask anyone to explain [the deed] to him. He didn’t read the covering letter. He didn’t take any care.”
The University of Southampton declined to comment on the matter.