QUESTION 1 (40 marks)
Ellen is a graduate of The College of Alternative Medicine and is looking to start her own business. She decides to open a meditation studio and looks around the inner city suburb of Paddington for suitable premises. She eventually finds a perfect terrace house near to Oxford St. (the main street). The owner of the premises is willing to enter a 12 month lease however Ellen asks him to wait for a week so that she can check with the local council as to the suitability of her business.
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Ellen attends the council offices and goes to the counter marked “Business Inquiries”. She asks several questions of the council employee including a question about building work in the area. She says “my meditation studio requires a calm environment is there anything that could cause noise nearby?” The council officer is called away before being able to answer. When he returns he has a very quick look at the computer and says to Ellen “relax everything will be fine”. Ellen signs the lease the next day however within 2 weeks of opening the meditation studio she sees builders arrive next door. She asks one of them how long they will be working next door. The builder replies “It’s a big job, a total renovation. It should take at least 6 months”. Ellen tries to run her meditation studio but the noise from the building is too stressful on Ellen and her clients. In fact a month into the building Ellen is so stressed that she develops a nervous disorder that threatens her career in alternative medicine.
Discuss whether Ellen has a claim against the council in relation to the advice she received
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