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Who Represents Who

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The team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP sits ‘at the top of the pile’ following the merger between legacy firms Berwin Leighton Paisner and Bryan Cave. Akhil Markanday took over as practice head from the ‘hugely experienced’ Wendy Miller and ‘masterfully knowledgeable’ Roger Cohen who both remain active. The group excels in rating law, rights of light work and rent reviews and is praised for its ‘partner-led approach’, which is supplemented by ‘good use of junior and support members to maximise efficiency’. Cohen recently deployed his ‘specific and learned expertise’ in the Court of Appeal, representing Tesco in a case related to the rates liabilities arising from ATM machines. In a further highlight, Markanday is advising Heathrow Airport in regard to the occupation of sites adjacent to the airport by a protest group.  Newly promoted partner Rashpal Soomal is also recommended, as is Michael Metliss for his work on asset management issues.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Maples Teesdale

The only property law firm you’ll ever need. Maples Teesdale dispute resolution department advises on the full range of property, construction and general commercial litigation services. The team regularly works with clients on service charge disputes, rights of light issues, rent reviews, dilapidations, planning disputes and enforcement of lending obligations.

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The team at CMS delivers a service ‘substantially ahead of others in this field’. Practice head Danielle Drummond-Brassington is a ‘joy to deal with’ and has a strong reputation for advising on contentious issues. She has been active in consulting various high-profile clients on fire prevention following events at Grenfell Tower. In another highlight, Julie Gattegno has been acting for Elmfield Road in a Court of Appeal case. The matter raises the question of the interpretation of an obvious mistake in a rent review provision. The team members are ‘very skilled lawyers and completely au fait with the legal position on a wide range of matters’. Marcus Barclay is praised for his ‘enormous experience, knowledge and tactical insights’ and Nick Lloyd is also recommended, particularly for his rights of light work. Notable clients include Hilton Worldwide, Sainsbury’s and M&G.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP delivers an ‘excellent service’ with ‘timely responses’ and ‘fantastic sector knowledge’. Practice head Will Densham is singled out as ‘one of the few genuine specialists in rent review work’ and his team also has expertise in insolvency matters and dilapidation disputes. The department has added Shell and Canary Wharf Group to its list of clients and Densham continues to advise Chelsea FC on the development restrictions and planning elements arising from the £1b re-development of Stamford Bridge stadium. Kate Poole has also been involved in the matter and is praised as being ‘on par with the best for high end property disputes’. In another highlight for the team, the ‘excellent researcher’ Stuart Wortley has been acting for Manchester United FC and The Shard in an effort to tackle the developing trend of dangerous activities being filmed on the rooftops of iconic buildings. John Kemkers and Heather Tomlinson  are recommended while Polly Laycock departed to DAC Beachcroft LLP .

Hogan Lovells International LLP offers a ‘top tier experience from a client perspective’ with ‘leading experts providing excellent quality advice’. The group is ‘undoubtedly at the top’ and has added British Land to a list of clients including Qatari Diar and the Crown Estate. The ‘astute tactician’ Nicholas Cheffings is ‘head and shoulders above any other property litigator’ and leads the team together with the ‘young and energetic, leader in his field’ Mathew Ditchburn. Cheffings and senior associate Paul Tonkin are ‘the best in class on rent reviews’ while Ditchburn specialises in insolvency-related matters. His recent work includes acting for a number of institutional landlords in a notable case for CVAs which resulted from the liquidation of BHS Limited. The group also represented the Libyan Investment Authority in a case of false representation for land stated to be valued at £21m. Tim Reid is recommended for his ‘very good technical knowledge’ as is Katie Dunn who is praised as an ‘iron first in a velvet glove’.

Mishcon de Reya LLP is reputed for its significant trial experience. The team is praised for its ‘commercial awareness as well as technical excellence’ across commercial and residential disputes, with Daniel Levy and the Joanna Lampert forming a ‘dynamic and ruthless’ duo.  Levy heads the team, which serves as sole property litigation counsel for TK Maxx across its 280 UK stores. Levy and the ‘unrivaled’ Emma MacIntyre are acting for Capital & Counties Properties on a number of opposed lease renewals at the client’s Covent Garden property portfolio. Sarah Heritage is recommended for her work on commercial landlord and tenant disputes and Chhavie Kapoor has ‘great rights of light experience’. Mark Reading is cited as ‘a superstar in the making’.

Iain Travers leads the team at Ashurst which has been bolstered by the arrival of Alison Hardy from Squire Patton Boggs. Hardy has specific expertise in PropTech and is also regularly instructed by property businesses and corporate occupiers. She was recently successful in defending client Zinc Cobham in a High Court matter which involved a specific performance claim of £100m. Other highlights included Hardy acting for Hudson Advisors in a 1.5m dilapidations claim and Travers acting on a substantial case for Mapeley STEPS. Mapeley STEPS represents the UK government and the matter relates to the breach of a services obligation and a counterclaim for an unpaid service charge. Kimberley Sheppard also arrived from Squire Patton Boggs.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's team of 'talented people' can 'hold their own against other heavyweight firms' and 'has both strength and depth in the area of property litigation'. The department excels at leasehold enfranchisement, the telecommunications sector and acting for commercial investor and develop clients. Robert Highmore leads a team that includes the 'outstanding' and 'extremely practical' Emma Humphreys who 'understands not only legal complexities but also the commercial drivers of her clients'. In a recent highlight, the team acted for Howard de Walden Estates Limited in a collective enfranchisement claim valued at 20m. Other notable clients include Aberdeen Standard Investments, London & Cambridge Properties Limited and Church Commissioners for England. James Souter is 'experienced and enthusiastic', particularly in relation to enfranchisement.

Dentons has a ‘well-resourced and supportive team’ which is ‘knowledgeable, careful and excellent at strategic judgement’. The team is acclaimed ‘particularly for its development work’, its ‘handling of property issues with significant planning or other public-law dimensions’ and its ‘vast knowledge in the law of rating’. The group recently acted for The City of London Corporation and London Borough of Southwark in a successful Court of Appeal case against Transport for London regarding highway ownership. In a separate Court of Appeal matter, the team is acting for Sainsbury’s in a matter relating to business rates arising from the ATMs located within the client’s stores. Insolvency is a further area of focus for the team which has been representing Cerberus in ongoing possession proceedings for 16 properties. Bryan Johnston is one of the ‘leading names in property litigation’ and heads a team ‘extremely client focused and attentive to client needs’. Partner David Payton is ‘very approachable and easy to work with’ and ‘has a good mind for tactics’.

The ‘bright, enthusiastic and fun’ team at DLA Piper has core strengths in development litigation, rights of light and urgent possession proceedings. Practice head Ian Brierley is acting for Telereal Trillium in relation to the use and occupation of the 600 properties which form its PRIME Government Real Estate portfolio. In a further highlight, senior associate Alasdair Thomas was part of a team that advised Royal Mail Group on the development and sale of its Mount Pleasant sorting office to Taylor Wimpey. The team also continues to act for Aroland in relation to their project to develop London’s tallest building. Planning permission has been obtained and Brierley has given further advice on rights to light issues. James MacDonald-Pearce joined the group from KWM Europe LLP.

Fieldfisher is ‘excellent in the field of property litigation’ with clients including Nike, Imperial College London and H&M. Partner Owen Talfan Davies is a ‘star in this field’ and recently acted for INEOS Shale to obtain interim injunctions for protests targeting the client's hydraulic fracturing process. Another injunction related case saw the team representing Vastint UK in preventing the ‘world at large’ from entering or remaining at Strand East, a 26 acre development site in Stratford. Antony Phillips heads the group and he and Lesley Webber are praised for possessing ‘leading property litigation capability’. Phillips specialises in dilapidations while Webber was recently instructed by the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy for her expertise in rent reviews. Lucie-Anne Rhodes joined the team from Hamlins LLP.

The team at Forsters LLP offers ‘cost-effective advice and solutions’ and delivers ‘excellent service levels and response times’. The group specialises in forfeiture, rent arrears, dilapidations claims, lease renewals and service charge disputes. The team is praised for being ‘highly knowledgeable’ and is headed by Natasha Rees who together with Amy Jackson, is praised for being ‘extremely pleasant’ and having ‘particularly good client relationships’. Senior associates Charlotte Ross and Anna Mullins  are also singled out by clients. Ross is described as ‘a natural property litigator’ and Mullins is ‘very clever and delightful to deal with’. Partner Ben Barrison is ‘very competent in forming the strategy for securing the best outcome’ while Emma Gosling is recommended for lease renewals and recovery of possession from squatters. Will Leney arrived from Cripps LLP while Lucy Zaremba joined from Edwin Coe LLP. Rosalind Cullis departed to Kingsley Napley LLP.

The team at Gowling WLG is headed by Martin Thomas who is a specialist in negligence, contract claims, business rates and CPO compensation. The team is acting for Performance Retail in a High Court claim relating to the breach of an agreement for lease. In another highlight for the group, rights to light expert Anne Waltham is acting for client MORI in a large-scale dilapidations claim. Clive Chalkley is recommended and recently acted for Bellway Homes on a 40m Specific Performance Claim. Other clients include the Crown Estate, Sainsbury’s and BAE Pension Funds. Charlotte Tyfield has expertise in lease renewals.

The ‘outstandingly professional’ team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is noted for its ‘strength and depth of talent’. Headed by the ‘calm and authoritative’ Matthew Bonye, the group recently acted for Canary Wharf in the settlement of a £500m claim for rent and damages against the Lehman Brothers. Bonye has also been advising British Land on potential issues of rights to light at a development site neighboured by over 120 freeholds and leaseholds. Julia Tobbell is cited for her ‘remarkable intellect’ as is the ‘brilliant and charming’ Matthew Weal. Martin Dawbney is recommended for his advice on large-scale developments and Tom Leech QC has expertise in professional negligence. The ‘sparkling and wonderful’ Frances Edwards and the ‘energetic and perceptive’ Stephanie Trompeter are also singled out for praise by clients.

Pinsent Masons LLP's ‘excellent’ and ‘very proactive’ team is an ‘established serious player in the national market’, ‘on par with the best for high-end development work’. The department is also well-regarded for its rights of lights work and energy related property disputes. Siobhan Cross is ‘on top of the detail and extremely diligent’ and jointly heads the team together with Melissa Thompson. Rhiannon Saunders has joined from RPC and Laura Mortimer joined from Maples Teesdale LLP. Joe Parnis has re-joined the team from Mishcon de Reya LLP and Dianne Adams is another new arrival from KWM Europe LLP. The firm has been instructed by owners of property adjacent to Stamford Bridge in an injunction claim resulting from the proposed development of the stadium and subsequent rights of light issues. Thompson has also been acting for INEOS Upstream Limited in a first of its kind case for shale drilling rights. Clients include prominent institutional property investors and estates such as Legal & General, Royal London and the Portman Estate.

The team at Allen & Overy LLP is headed by the ‘highly rated’ Jane Fox-Edwards and has core strengths in high-value investment, development of real estate and insolvency related issues. The firm also offers niche expertise in relation to headquarter relocation and the Telecoms Code. Fox-Edwards and senior associate Lucy Grey have been instructed by various landlords for strategic advice following the insolvencies of Toys R Us, BHS and House of Fraser. The group is also representing Uniper UK in regard to the legal status of two jetties in the mouth of the river Medway. In a further highlight, Grey is representing leaseholds who have lost their property interests as a result of the fire at Grenfell Tower.

Boodle Hatfield LLP has ‘a very shrewd and experienced team’ with ‘great strength in depth’. Hailed as ‘experts’ in the field of leasehold enfranchisement, the team is headed by the ‘completely unflappable’ Colin Young who is ‘personable, intelligent and a pleasure to deal with’. The group also has expertise in basement developments, restrictive covenants and the question of whether a property qualifies as a house. Senior associate Kellie Jones is ‘experienced, very sharp, knowledgeable and charming’ while Andrew Hindle is also recommended for rent recovery and neighbour disputes. Grosvenor, IBM UK Pension Fund and Bedford Estates are also clients.

The ‘excellent’ team at Clifford Chance LLP ‘shows a real understanding of the subject matter’ and advises clients with ‘clear strategic views’. Ben Hatton leads the team and is ‘capable of handling the biggest disputes’ with ‘good experience for all types of property work’. The team ‘acts for some big players in the property market’ and attracts ‘extremely interesting cases, many of which are very high-value’. Areas of expertise for the firm includes professional negligence, rights of light work, rent reviews and property-related insolvency. The team recently acted for Saxon Land BV on rights of lights issues relating to a high-value redevelopment. In another highlight, Hatton and the ‘strong and strategic’ Adam Eagle have been acting for Horizon Nuclear Power to prevent squatters and trespassers at the client’s power stations. Senior associate Jane O’Leary is recommended for insolvency-related disputes. Iain Roxborough retired.

The team at Clyde & Co LLP offers ‘user-friendly, efficient and practical’ advice across a full range of landlord and tenant work. Practice head Keith Conway will ‘always go the extra mile’ and provides ‘vast experience and measured advice’. Conway is acting on a multi-jurisdictional dispute where an individual shareholder attempted to sell a valuable property without the consent of Conway's clients who have a 50% share of the owning corporation. In another highlight, the team is acting for Pembury Hotels in a case where a family dispute has led to competing claims for high-value leasehold interests. The firm have added Arriva Rail, C & J Clark International and Metropolitan Properties to a list of clients which includes Molyneux Investments and Native Land. Tim Foley joined Fladgate LLP.

The team at DAC Beachcroft LLP is regularly instructed for residential development disputes, retail and shopping center management and commercial property portfolio management. Practice head Guy Knight and senior associate Jonathan Smith are hailed as ‘the Batman and Robin of property litigation’ and the wider team is praised as being ‘extremely talented with superb clients’. Joanna Christou is a key member of the group which has been bolstered by the arrival of Ellen La from Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP. Knight has recently been acting for Sydney Road Developments to obtain vacant possession of a development site tenanted by a number of commercial tenants. The firm has also acted for Royal London, advising them on the significance of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 on their £2.7bn UK property fund. Other clients include the NHS and Lloyd’s of London.

Edwin Coe LLP's ‘excellent’ team is ‘exemplary in all aspects’, providing a service which is ‘absolutely committed to helping and serving the client’s best interest’. Highlights included a dilapidations claim valued at £500,000 and a High Court claim for Hawksford Group where a breach of trust was claimed for sums paid out totaling $10,000,000. Practice head Joanna Osborne is ‘knowledgeable and a tenacious force to be reckoned with’ and is often instructed in relation to property portfolios. Partner Shams Rahman is an ‘excellent property litigator’ who ‘builds a good rapport with his clients’ and has a ‘good feel for tactics and strategy’ in litigation. Lucy Zaremba  left to join Forsters LLP while Nida Khan  and Tim Clarke joined from RPC and Lee Bolton Monier-Williams.

Farrer & Co ‘has a strong property litigation department, with excellent breadth and depth of knowledge’. The firm has ‘a growing practice with a large number of private clients’ and ‘ensures that their clients are provided with a top-quality service’. Siobhan Jones heads the department and delivers ‘excellent strategic and knowledgeable advice and direction to a case’ while ‘building excellent relationships with clients’. Jones is currently defending Holy Cross Sisters Trustees who are accused of deceitfully withholding information in a Court of Appeal planning application. The group has particular strength in representing high-net-worth individuals, contract interpretation and high-value dilapidations. Jo Ord is ‘technically very able’ and Graham Anderson is an ‘extremely effective and thoughtful solicitor’. Partner Adrian Parkhouse is also recommended and focuses on construction disputes. Clients include The British Museum, Diageo and the Duchy of Cornwall.

Fladgate LLP provides an ‘excellent legal service augmented by a real commercial understanding of the sector and client needs’. Thekla Fellas has expertise on the Electronic Communications Code and heads a team with ‘particular strength in substantial landlord and tenant disputes including the retail and leisure sectors’. Fellas is representing Point West GR Limited in a high-value service charge dispute at a building containing 399 residential units. Another highlight saw Alison Mould acting for the Trustees of the first Lord Brocket in relation to disrepair issues and various breaches of a tenant covenant at a Grade 1 listed estate. Tim Foley's arrival from Clyde & Co LLP has bolstered the group which also consists of Janet Keeley who is ‘analytical, thorough and very robust’ and Jonathan Hibberts who ‘always goes the extra mile to deliver for his clients’.

Hamlins LLP has a ‘fabulous team of property litigators’ who ‘regularly exceed lay clients’ expectations and are a joy to work with’. Practice head Kate Andrews is ‘a driven litigator’ with ‘an extraordinary depth of legal knowledge’. She regularly handles leasehold covenants, dilapidations, rent reviews and service charges. The group includes principal associate Sarah Finch who ‘combines good technical expertise with a sound commercial understanding’ and specialises in leasehold enfranchisement and rights to manage. Andrews recently acted for client Lunar Retail in a Court of Appeal matter pertaining to the interpretation of alienation provisions in a lease. The team has a noteworthy history of being instructed on Court of Appeal and High Court matters and is handling another case in the former.  Client Triplark is claiming forfeiture of a residential lease due to a breach of an alienation covenant. Other clients include the National Car Park, M&M Asset Management and Apollo Global Real Estate Management.

Howard Kennedy LLP is a ‘strong performer’ that ‘provides an exemplary service’. The practice is led by Amanda McNeil who has an ‘impressive knowledge of the finer points of law’ and is ‘very good with clients, not giving in easily’. McNeil has particular expertise in leasehold enfranchisement, service charge disputes, rent recovery, covenants and possession proceedings. She has also been advising on an increasing number of CVAs. Other areas of focus for the firm include vacant possession, rights to light and contentious business lease renewals. Michele Freyne is ‘excellent and highly recommended', Simon Taylor is ‘redoubtable’ and Lara Nyman ‘ably assists’ the team. Ballymore Properties, Pandora and Business Environment Offices are among the team’s clients. Daniel Swimer joined Joelson.

The ‘efficient and effective litigators' at Lewis Silkin LLP have experience in dilapidations, break clauses, property insolvency and lease renewals. Dilapidations are a particular specialism for practice head Brian Kilcoyne and Mario Betts who both provide ‘able and safe litigation hands’. The pair recently deployed their expertise for client MullenLowe on a dilapidations claim amounting to 1.5m. Other highlights include acting for Pizza Express on a contentious renewal and obtaining an injunction for Canada Goose against protesters who oppose the sale of fur at the client’s store in Regent Street. Other clients include Harrods, Network Homes Limited and Notting Hill Housing Group. Paul Hayes is head of the housing litigation team and assists clients with housing management issues.

Linklaters LLP has core strengths in crisis management, reputational issues and insolvency. The practice is ‘capable of running the very biggest litigation’ and provides a ‘top-notch quality service to clients’. Frances Richardson heads the team and is praised for his ‘thoroughness’ and ‘very hands on’ approach. Highlights included acting for PEC Oxford Limited in a High Court challenge of a rent review arbitration reward and advising PEC Parkfield Limited on the proposed redevelopment of a central London shopping centre. The group is also defending administrators who are subject to a claim of £120m for a breach of duty when selling a portfolio of central London properties. Partner consultant Katie Bradford is ‘extremely good at providing high level directional advice’ while managing associate Chris Stevenson is also recommended.

Maples Teesdale LLP has ‘good talented people’ who deliver ‘very strong advice in a personable and enjoyable way’. The ‘prompt partner led service’ is headed by Dellah Gilbert and Michael Kilner who is praised for his ‘clear and measured strategic advice'. The group is acting for The Cavendish in a Supreme Court case relating to the interpretation of a landlord’s intention to redevelop. Other highlights included advising Aberdeen Standard on a potential multi-million pound redevelopment scheme at the Riverside Centre and an instruction from the United States of America pertaining to the relocation of their UK embassy. New clients include Maslow 2 Limited, Tristan Capital Partners and Bywater Properties. The group is highly regarded for insolvency issues, dilapidations, business tenancy reviews and rent reviews. Tom Mills arrived from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Osborne Clarke LLP's ‘excellent’ practice specialises in development litigation, rights to light issues and is increasingly a choice for power and utilities companies. Practice head Gary Lawrenson and senior associate Donal Kelly are ‘excellent in thinking outside the box’. Lawrenson is acting in a Supreme Court matter where a neighbouring property claims the right to use certain facilities at a hotel belonging to client Summit Developments. Other highlights include representing Student Castle in High Court interim injunction proceedings and acting on a breach of contract claim which was referred to the Court of Appeal. Associate director Carl Roche is ‘diligent and helpful’ and has particular expertise in property issues encountered in the energy sector.

Pemberton Greenish LLP is among the firms that ‘dominate high end leasehold enfranchisement and residential management’. The team is led by Kerry Glanville, who is well-regarded for her work on landlord and tenant litigation, lease variations, restrictive covenants and rent reviews. Laura Southgate is an important member of the team and has expertise on trespassers and squatters, nuisance and negligence claims and insolvency. Additional core strengths for the team include service charge disputes and easements.

Reed Smith LLP has ‘a highly skilled team that keeps itself up to date on the law’ and provides ‘a first-rate service for clients’. The group possesses ‘an extraordinary depth of knowledge on service charge and dilapidations’ and advises on all types of ‘high-value, complex issues’. The team is led by Katherine Campbell who ‘constantly brings a wise head and a keen eye to difficult legal disputes’. Campbell was recently successful in defending a client in a claim totaling £100m for alleged fraud and conspiracy in the sale of properties. Further highlights included a favourable outcome in a service charge claim valued at £1.2m and the handling of a case which involved the enforcement of a £12m agreement for sale of a development site. Associate Lynsey Ellard’s ‘eye for detail is an invaluable skill’ and Andrew Jenkinson is ‘a class act, technically very sound and a great communicator’.

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP's team is ‘tenacious and determined in achieving the best possible outcome for clients’. The group has a ‘loyal group of major landlord clients’ and has ‘a particularly strong grip on commercial land and tenant related issues’. Partners Rudi Ramdarshan, David Burns and Jonathan Roberts jointly lead the practice which has core strengths in dilapidations, tenancy renewals, construction disputes, rights to light and enfranchisement. The ‘tactically very astute’ Ramdarshan and Burns ‘work around the clock to maintain an ever-increasing practice’. Associate solicitor Laura Gomme is ‘client focused, pragmatic and one to watch for the future’. The team has been bolstered by the arrivals of Irina Apekisheva from Howard Kennedy LLP, Benjamin Frost from Gordon Dadds LLP and Jonathan Chan from Maxwell Alves.  In a recent highlight, the team successfully represented EHDI International in a complex commercial forfeiture case.

The team at Stephenson Harwood is ‘very knowledgeable and its relationship with clients is excellent’. The ‘shrewd and determined’ Andrew Myers leads a group that delivers ‘a proactive approach and fine eye for detail’. Myers is dual-qualified as a barrister and is advocating for client Sovereign Property Holdings in a high value overage claim in the Court of Appeal. A separate Court of Appeal matter saw the team acting for Generator Developments in a claim against Lidl for failing to honour a joint venture agreement. Partner Sophie Schultz is ‘fiercely intelligent, hugely knowledgeable and has great instincts in litigation’. Together with Myers she is advising the Royal College of Art on obtaining vacant possession of a site recently purchased for the development of a £108m campus. Associate William Payne 'is quick to get to grips with even very difficult and complex issues'. Rights of light and development and construction nuisance are core strengths for the firm.

Saleem Fazal ‘skillfully manages a team of property litigators’ at Taylor Wessing LLP. The practice 'handles a wide variety of property-related disputes’ including vacant possession strategies, rights of light, dilapidations claims, service charge disputes and injunctions. Instructions from major real estate occupiers are frequent and new clients included Societe Generale and Great Portland Estate. Fazal is ‘a thoroughly nice man’ who is ‘cool, calm and forever collected’. The firm is advising on a vacant possession strategy and rights of light issues arising from the redevelopment of the St. John’s Wood Barracks. In a further highlight, Fazal acted for McLaren Property to recover payments owed pursuant to a conditional share sale and purchase agreement. Stephen Burke has joined the firm from VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards).

Trowers & Hamlins LLP has a team that is ‘solid and reliable´, providing ‘good cross-speciality integration’. Development-related advice is a general strength for the five-partner team while Nicholas Levy and Paul Marco are specialists in commercial property institutional investment. Michael Donnellan heads the team and leads on service charge related work. Leigh Shapiro is recommended for her expertise in residential leasehold law along with senior associate Rachel Kerr who specialises in commercial landlord and tenant disputes. Douglas Rhodes was promoted to partner and Daniel Banks is a recent arrival from Ashurst. Clients include Aviva, ExCel and CLS Risk Solutions.

Wallace LLP's ‘excellent property litigation’ team consists of ‘talented specialist lawyers and an excellent client base’. Simon Serota heads a ‘well run department’ which is cited by clients as a ‘market leader in leasehold enfranchisement’. Serota is an ‘out of the box thinker’ and ‘a true expert’ in his areas of specialisation which include landlord and tenant disputes, breaches of covenant, professional negligence and asset recovery. Partners Meera Patel and Samantha Bone are also singled out for praise by clients. Patel is ‘great with clients’ while Bone is ‘accessible and meticulous’, both are ‘very experienced and capable of handling large workloads efficiently and effectively’. Associates Fleur Neale and Shamin Kashem are respectively praised as ‘brilliant’ and ‘extremely able’. Other areas of focus for the firm are forfeiture, dilapidations, contentious lease renewals and tenant insolvency.

Wedlake Bell LLP is ‘consistently good for a range of property disputes’ including forfeiture and possession claims, 1954 Act business lease renewals and restrictive covenants. Typical clients are landlords, investors, occupiers, developers and insolvency practitioners including Hargreaves Developments, Manpower and CALA Homes. 'Excellent and highly recommended' practice head John Muncey recently handled a case for Fresh Wharf Estates Limited. Injunctions were obtained against boat owners who have moored their boats adjacent to the client’s land which is set to undergo a major residential development. In another highlight, Adam Colenso has deployed his ‘good legal mind, practical common sense and commercial approach’ in a deposit dispute for Maylands Capital Limited. A £750,000 lock out agreement was paid to the client as part of a £30m property purchase though the opposing party later claimed a right to return on the basis of a defect of title and structural defects. Chan D'Souza has retired.

Practice head Emma Chadwick ‘is building a very good team’ at Winckworth Sherwood LLP that ‘provides an excellent quality of service’. The group is ‘client focused and extremely commercial’ and has ‘an in-depth knowledge of telecommunications law’ with clients including the Mobile Broadband Network Limited. Development is another core strength for the firm which has ‘excellent work from developer and housebuilder clients’ such as Baratt and Redrow. Chadwick is unflappable, focused and extremely good with clients’ while senior associates Charlotte Coleman and Katy Humphrey are also singled out for recommendation by clients. Coleman has particular expertise on rights of light issues and Humphrey specialises in areas including insolvency, lease renewals and forfeiture. Tim Fogarty joined the firm from RPC where he was head of the real estate disputes team.

Addleshaw Goddard has ‘real strength in depth among partners and associates’, providing ‘timely responses’ and an ‘impressive quality of work’. The ‘great tactician’ Andrew Blower heads the team and ensures cases are ‘set up perfectly, on the front foot and in a commanding position’. He recently acted on a trust matter in the Court of Appeal pertaining to important points of contractual interpretation. Additional highlights included advising Tellon Capital on the proposed redevelopment of the former Bargate shopping centre and acting on lease and insolvency issues for a client occupying a facility with high-tech telecommunications equipment. Legal director Gregory Simms is a ‘real rising star’ who is ‘able to grasp complex issues very quickly with innovative thinking’. Development work is a key strength for the firm, particularly site clearance and rights of light. Marks & Spencer, British Land and GVC Holdings are new clients.

Paul Dunbar heads the group at Ashfords LLP and delivers ‘thorough and effective work’ for clients including the Corporation of London, Hastings Harbour Quarter and Maxwells Properties. Dunbar is leading on a Court of Appeal matter which raises the question as to whether a freehold company has the authority to consent to structural works on a property. Other highlights include acting for Harvey White Properties on rent arrears and forfeiture issues arising from the client's property portfolio and advising a client on issues stemming from mines and minerals rights. Partner Ken Smith has expertise on development schemes and dilapidations claims while associate Alison Oates specialises on lease renewals and adverse possession claims. Other core strengths for the team include commercial landlord and tenant matters, rent-reviews, professional negligence and collective enfranchisement claims.

Bircham Dyson Bell has a ‘clear, practical approach to resolving disputes’ and ‘looks for practical solutions to the client’s issues’. Simon Painter is ‘approachable with a good knowledge of the law’ and heads the practice which is regarded for its ‘flexibility, thoroughness and customer focus'. Painter recently handled a successful case in which a private individual brought a claim for noise nuisance and breach of covenant against a lessee at a high-value flat in Central London. A further highlight saw the team achieve a favourable outcome for a client involved in a dispute over a polo farm on the periphery of Buenos Aires. The matter was heard in the English courts though applied Argentinian law and pertained to the defendant's failure to transfer the land in question despite signing a contract. The team covers a wide spectrum of work and excels on leasehold enfranchisement, insolvency and professional negligence. Andrew Couch is a key member of the team and is experienced in compensation payments for compulsory purchases and land contamination.

Blake Morgan LLP has ‘lots of experience and some great lawyers in the team’. Advice is ‘always very concise and to the point’ and the team is praised for its ‘exceptional response times’ and ‘robust defence of their clients’. The group has been instructed in relation to a London development site where an attempt was made to fraudulently transfer ownership. The firm is typically instructed by investors and developers, landlords and tenants, retailers, high net-worth individuals and hotels. Notable clients include Tops Pizza, Meadow Partners and Dorrington. Erina Kourtis has joined the team from Taylor Wessing LLP while the ‘calm, knowledgeable and responsive’ Daniel Kidd heads the practice. Partners Claire Lamkin and David Wadsworth are singled out for praise by clients. Lamkin always ‘pushes to get the best commercial outcome’ and Wadsworth is ‘very robust in his approach’ and ‘a real pleasure to work with’.

Burges Salmon LLP ‘performs strongly in this practice area’ and ‘provides high quality commercial guidance’. The team is acting for Virgin in lease renewal proceedings which also involve decant and dilapidations considerations at a 1.5-acre grade II listed roof garden. A further highlight included an instruction from the University of Bristol in relation to the purchase of its Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus. Practice head Richard Bedford is ‘excellent at working to resolve disputes without recourse to unnecessary litigation’. Partner James Sutherland provides ‘clear succinct commercial advice which is of high quality’. Sutherland is experienced in leasehold and insolvency disputes and has acted for clients including The Crown Estate and the National Trust. Lucy Redman has joined the firm from Linklaters LLP.

Collyer Bristow LLP fields a team of ‘confident and experienced team members’ with particular expertise in covenant breaches, possession claims, service charge disputes and business lease renewals. The ‘well established and knowledgeable property litigation department’ is headed by the ‘amply experienced’ Michael Grace. Landlord and tenant disputes are a core focus for Grace who ‘has a knack of identifying the points of real importance in a case’ and is ‘well regarded in the industry’. The firm’s clients include William Pears, Crest Nicholson and The Bar Council. Grace is advising Cheval Residences in relation to their high-end property portfolio, matters include possession claims, nuisance matters and service charge disputes. Partner Paul Henson would be an ‘invaluable member of any legal team’ and is representing Chicago Leisure Limited in a complicated dispute of ownership which dates back to the 1800s and involves equitable defences. Rebecca Mitchell has joined the group from Mishcon de Reya LLP .

Real estate boutique Davitt Jones Bould has ‘an excellent reputation as one of the country’s best small-scale property solicitors’. The firm is ‘excellent in its knowledge of the public sector and its requirements’ and regularly acts for the Government and local authorities. Clients include the Cabinet Office, the Attorney General’s Office and numerous local councils such as Slough, Bristol, Leeds and Hertfordshire. The team is acting for the Royal Parks on matters such as licenses, removal of unauthorised occupants, personal injury liability and recovery of damages. Investors and developers are also common clients with notable examples being Squarestone Growth, Slough Asset Management and Thamesway Developments. Practice head Madeleine Davitt is a ‘superb tactician with boundless energy’ and other key names include Ted Dancey, Maeve Bonner and John Smith. Janani Puvi has joined the firm from Dewar Hogan.

The practice at Druces LLP is led by the ‘first rate analytical mind’ of Julian Johnstone who is praised for his ‘broad skill set’ and ‘practical and commercial advice’. The team is a ‘good, strong player in the market’ and offers a ‘forensic and insightful approach to any given dispute’. Johnstone has experience in landlord and tenant disputes, professional negligence and development issues. Senior associate Benjamin Lomer focuses on leasehold enfranchisement, forfeiture and possession proceedings and dilapidations. The team provides an ‘overall excellent level of service’ and is advising Topland Group and Enstar Capital on overage clauses and contractual provisions at a London development. The group is also acting for Henderson Global Investors in respect of its considerable central London office portfolio. Other clients include Gatwick Airport, Ratcliffes Surveyors and Aquila Developments. Michael Pidge is recommended.

Glovers Solicitors LLP has a team of ‘strong and highly skilled litigators in property’ who handle instructions ‘promptly and efficiently’. The firm is held in high regard in the casual dining sector with a client roster that includes Azzurri Restaurants, Nando’s and Gourmet Burger Kitchen. The ‘very thorough and analytical’ Edward Vaughan leads the group which has ‘an excellent understanding of restaurant property law’ and is acclaimed for its general ‘knowledge of the industry’. Vaughan along with the ‘unflappable and extremely attentive’ Kenny Friday are also well-regarded for their knowledge of the mortgage sector and take instructions from lender clients including Investec Bank and United Trust Bank. Highlights included dilapidations claims, covenant disputes and increasing number of insolvency matters.

The team at Goodman Derrick LLP has been acting for retailer Game on dilapidations claims and 1954 Act lease renewals. The commercial sector is a core strength of the group which has also been advising Simmons Bars on contentious issues including as applications for premises licenses. Craig Walker serves as practice head and specialises on commercial landlord and tenant issues. Partner Deborah Rider is a name to note and excels in relation to restrictive covenants, trespass and nuisance claims. Paul McAndrews is recommended and other areas of expertise for the group include leasehold enfranchisement, boundary disputes and forfeiture. Additional highlights included acting for FBN bank on loans secured by charges on residential property and advising QA Limited on its commercial property portfolio.

Gordon Dadds LLP is ‘strong on commercial aspects’ including dilapidations claims, rent reviews and service and break notices. The team acts for a number of retailers and restaurants as well as development and house building companies. Partner Adrian Bingham is ‘careful and measured’ and Ian Chappell is praised for his willingness for ‘aggressive’ case management. Clients include Berkeley Homes, Southbank Tower and the Ryman Group along with several public sector clients such as Covent Garden Market Authority and Kent County Council. Janet Ayres and Adrian Bingham are recommended while Adrian Griffiths specialises in enfranchisement claims. Justin Neal heads the Real Estate practice.

The team at JPC Law is ‘outstanding’ with ‘great depth of knowledge’. Practice head Yashmin Mistry has a ‘great overview of the law’ and leads a team ‘good enough to handle serious and heavyweight litigation. Residential leasehold litigation is an area of expertise for the group which is also developing a reputation for acting on property fraud cases. Partners Steven Ross and Niten Chauhan recently led a Court of Appeal case in which a fraudulent seller had been paid over £1m for a property by client P&P. The solicitors who acted for the fraudulent seller were held to be in breach of trust on the basis that upon receiving payment, they transferred the money to their client as opposed to the genuine owner of the property. Ross is ‘phenomenal at getting results for his clients’ and Chauhan is ‘an extremely diligent and capable lawyer’.

Macfarlanes LLP fields a team that is ‘hard to beat for drive, experience and results’ and offers ‘excellent practical legal advice’. An ‘exceptional practitioner’, Doug Wass leads a team that regularly acts on development agreements, landlord and tenant insolvency, boundary and party wall disputes, overage provisions and professional negligence. The firm has added Realstar, Chester Race Company and Sirsi Dynix to a list of clients which includes Legal & General Brrokfield and Canary Wharf. Wass recently acted on a claim against Esso where oil had escaped from a pipeline at an estate which was shortly to be sold. In another highlight, the group is defending Glenside Holdings in a claim of beneficial ownership for a high-value residential estate in Oxfordshire. Senior counsel Mark Lawrence is praised by clients for being ‘knowledgeable and clear in his advice’.

Memery Crystal LLP handles ‘high quality property work of all types: from adverse possession claims to restrictive covenants and everything in between’. The group is praised for its ‘depth of knowledge in property litigation’ and for providing ‘good advice in a respectable, timely manner’. St. Modwen Properties is a key client for the firm with recently instructions including forfeitures of commercial leases, insolvency disputes and dilapidations claims. Richard Evans heads the team and is ‘fantastic with clients’, ‘fiercely intelligent’ and ‘strong and robust in presenting’. Adam Gross is ‘outstanding in every way’ and was recently promoted to partner, so too was Kelly Seal. The group is regularly instructed by retailers and major landlords including ASDA, Travis Perkins, The Freshwater Group of Companies and The Mall Corporation.

The team at Norton Rose Fulbright is ‘of very high quality’, delivering ‘relevant appropriate advice’. Recent highlights included advising Schroder Real Estate on due diligence aspects arising from a 200m purchase and acting for WELPUT in managing its high-value London property portfolio. The group is also defending Circus Apartments in a High Court claim relating to numerous alleged breaches of tenant covenants. A counterclaim has subsequently arisen on the basis that the Landlord has unreasonably delayed applications to underlet the premises. David Stevens heads the team and has ‘an excellent grasp of the law and practice in this field’. Areas of expertise for Stevens include development constraints, dilapidations, tenant insolvency, overage disputes and forfeiture. BMW, Park Plaza Hotel Group and Thales Properties are new clients for the practice.

Andrew Tugwell heads the team at Payne Hicks Beach and is well-regarded for his work on complex valuation cases and estate agent issues. Tugwell is singled out as a ‘great solicitor’ and has been advising estate agencies such as your-move.co.uk and parent company LSL Property Services on matters including lease renewals, nuisance, dilapidations and injunction proceedings. Partner Matthew Spring is an important member of the team and ‘works hard for clients, pushing difficult points well’. Spring specialises on residential matters and leasehold enfranchisement disputes and is handling a Court of Appeal matter concerning lease consents in the context of right to manage companies. Scott Goldstein has joined the team from B P Collins LLP while Andrea Yiakoumetti has been promoted to Associate. Clients for the firm include Fiat, Atari, Telereal Trillium and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The ‘strong, commercial savvy’ lawyers at Penningtons Manches LLP ‘combine a deep knowledge of the law with commercial advice and pragmatism’. Practice head Donald Lambert ‘applies the law in a commercial and strategic manner’ while being ‘pleasant to work with and extremely knowledgeable’. Lambert specialises in portfolio management in addition to development disputes and has recently been advising numerous landlords in dilapidations claims valued in excess of £1m. In another highlight, Lambert acted for a client on the enforcement of a buyback option in a guarantee of sale and leaseback financing deal for properties valued at £4m and €10m respectively. Ben Robinson has been promoted to partner and ‘can be relied upon to spot all the angles and be on top of matter’. Robinson is ‘strong on the residential side’ while the ‘commercially astute’ David Masters has particular expertise in lease extensions, party wall awards and rights to light. Laura West joins the team, having previously worked at Irwin Mitchell.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur specialises in enfranchisement, dilapidations and landlord repair obligations, property management and family trusts. The group also has a reputation for property disputes relating to care homes, private hospitals and practitioners’ surgeries, acting for clients including NHS Foundation Trusts and MDDUS Property. The six-partner team is led by practice head Simon Hartley who ‘works hard and knows how to achieve outstanding results’. Hartley recently worked with brokers Clear Insurance Management on the development of a new type of insurance policy covering commercial tenants’ terminal dilapidations liability. In a further highlight, the team assisted client Drum Income Plus with matters including lease renewals at its Gosforth Shopping Centre. Partner Jane Emberton is ‘excellent and highly recommended’.

The team at Russell-Cooke LLP is ‘happy to go the extra mile’ and offers ‘both service and litigation skills of a very high standard’. Practice head Jason Hunter ‘constantly drives matters towards resolution’ and excels on party wall disputes, nuisance cases and providing strategic advice to developers. The firm regularly receives instructions from the retail and private rented sectors and clients include Matalan, Grainger and Get Living London. Partner Paul Greatholder's 'oversight of any given case is always thoughtful, conscientious and driven by a desire to ensure that the client is well served’. Graham French is recommended while Edward Cracknell is ‘personable, accessible and concise’. The firm was recently instructed by Norfolk Square in relation to three associated pieces of litigation against a single tenant, the proceedings include an injunction to gain access to the let property and a claim from the tenant of substantial damage. Lauren Brown joined the team from W H Matthews & Co.

Travers Smith LLP provides clients with an ‘excellent’ service, ‘responses are always on time and the level of knowledge and detail is outstanding’. The ‘calm, knowledgeable and professional’ Andrew Ross heads the team and is acting for Chelsea Stadium Limited in the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge. Two neighbouring landlords have claimed that the proposed £1bn development of the stadium will result in an obstruction of rights of light. The team has also been instructed by Clearbell Capital to obtain possession from several tenants at the client’s Riverwalk shopping centre which is set to undergo a development. Core strengths for the firm include restrictive covenants, professional negligence and breaches of development agreements. Other clients include Pure Gym, Lothbury Property Trust and Patron Capital.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has ‘gone from strength to strength since Dev Desai took over as head of property litigation’. Desai places particular focus on Prop-Tech and property related insolvency and ‘clients rightly have a lot of confidence in him’. The firm is acting for Investec Bank on rent review provisions at a solar photovoltaic farm in Wiltshire. In another highlight, Desai has been instructed for an Upper Tribunal case which raises the question of whether tenants in a residential block, which is structurally independent of a neighbouring building though adjoined to it, can take over management from the landlord. Associate Tom Bumstead is a ‘rising star’ with ‘very impressive legal analysis’. Rebecca Williams has been promoted to partner.

Property litigation boutique WH Lawrence Solicitors has a small, partner-only team ‘of practitioners who really know what they are doing’. The ‘level of service is excellent’ and ‘serves the client’s best interests’. Practice head William Lawrence is ‘engaged, friendly and approachable’ with an ‘impressive, wide-range of expertise’. He is supported by the ‘very knowledgeable and focused’ Richard Anyamene who has particular expertise in strategic property management for commercial and institutional landlords, tenants and developers. Other areas covered by the firm include professional negligence, lease termination, asset recovery, dilapidations, rent reviews, enfranchisement issues and boundary disputes.

Bates Wells Braithwaite is an ‘excellent firm which provides a quality service to clients’. The group has a ‘large charity client base’ and is well-regarded for its work in the Third Sector. Lesley Robinson heads the ‘first class’ practice and her ‘thorough attention to detail together with with clarity of insight enables her to succeed in litigation’. Senior associate William Scott is a key name to note and is considered a ‘brilliant strategist’ who ‘can see the wood from the tress’ and ‘ensures his clients are always one step ahead’. Other core strengths for the firm include telecoms issues, dilapidations, service charge disputes and possession claims.

The ‘extremely knowledgeable and competent’ Neil Curbison heads the team at Colman Coyle which provides a ‘well-structured and considered tactical approach’ and is 'responsive, knowledgeable and clear in its advice'. Core strengths for the team include forfeiture, rights of way, nuisance and property related professional negligence. Curbison recently acted on behalf of 78 long residential leaeholders at high-value Central London apartments in a matter relating to a contentious lease extension application. In another highlight, the team defended Orchard Court (Edgeware) RTM Company against an application by two leaseholders for a determination of the reasonableness of service charge items. Michael Large has joined the firm from Prettys Solicitors LLP.

The team at Cripps LLP includes the ‘user-friendly, bright and commercial’ Mike Scott and Nitej Davda who is ‘calm and confident with a very good tactical awareness’. Miles Paffard heads the team which ‘provides sophisticated, commercial and accurate advice’ and has key expertise in developer disputes, easements, covenants, insolvency, enfranchisement and rights to light. The firm regularly acts for central government departments and recently assisted the Crown Prosecution Service in breaking a substantial lease. Investment and portfolio asset management work in the retail sector is also a key focus for the group with clients including Hermes and Kennedy Wilson. Adam Osieke joined the firm’s Tunbridge Wells office from Wallace LLP.

Fletcher Day's ‘excellent’ practice provides ‘good quality, realistic and sensible advice’ and has particular expertise in the casual dining and retail sectors. Greg Barnbrook’s ‘understanding of the restaurant sectors is second to none’ and he is ‘particularly commercially-minded when crafting solutions’. Barnbrook was recently promoted to partner while Luiz Costa joined the firm from Healys LLP. Chris Hill leads the practice and is ‘very responsive and will go the extra mile for the client’. Recent highlights included acting for Kaye Properties Group on matters including unpaid service charges, a successful opposition to a planning application and the granting of a new lease pursuant to a sale and leaseback. Disputes concerning sales of land, forfeiture of deposits and specific performance are a core focus for the group. Claire Kitchen departed to Hodge Jones & Allen LLP.

Carol Hewson leads the practice at Simmons & Simmons. She primarily focuses on commercial landlord & tenant disputes, professional liability, telecoms issues and property insolvency matters. Asset management work, rights of light and latent defects are also key strengths for the firm. Clients include Telefonica UK, Deka Immobilien Investment, Office Holdings and Columbia Threadneedle. Jeremy Roberts is another name to note and specialises on property related professional liability.

TLT has ‘a good reputation in this field’ and is led by the ‘good all-round experience’ of Jason Juden. Clients include Native Land, Battersea Power Station Development and UCL. Juden recently acted for WH Smith in a high-value water damage claim and also represented clients Blue Diamond Investment and Stegasis Investment in injunction proceedings related to the ownership of two central London properties. Juden has considerable experience in professional negligence claims, restrictive covenants, rent review arbitrations, possession recovery, rights of light and CVAs.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) provides clients with a ‘wonderful overall service’, ‘response times are very good’ and the team is noted for its ability to ‘find cost effective solutions’ to litigation. The firm covers the whole spectrum of commercial and residential property disputes including development disputes, service break notices, lease renewals, claims for possessions, restrictive covenants, easements and dilapidations. Compensation claims following the compulsory acquisition of land are also a niche expertise for the firm. Katie Hickman is ‘very bright and clever with an exceedingly pleasant manner’ and ‘offers solutions with proactive advice’. Michelle Bendall heads the practice and has expertise in leasehold and freehold disputes. In a recent highlight, the team acted for an independent school and charity in connection to encroachment concerns on a playing field by as many as 16 adjoining landlords.

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