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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > North West > Real estate > Property litigation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Addleshaw Goddard’s ‘efficient’ team has a ‘no-nonsense approach’ and handles a full range of property disputes, with particular expertise in development work, rights of light disputes and site clearance matters. Contentious landlord and tenant issues, professional negligence disputes and property related insolvency are also areas of expertise and the team’s client base includes institutional investors, high-profile tenants, developers and financial institutions. The team represents First Investments Real Estate Management on a range of issues relating to its Mapeley Gamma portfolio and advises Corby, the owner of the Corby Town Centre Shopping Centre, on all estate management issues including lease renewals, break notices, dilapidations, insolvency and general property management. Manchester City Council instructed the team on a contested forfeiture action and is representing receiver clients on the complex disposal of a freehold and long leasehold property which is subject to a significant number of long residential tenancies. Charles Jagger has a ‘wealth of experience’, Legal director Andy Feehan handles general real estate disputes in addition to in project work and managing associate Patricia Loveis ‘very clever, dedicated, and is always thinking about cases from the client’s perspective’. Chris Perrin recently joined from Irwin Mitchell.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ department handles a full range of property litigation work, which includes lease termination and renewals, breach of covenant, rent reviews, dilapidations, rights of light and insolvency. It is also regularly engaged to manage large property portfolios; and has ‘excellent knowledge of the law, and the particular nuances which apply, particularly to the large scale infrastructure projects on which it excels’ and the team is ‘extremely well resourced and is therefore able to move very swiftly to put together impressive court materials and deal with litigation against a large number of respondents at short notice’. Manchester Airport Group, The Co-operative Bank and WM Morrison Supermarkets are clients. Department head David McGuirk is a ‘very experienced and knowledgeable litigator, with impressive commercial acumen; he has great instincts and is able to provide practical solutions to problems’. James Batham  is global head of retail and innovation and regularly acts for retail occupiers and developers, principal associate Gemma Staples has particular expertise in the retail and telecommunications sectors and senior associate Alex Wright is ‘calm and extremely personable, whilst providing robust and clear strategy and direction’.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

J B Leitch Ltd

JB Leitch Ltd are specialists in the law relating to long leasehold property with a particular focus on residential and mixed use developments. During 2017/2018 we have advised several landlords on issues relating to fire safety and ACM cladding replacement, successfully representing clients in two cases of national significance (see notable cases) with further similar cases awaiting determination.

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Hill Dickinson LLP is regularly instructed on complex property disputes for a wide client base, and has particular expertise in the retail, utility, insurance, education, transport and logistics sectors. The team represented Signature Care Homes on a £2m dispute examining the enforceability of restrictive covenants and represented A&P Falmouth and Mersey Docks & Harbour Company in a case regarding an application to modify commercial restrictive covenants at Falmouth Docks. Greene King, Liverpool City Council and DHL Supply Chain are also clients. Right to light and mines and minerals expert Kevin Lee is a ‘very astute and clever litigator’ and heads the team with the ‘brilliant’ Ralph Bullivant who is active on contentious lease renewals, high-value dilapidation claims and contentious break clauses. Consultant Craig Walker is regularly instructed by energy and utility providers and property investors; legal director Phil Parker acts for retail, transport and logistics clients and the ‘excellent’ Julia Stansfield, who is also a legal director, regularly acts for insurers; and senior associate Helen Evans has experience in protest camp evictions for energy companies operating in the fracking industry.

Based across its Liverpool and Manchester offices, the ‘commercial’ team at DLA Piper UK LLP is regularly instructed by property investors and acts for pension funds and for institutional investors. Telecoms, complex dilapidations cases and portfolio management work are also key strengths of the team. It represented London Borough of Southwark Pension Fund on a range of matters relating to the proposed conversion of a multi-tenanted office block in London and represented Anglesey Mining on its opposition to an application for a prescriptive right of way across. It is also acting for St James's Place UK on an ongoing £1.3m dilapidations claim against Siemens and is advising Heineken UK on a case involving rights to light. Department head Martin Griffiths and senior associate Rachael Jones are ‘very knowledgeable and are good at explaining all the options’.

DWF’s ‘extremely professional’ department delivers ‘fast response times’ and handles residential and commercial landlord and tenant matters and highly complex property disputes. It is noted for its ‘in-depth experience’ in telecoms work, rights to light cases and regularly acts for lenders on the enforcement of their security. Team head Alan Walker ‘consistently delivers exceptionally high-quality advice’ and ‘focuses on effective and efficient solutions’; and is leading advice for United Utilities on a £5m vacant possession matter, is advising St Ives on a contested lease matter and is advising EE on operational issues and the renewal of agreements regulating to the construction and operation of rooftop and in-building technical sites at airports across the UK. Jeremy Steele is active on rights of light disputes and property-related banking disputes and acts for Premier Inn in relation to rights of light and neighbour issues at a number of its hotel developments. Director Helena Davies, who handles commercial leasehold work, telecoms matters, boundary disputes, adverse possession, and private nuisance claims, is ‘passionate about her work’ and senior associate Joanne Hadley is ‘proficient in her knowledge on commercial service charges’. Graeme Dixon  joined Knights Professional Services Limited in April 2018.

Pinsent Masons LLP acts for investors, developers and occupiers on landlord and tenant disputes and development-related matters. The team has particular expertise across vacant possession strategies, rights to light, residential tenants’ rights, non-domestic business rates, electronic communications, protestors, student accommodation and agricultural matters. The team is advising Leeds City Council on the construction of a substantial vacant possession strategy in order to enable the development of a new East Leeds Orbital Road; represented DDK Estates on professional negligence claim against its former solicitors, arising from the drafting of a conditional land sale agreement; and is advising on vacant possession matters in relation to the redevelopment of the Merseyway Shopping Centre. The team is also acting for a number of London boroughs in relation to the regeneration of housing stock. The University of Manchester and Asda are also clients. Senior associate Stuart McCann is active across infrastructure, retail, financial services and development matters, and has particular experience in the application of non-domestic business rates and is also experienced in agricultural law. Senior associate Paul Pinder joined the team in 2018 from CMS and associate Patricia Mellody joined in 2017 from Land Law LLP. Former team head Nicola Buchanan is now a now a practice development lawyer and Birmingham-based Alicia Foo heads the team.

Brabners LLP is active across commercial, residential and agricultural property disputes, with expertise across landlord and tenant and dilapidations cases, boundary disputes, restrictive covenants, easements, professional negligence claims, enfranchisement and party wall disputes. The team regularly acts for retail sector clients. Key matters included advising ABF Properties in a matter brought against a tenant for failure to keep premises in good repair and defended Fothergill Polycom on a claim brought by its former landlord in relation to alleged dilapidations and contaminated land. It also represented Commercial Property Ltd on a case involving non-domestic rates. Recently promoted partner Andrew Rogers heads the team in Liverpool, where associate Hannah Carter is also based. Jeff Lewis leads the Manchester-based team and Stuart Irons leads the team in Preston.

DAC Beachcroft LLP  is regularly instructed by institutional investors, shopping centre owners, property funds and REITs on in disputes relating to complex development and regeneration projects, rent reviews and asset management work. The team advised a national shopping centre owner on lease termination proceedings and defended Royal London Mutual Insurance Society on a breach of covenant claim. It also advised St Helens Borough Council on the implementation of and compensation issues around the compulsory purchase of land at Newton-le-Willows Station. Royal Mail Group, Lend Lease and Land Securities are also clients. Lesley Hughes and recently promoted legal director Rachael Reynolds head the team, which includes associate Simon Kelly has joined Birketts LLP.

Pannone Corporate LLP is active across portfolio management and professional negligence cases and acts for a range of developer, public sector and private clients. The team is representing Diamond Resorts (Europe) in a case involving one of its resorts in Kent, which has been brought by over 600 individuals alleging they have acquired rights to use sports and leisure facilities for free, and that these rights exist as easements. Conviviality Retail Group, ISS Group, DB Cargo Rail (UK) and Homes 4 U Group are also clients. Team head David Brown is ‘excellent’ and Martin Pennington is ‘first-class’. Seán Hackett and Suzanne Carr recently left the firm to join Myerson Solicitors LLP.

The ‘impressive’ department at Shoosmiths LLP is regularly instructed on matters involving development projects in the region and across the UK and is noted for its experience in rights to light cases. The team is also active on portfolio management, advising on a raft of dilapidations, lease renewals and rent review matters. It advised Lendlease Residential (North West) on development constraints at a residential development site in Manchester city centre, advised James Hall and Company (Property) on a restrictive covenant case and advised Watkin Jones and Son on a drainage dispute and acted for Marston’s in relation on its dilapidations liabilities relating to the termination of its interest in 66 public houses across the UK. Department head Wayne Nash advises on development constraints, such as rights of light, and leasehold compliance matters. Senior associate Kirsty Black delivers an ‘exceptional service and provides sound and concise advice’ and is experienced in restrictive covenant cases and Richard Symonds is ‘great with clients’ and gives advice that is ‘clear and to the point’. Associate Sophie Tracey is also a key member of the team.

TLT is active on landlord and tenant disputes, rent reviews and lease renewals and contractual disputes, portfolio management and acts for commercial landlords and tenants, public sector bodies, housing associations, property developers, investors, financial institutions and insolvency practitioners. The team handles complex property litigation and title rectification work for of major clearing banks and other financial service providers such as Nationwide Building Society and Lloyds Banking Group. It advised Greene King on a dispute relating to an agreement for a lease and advised Pets at Home on a dispute regarding the deflection of the floor slab at its central distribution centre. It also acts for Nationwide Building Society on property litigation and management matters relating to its high street branch portfolio. Iceland Foods, Landwood Commercial (Manchester) and WHSmith Retail Holdings are clients. Recently promoted partner Matthew Forrest and James Chadwick, who provides property litigation, title rectification and recoveries advice to financial service clients, are key members of the team.

Weightmans LLP acts for a number of clients with significant asset portfolios on property management matters and is instructed on matters relating to the collection of rent and arrears. The team advises AS Watson Group on a range of property litigation matters in England and Wales including lease renewals and dilapidations cases. It is also advising a private property investor on a terminal dilapidations claim against the Secretary of State for Employment. Liverpool-based Sian Evans leads the social housing and real estate litigation teams, where associate John Darnell , who 'combines in-depth legal knowledge with commercial judgement and commonsense' is also based. In Manchester, associate Peter Hall is also recommended. The Co-operative Group, Royal Mail Group, Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Council Pension Fund are also clients.

Niche outfit J B Leitch Ltd has ‘unparalleled expertise in service charge and ground rent recovery, forfeiture and breaches of covenant’ and it provides an ‘excellent service’ to clients who praise its ‘timely responses’. It advises institutional landlords of residential and mixed-use developments, and residential management companies on a range of matters from volume debt recovery to service charge and ground rent debt claims, tribunal matters and appeals, forfeiture, breach of lease and right to manage cases. Estates and Management, Homeground Management, Freehold Managers, FirstPort, Trinity Estates and Residential Management Group are clients. Director Jonathan Leitch is recommended alongside legal director  Philip Parkinson , who is ‘really commercial and tactical in litigation’ and has ‘an excellent depth of technical knowledge which combines well with his pragmatism; his advice is concise and outcome focused’. Rob Denman leads the real estate team.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP handles complex commercial and residential property disputes for property agents, public and private companies and LPA receivers. It handles enforcement for landlords and tenants and the retail, leisure, healthcare and education sectors are key areas of expertise. It advised Pix Pinto Bars on a leaseholder dispute and advised Stoke Properties 1 and Stoke Properties 2 on a dispute regarding a distressed retail warehouse occupied by B&Q. Land Securities, Persimmon Homes, Property Alliance Group and Cantt Pak are also clients. David Jones acts for a range of property developers, energy companies, construction contractors and property entrepreneurs, and associates Phillip Warburton and Rebecca Jones, who recently joined from Pinsent Masons LLP, are also recommended. Senior associate Benjamin Connor heads the construction team and Andrew Weinberg heads the litigation team.

The ‘exceptional’ team at niche firm Land Law LLP advises on an array of property litigation mandates and is particularly experienced across landlord and tenant work. Key cases included acting for a landlord client on a rent review dispute and advising the owner of a significant industrial unit on a lease termination and a dilapidations claim. Jen Morris heads the team which includes consultant Steven Jennings who has ‘vast experience’, and associate partner Karen Taylor.

Squire Patton Boggs is experienced across complex title issues, adverse possession claims, easement disputes, break clauses and vacant possession mandates and it advised Preston City Council on vacant possession relating to the redevelopment of an indoor market and advised Quintain (Wembley Retail Park) on a complex forfeiture case. The team also continued to represent Luxfer Group on a long-running lease renewal matter. Director Helen Hoath provides advice ‘in a timely and well-structured manner’.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is instructed by a range of commercial clients, local authorities, government bodies and housing associations and has particular expertise across portfolio management, rights of light issues and development-related disputes. The team acted for Midland Heart in dilapidations proceedings relating to office premises in Birmingham. It also advises West Midlands Authorities Pension Fund Property Portfolio on a range of matters such as landlord and tenant proceedings and dilapidations claims; and recently acted for two group companies of the fund in disputed lease renewal proceedings. Interserve is also a key client. Team head Guy Willetts is active across rights of light claims, property management issues, landlord and tenant matters and disputes concerning development agreements. Lynn James specialises in leasehold management for public and private sector landlords, leaseholders, management companies, managing agents and financial institutions.

The Preston-based team at Forbes Solicitors is instructed by an array of public and private sector clients, including developers investors and housing associations, on a range of disputes involving landlord and tenant matters, negligence, and trespass cases. Robin Stephens heads the team.

Gorvins Solicitors is experienced across residential and commercial property disputes and handles an array of landlord and tenant disputes such as dilapidation claims, contested lease renewals, restrictive covenants, service charge disputes and possession claims. It also handles boundary disputes, easement claims, trespass, nuisance squatter actions. The team acted for Hamilton Heath on several matters involving lease renewal and dilapidations claims. Guy Lightowler leads the team and senior associate Danielle Clements is also recommended.

The ‘timely and experienced’ team at Myerson Solicitors LLP advises property owners, landlords and tenants on a range of commercial and residential property disputes such as dilapidations, forfeiture of leases and relief from forfeiture, rights of way, Land Registry issues, service charge issues negligence issues and property covenants. Philip J Davies (Holdings), Taskers and Fortis Developments are clients. Tim Norman heads the team, which features Jeremy Lee and senior solicitor Laura Pile, and was recently bolstered by the arrival of senior solicitors Seàn Hackett and Suzanne Carr from Pannone Corporate LLP.

Nexus Solicitors Limited acts for landlords, managing agents and tenants on tenancy renewals, dilapidations, service charge disputes, and rectification, break notices, breaches of covenant and forfeiture cases. The team is advising 30 leaseholders in relation to disrepair, misrepresentation, and forfeiture issues relating to a large development in Barrow-in-Furness. Director Debbie Whiteley is an ‘expert on dilapidations issues’ and is ‘pro-active, responsive and efficient’.

Butcher & Barlow LLP is active across commercial landlord and tenant matters and complex land disputes such as restrictive covenants, boundary disputes and registration issues. It is also noted for its agricultural sector experience. Alex Sandland, who is ‘very tenacious and fights hard on behalf of his clients’,  heads the team, which also includes associates James Holton, who joined in 2017 from Slater and Gordon, and Catherine Gregson, who is ‘client friendly, and is able to get to grips with cases well and run them in the best interests of the client’.

Niche firm KK Thompson Solicitors handles property litigation for commercial landlords, investment companies and high-net-worth individuals and is a ‘small firm of hard-working lawyers who go the extra mile and have a strong grasp of the law’ and clients commend the team for its ability to ‘communicate well and in a timely fashion’ and ‘offer very practical advice alongside the legal work they perform’. The team acts for Roubaix Group on property portfolio management issues such as lease renewal proceedings, break option advice, rent and service charge recovery, interpretation of lease terms, tenant insolvency and dilapidations. It also acts for Maryland Securities Group, Taylor Business Park, Roger Hannah and Co and new client Poplar Services Printers. Karl Thompson is ‘professional and extremely knowledgeable’ and Kate Thompson is ‘very responsive and her advice is clear and concise’ and is ‘highly skilled in property matters such as dealing with landlord and tenant issues and dilapidations disputes’; and ‘together they are a formidable team’.

Slater Heelis LLP  acts for owner-managed businesses,  property investors, development companies, management companies, individuals and entrepreneurs on dilapidations claims, enfranchisements and boundary and easement disputes. In Manchester associate solicitors Daniel Stern, Tom Christie and Daniel Wise are recommended. Sale-based Helen Brown heads the team.

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