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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 > Yorkshire and the Humber > Real estate > Property litigation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

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Who Represents Who

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Addleshaw Goddard’s practice is ‘knowledgeable, attentive, provides reasonable value for money, and gives sensible and practical advice’. ‘Impressive’ team head Julie Middlemass has strengths in breach of contract claims, dilapidations, break notice disputes, forfeiture and contested lease renewals. Associate Elizabeth Cape advises on landlord and tenant matters, service charge issues, rights of way and rights of light disputes and tenant insolvencies. Recent highlights include representing a family-owned property development group in a dispute regarding the operation of a tenant’s break option at a substantial premises in Sheffield, and acting for a joint venture property developer in a dispute before the Property Chamber First Tier Tribunal following an application by the leaseholder and management company regarding service charges. Richard Symonds joined Shoosmiths LLP.

CMS’ department, led by Stephen Scott, is best known for handling disputes concerning complex development projects, vacant possession strategies, business lease renewals and terminations, dilapidations, rent reviews, service charges, arrears recovery, squatters and possession cases, landlord and tenant insolvency and real estate-related disability discrimination cases. Managing associate Jane Turley has a strong track record handling litigation, arbitration and mediation concerning commercial real estate issues; contractual disputes; portfolio management; and mines and quarries-related work, including overage disputes and occupiers’ liability advice. Other key team members include senior associates Edward Gamble, who focuses on landlord and tenant disputes, high-value contractual disputes and complex possession claims, and Martin Garner, who advises institutional landlords, tenants and developers on business lease renewals, debt recovery, dilapidations, trespassers, rights of light and insolvency disputes. Scott and Garner recently advised Hammerson on a vacant possession issue relating to the Victoria Gate shopping centre development, and assisted The Mall with the redevelopment of a Camberley-based site, including the extent of statutory undertakers’ rights over the site and public right of way issues. The team also represented NOMA in proceedings concerning the removal of protestors from properties adjoining its site in Manchester.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s team provides ‘a strong service with excellent knowledge and commercial acumen at a senior level’ and is jointly headed by the ‘measured and knowledgeable’ John Kittle and ‘dynamic litigator’ Matthew Lonergan. Kittle represented the landlord Telereal Trillium in an objection to the exercise of a break option by its tenant on the condition of vacant possession, he also handles all litigation issues arising from a portfolio of 1500 public houses owned by Heineken, which includes advising on legislative changes relating to tied public houses. Lonergan handles disputes and transactional property work for RBS in the UK, Ireland and EMEA. Sheffield office managing partner Petra Billing is ‘extremely knowledgeable and experienced, particularly in the area of minerals’. She handles disputes for key client Debenhams Properties, recently advising on the recovery of disputed service charge accounts; defending an opposed £30m lease renewal on a development site; and handling the referral of a £1m unopposed lease renewal to the Professional Arbitration on Court Terms scheme. Legal director Michael Gaughantakes a strong proactive approach to litigation’. Arcadia, British Airways, Dixons Carphone and TATA Steel are also clients.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has ‘enormous strength-in-depth’ and considerable expertise ‘across the whole range of property litigation work’. Damian Hyndman, who ‘is a reassuring presence’, is defending a healthcare group tenant on a claim for backdated rent. Andrew Toddstrikes fear into his opponents, he is an imaginative thinker and is always one step ahead’; he represented The Peel Group in a dispute concerning a contested application to list a former military hospital as a Grade II listed building. Alison Oldfield is ‘strategic, careful and considered with an excellent understanding of the internal politics of big businesses’. Her recent highlights include successfully defending South Hunsley Academy Trust in judicial review proceedings, which challenged the decision to close a swimming pool and redeploy the space for academic use; representing Asda in a dispute with a developer concerning Asda’s obligations to purchase land for a supermarket development; and advising Network Rail on a redevelopment project in London. Head of retail James Batham’s clients include Morrisons, JD Sports, Blacks Outdoor Retail, Booker, Samsung Electronics, Greggs and Mitchells & Butlers.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s practice ‘is a major force and can hold its own against anyone regionally or nationally’. The team is led by the ‘pragmatic and commercialMatthew Baker and includes ‘extremely able, conscientious and hardworking’ legal director Michael Smith. The group has a reputation for handling high-profile, high-value property investment and development disputes, and also has strengths in matters concerning right to light issues, trespassing, vacant possession, residential tenant issues and energy, utility and infrastructure disputes. Recent highlights include acting for Hanson Marine in a dispute regarding the occupation of a concrete production plant; the client is seeking urgent possession of land required to carry out the Thames Tideway Tunnel, a national infrastructure project. Smith is defending United Utilities against a substantial claim for damages brought by Manchester Ship Canal, alleging trespass concerning the client’s discharge of water and treated sewage into the canal. Baker has substantial experience acting for clients in right to light matters, recent examples of his work in this space include handling disputes for Aviva Investors relating to a proposed oversite development at Tottenham Court tube station and, separately, a development in Reading; acting for universities in disputes concerning student accommodation developments, and representing the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office in a dispute concerning the development of land adjoining its London office.

At Walker Morris LLP, ‘the senior fee earners are experts in what they do, they understand the business and the industry and provide very sound, pragmatic, commercially focused advice’. Team head Andrew Beck has strengths in multijurisdictional mortgage fraud cases, town and village green inquiries, asset recovery disputes and high-value professional negligence claims against solicitors and surveyors. Litigator Martin McKeague is experienced in landlord and tenant matters and arbitrations; Malcolm Simpson acts for developer clients in disputes arising from option agreements, conditional contracts, planning promotion agreements, and supply chain disputes; Karl Anders has expertise in handling agricultural property and party wall disputes; and senior associate Emma Porritt regularly handles town and village green disputes for local authorities and developers. McKeague recently acted for an indemnity insurer in a dispute concerning the enforcement of a prescriptive right of way following an obstruction by the landowner; an interim injunction was granted in the client’s favour. Beck defended Gladman Developments in an application to register a proposed development site as a town or village green, the dismissal of which enabled the development of over 100 houses to be built on the disputed site.

Irwin Mitchell’s team ‘impresses with the level of service, speed of response and commercial advice offered’. ‘Approachable and straightforward’ team head Danny Revitt is ‘always on hand to give technical and practical advice’ and senior associate Lisa Stratford has ‘a no nonsense approach and gives solid advice’. The team has expertise in landlord and tenant litigation, lease renewal and termination proceedings, dilapidations claims and rent and service charge recovery. It acts for investors, developers, retailers and corporate occupiers with national property portfolios. Recent highlights include acting for a real estate fund in court proceedings against a corporate office tenant regarding its contribution to lift refurbishment works, and acting for a national property investor in securing vacant possession of an adopted road providing access to a large industrial estate.

Stephen Green leads DWF’s department, which has a reputation for handling disputes relating to commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, service charges, dilapidations, commercial lease renewals, repossessions, trespassing and nuisance claims, adverse possession, lease terminations and withholding consent and boundary disputes. Nic Crocker focuses on real estate investment and finance, and commercial and residential development matters, and has niche expertise in matters pertaining to car parks. Clients include Q-Park, Persimmon Homes, Magnet and Grainger.

Gordons LLP’s team is praised for ‘understanding clients’ businesses and adding value’ and is ‘excellent value for money’. The team is known for its strengths in disputes involving enfranchisement, agriculture, utilities, telecoms, and planning and for handling arbitration, and it acts for a range of retail clients. ‘Commercially minded’ practice head Richard Cressall deals with factually complex issues ‘particularly well’. He handled various matters for Iceland, including renewals, disrepair, and consent-related disputes, and acts for YBS Group on contentious matters concerning lease renewals, dilapidations, residential possession proceedings, parking easements and trespass issues. B&M Retail is also a client. Bradford-based Graeme Davy made partner in 2016. Alan Herbert joined from Setfords Solicitors.

Excellent litigator’ Rob Hastie leads Gosschalks’s practice, with support from landlord and tenant specialist Victoria Quinn, and Julia Williams and Rachel Garton who advise pub tenants. Hastie specialises in commercial lease disputes, and acting for landlords in cases involving public houses and restaurants; he recently advised Enterprise Inns on the consequences of the new Pubs Code and related policies. Quinn represented Wellington Pub Company in a lease renewal dispute regarding a pub in Central London. Other highlights included advising a care home on closure proceedings following funding cuts by the local authority; construction litigation head Matthew Fletcher and associate Sarah Coates-Madden led the advice. Other clients include William Hill, Wilko, Age UK and Sally Salon Services.

Lupton Fawcett LLP’s team has ‘a great blend of business focus and attention to detail’, and has expertise in disputes involving commercial, residential, student accommodation, agricultural and ecclesiastical properties. The practice is led by ‘master tacticianJonathan Warner-Reed, who, according to one client, ‘should be on any corporate counsel’s go-to list’. Recent highlights include acting for two individuals in separate claims relating to adverse possession; handling a lease renewal claim for a car dealership; acting for a private tenant in an enfranchisement claim regarding a property in Central London; and representing a national commercial landlord in bringing a dilapidations claim against a former tenant.

At Shulmans LLP, the level of service and value for money is ‘excellent’ and the team is ‘responsive, commercial and personable’. Dilapidations expert Michael Watson, who leads the practice, also has key strengths in landlord and tenant disputes and Helen Hill and solicitor Richard Robinson ‘tailor advice to the clients’ needs’. Hill is a key name for party wall disputes and Robinson focuses on dilapidation claims. The team is handling various matters for Greggs, including assisting with real estate competition issues, a claim relating to misrepresentation, Landlord and Tenant Act lease renewals, dilapidations claims and expert witness advice. The team also represents Trust Inns in disputes concerning tenant insolvency, recovering rent and other arrears, termination notices, possessions and lease forfeitures.

Squire Patton Boggs’ team has expertise in Landlord and Tenant litigation, vacant possessions, right of light disputes, land access issues for utility and renewable energy providers, and judicial reviews relating to planning issues and CPOs. Senior associate David Holland leads the practice and focuses on land compensation matters. Recent highlights include advising an airport on its strategy for managing land compensation claims; representing a pharmaceutical company in a dispute over the exercise of a commercial lease break clause relating to an office premises; and assisting a plc client with its strategy for dealing with compensation claims from residential property owners. New clients include United Utilities and Provident Financial. Patrick Walker left to become a fulltime mediator,

3volution Limited’s team is, according to one client, ‘head and shoulders above the competition’, and has strengths in property-related professional negligence claims, residential possessions, dilapidations and contested CPOs. Practice head Matt Pugh is ‘forward-thinking’ and his knowledge in this space is ‘second to none’. Recent highlights include defending international testing services provider ALS Global in a £1m dilapidations claim brought by its former landlord’s successor following the client’s exit from a site in Runcorn. Pugh is also representing a commercial landlord in a £400,000 dilapidations claim against Sky and 365 Media Group concerning Sky’s former Leeds offices.

Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP’s practice advises local and national retail investors on litigation arising from property portfolios, and also handles boundary disputes, dilapidations and property nuisance claims. Paul Barker, who ‘is a particularly good communicator’, and Richard Mays, who ‘has in-depth commercial property and development agreement knowledge’, jointly head the team. Nick Dean and Stephen Kell are other key names and have considerable landlord and tenant expertise. Recent highlights include handling a right of access dispute between two farmers; representing trustees of the Westoby Pension Fund in a construction dispute, which involves a dilapidations claim and structural engineering issues; and acting for a food company, as the commercial landlord, in a dispute regarding a lease break clause.

Blacks Solicitors LLP’s practice is led by Oliver Gross who ‘is very easy to deal with’ and specialises in advising holiday park clients. Luke Patel and James Teagle, who has ‘a measured approach’ and stands out for his ‘technical know-how’, have expertise in contractual disputes, dilapidations, easements and nuisance claims. Recent highlights include representing a commercial landlord in a challenge against a new lease; handling a dilapidations claim for a landlord; and acting for the owner of a mobile home site in a dispute concerning pitch possession following a period of unpaid pitch fees by the occupants.

At DAC Beachcroft LLP, practice head Lesley Hughes has expertise in landlord and tenant disputes, particularly those with an insolvency aspect, complex service charge and dilapidations claims, break rights, issues arising from development agreements and rent reimbursement claims under NHS contracts, Recent work includes handling declaratory proceedings regarding a £50m break clause; assisting with the termination of conditional development agreements; and advising on town centre regeneration matters for a local authority, which included assisting with procurement, landlord and tenant, listed building and right to light issues.

The team at LCF Lawhas good business acumen and provides tailored advice and good value for money’. ‘Proactive and pragmatic’ team head Ragan Montgomery ‘is always willing to go above and beyond’. The team advises Stagecoach South Western Trains on trespass issues related to its station property. Other highlights include representing private proprietors of a rural residential property in a dispute over an alternative right of way, and acting for the executors of a private estate on a multimillion-pound fraud and negligence claim against conveyancers. Other clients include The Salvation Army, Citispace Properties and Yorkshire Building Society.

McCormicks’ team ‘is extremely impressive in complex litigation’. Key individuals in the group include practice head Philip Edmondson, who has expertise in multimillion-pound dilapidation claims, highly regarded name partner Peter McCormick, Heather Roberts, who handles a broad range of contentious commercial property matters, and Kayleigh Fantoni, who has strengths in breach of covenant claims. Roberts and Fantoni have niche expertise in shooting leases; the duo recently acted for a high-profile client in a claim concerning a shooting lease.

Raworths’ team, led by Matthew Hill, is ‘always very professional and knowledgeable’ and it ‘is a great firm to work with’. The team, which provides ‘commercially driven advice’, has strengths in advising large institutional landlords, commercial landlords and tenants, landed estates, ultra-high net worth individuals, farmers and SMEs on a broad range of property litigation matters. Recent highlights include defending private tenants in a rural property dispute, which involved issues concerning trespass, adverse possession, express and prescriptive rights of way, and an application to rectify the Land Registry title of a large part of agricultural land. Other highlights include defending high-net-worth private property purchasers in High Court proceedings relating to a breach of contract over the abortive purchase of a £2.5m residential property.

Rollits LLP’s team, led by Christopher Drinkall, has expertise in right of way, dilapidations and terminations disputes and contested commercial leases. Managing partner Ralph Gilbert advises on tenancy litigation and possession proceedings, and landlord and tenant law for private and public sector landlords. Andrew Digwood is another key contact; he acts for plcs, national and local charities, educational institutions and social housing providers. The team recently advised a quarry company on its opposition to a commercial lease renewal; acted for a college and local farming panel in various disputes with their landlords relating to the use, occupation and sale of substantial farmland used for educational purposes; and handled a dilapidations dispute for a manufacturing company regarding commercial premises sublet to a third party.

Bradford-based James Staton leads Schofield Sweeney’s practice, and has niche expertise in advising landowners on investigations and prosecutions by regulatory authorities concerning endangered species, water pollution and waste management infringements. Director Sophie Morley has strengths in landlord and tenant disputes including forfeiture, Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 issues, rent reviews and dilapidations; she also advises developers on title issues, development agreements and vacant possession strategies, as well as handling termination strategies and enfranchisement claims for residential landlords. The team recently represented a Yorkshire-based property investor in a lease renewal dispute, and defended Yorkshire-based farming clients against a damages claim related to trespassing.

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited’s team has longstanding experience in the space and is led by Elizabeth Shaw, who provides ‘a top quality level of service’. Shaw’s recent work includes acting for a local manufacturing company in a £500,000 dilapidations claim; handling a derogation claim for a payroll service company regarding redevelopment work on a neighbouring property in London; and defending a dilapidations claim for the subsidiary of a multinational company headquartered in Belgium. Nick Lambert recently handled an easement dispute for the English subsidiary of a multinational company.

Ward Hadaway’s team is ‘reliable and personable’ and handles dilapidations claims, break notice and service charge disputes, possessions and forfeitures, and disputes arising from portfolio estates. Practice head Sharon Mathieson focuses on landlord and tenant litigation and property-related professional negligence claims, and is supported by Newcastle-based associate Jeremy Hardy, who has a ‘tactical’ approach, is ‘a pleasure to work with and is able to see the bigger picture’. The team is defending a developer against a nuisance claim brought by the landowner of an adjoining residential development, which alleges that damage was caused by waste materials produced as a result of development work undertaken by the client.

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Legal Developments in Yorkshire and the Humber for Property litigation

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 

    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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