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Bryan Johnston

Work 020 7320 4059

Work Department

Real estate, dispute resolution, litigation.


Bryan is a partner and deals with all aspects of property litigation. He liaises extensively with colleagues across the firm in the Real Estate, Planning, Environment, Construction, Restructuring and Insolvency, Energy, Corporate and Banking and Finance. Bryan is experienced in dealing with all of the unique aspects of real estate litigation in a contentious and advisory context. Bryan has built a specialist rights of light practice and is an expert in that field. Bryan is also highly experienced in dealing with the RE aspects of major insolvencies, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, tenant default, party walls, easement and covenant disputes, business rates, neighbourly disputes, service charge disputes, dilapidations disputes, professional negligence in the property context (including legal and surveying professional negligence), document construction, title disputes, negligence and nuisance.


Trained Clifford Chance LLP, qualified 2004, made partner in present firm 2013. Publications of note: Multiple articles for the commercial property and legal press. Seminars provided to various industry bodies (BPF, RICS etc) and clients.


French (intermediate).


Law Society of England and Wales; Property Litigation Association; Vice-Chair of the Property Litigation Association; Honorary Secretary of the Property Litigation Association; Law Reform Committee of the Property Litigation Association.


University of St Andrews (MA 1997); University of the West of England (pg diploma 2001); Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (LPC 2002).


Hill walking; cycling; ski-ing; ice-skating; ice-hockey; rugby.

London: Real estate

Property litigation

Within: Leading individuals

Bryan Johnston - Dentons

Within: Property litigation

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’.

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South East: Real estate

Property litigation

Within: Property litigation

'One of the go-to firms for big-ticket, complex litigation', Dentons' property disputes practice provides 'prompt, proactive advice' and whose 'support in helping clients to negotiate complex and litigious situations gives them the utmost confidence'. The practice acts for a number of blue-chip clients across a diverse range of sectors, including retail, hotels and leisure, and infrastructure. Recent work includes acting for Riverland (Newark) in a lease rectification claim against a large supermarket retailer tenant; representing UBS as mortgagor in contested possession proceedings concerning a high-value property in Regent's Park, London, following the owner's default on a multimillion-pound interest loan; and acting for an investment fund in a lease dispute with one of its tenants, a global telecoms operator, for a property in Manchester. The practice is also highly active in business rate cases, and is acting for Sainsbury's Supermarkets in appeals before the Court of Appeal relating to the rateable value of ATMs in Sainsbury's stores nationwide. Practice head Bryan Johnston 'runs a tight ship and is an extremely astute tactician'. Also recommended are recently promoted partner David Payton, whose 'commercial acumen is second to none'; Kirstin Dunn, who has been highly active in business rating cases; and Gemma Hunter-Barnes, who joined the firm in May 2017 from B P Collins LLP, whose 'commercial approach to problem-solving makes her a very safe pair of hands'.

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