At Birketts LLP , ‘the property litigation team is of the highest quality‘, and the firm ‘easily competes with the major City and national firms‘. Practice head Richard Eaton, whose current caseload includes numerous matters for music studios in London, and partner James Robinson are the key practitioners in Ipswich. Alice Harris is ‘proactive, intelligent, with a great eye for detail‘. John Scannell and senior associate and barrister Simon Woodhead in Norwich are the main practitioners in Norwich. Legal director Lynsey Ellard in Cambridge is ‘very astute and knows when to take a measured approach‘. Legal director Laura Tanguay in Ipswich and associate Stephanie Butler in Cambridge are ‘outstandingly able and hardworking‘.
Property litigation in East Anglia
Other key lawyers:
John Scannell; James Robinson; Alice Harris; Laura Tanguay; Simon Woodhead; Stephanie Butler; Lynsey Ellard; James Humphreys
‘The property litigation team is of the highest quality.’
‘Laura Tanguay and Stephanie Butler are outstandingly able and hardworking. They are talented solicitors with an impressive grasp of law and procedure. They also demonstrate a high standard of client care, even or especially when the case becomes difficult and testing.’
‘Lynsey Ellard – is an extremely capable lawyer, very astute and importantly knows when to take a measured approach and when (and how) to increase the pressure as the need arises.’
‘We have used Birketts LLP for many years now, they acted for us when we sold our business, very good and very happy. Dispute resolution, Mrs Alice Harris, superb.’
‘Alice Harris who deals with any dispute resolution matters that we may have is superb. Mrs Harris is a young lady but her style of working is very much old school, she responds to telephone calls, letters and emails very promptly and makes most things crystal clear to Luddites such as I. Were Mrs Harris to ever leave Birketts I would like to think that we would be her very first clients at her new firm.’
‘James Robinson at partner level provides excellent all round commercial advice alongside deep sector specialism for telecommunications matters.’
‘The property litigation team is led by Simon Woodhead, a former barrister, whose knowledge of his subject, powers of analysis, determination to do his best for his client, and general resourcefulness add up to a very powerful package for the client. The product is as good as anything offered by the Magic and Silver Circle firms in London, but at regional prices.’
‘Professional, friendly and prompt service. I like the way we have plenty of Partner involvement.’
Mr Karmjit Kang
Howes Percival LLP is regularly praised by clients for its ‘great knowledge of the law', particularly in relation to commercial dilapidations and beneficial interests in land. Practice heads Simon Murphy and Jamie Kidd are based in Cambridge and Norwich respectively, with Murphy having deep expertise in service charge disputes, while Kidd handles adverse possession and enfranchisement issues. Director Leanne Davis in Cambridge and senior associate Bill Trow in Norwich, who ‘displays a level of experience well beyond his years of practice‘, are also central to the practice. Kidd recently handled a £1.2m commercial terminal dilapidations claim for landlord DCS 452 Limited.
Jamie Kidd; Simon Murphy
Other key lawyers:
Leanne Davis; Bill Trow
‘Great knowledge of the law, strong understanding of the merits of a case, great client skills, and is efficient and organised.’
‘Bill Trow displays a level of experience well beyond his years of practice. He is very bright, good knowledge of the law and the merits of a case.’
‘I consider the Howes Percival litigation team in Norwich t be the leading practitioners. They have the skill to explain the nuances of complex matters in a translatable manner and to always be cognisant of the commercial aspects.’
‘I rely on Jamie Kidd as he always provides detailed, considered and practical advice, especially in dilapidations matters. I have found that Jamie is the most knowledgeable and insightful of lawyers in the field.’
‘The property litigation team is talented, experienced and incredibly well resourced.’
‘Simon Murhpy and Leanne Davis are very knowledgeable and experienced and they both have skills excellent judgement which compliments their superb client-handling skills.’
Greene King Plc
Cambridge University Endowment Fund
Ministry Of Defence
C Brewer & Sons Limited
Newcore Capital Management LLP
Celfone Trading Limited
Ashtons Legal is ‘professional, efficient, capable and communicative‘, and handles a broad range of issues concerning restrictive covenants, easements, and adverse possession claims. Head of disputes Tom Bailey in Norwich oversees the work of the property litigation practice, in which Cambridge's Kirsteen Durrant is the key practitioner after the departure of former practice head Nigel Maguire to Roythornes Solicitors. The ‘absolutely outstanding‘ Durrant, who joined from Spencer West LLP, is a trained mediator with vast expertise in commercial lease disputes, breaches of covenants, and rights of first refusal. Senior associate Annabel Mayer in Bury St Edmunds also plays a key role in the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Kirsteen Durrant; Annabel Mayer
‘My experience with Ashtons Legal has been overwhelmingly positive. Everyone I have encountered at the firm has been professional, efficient, capable and communicative. I feel like I am in safe hands and that everyone involved puts great care into every aspect of my case.’
‘Kirsteen Durrant has been handling my case and she has been absolutely outstanding. I feel very lucky to have found her and would highly and heartily recommend her. She has a very analytical mind. I am frequently impressed by her skill, competence and ability as a solicitor. I feel that she understands my point of view and really cares about her clients.’
‘Kirsteen Durrant is an exceptional partner at Ashtons Legal. I have previously worked with her at other firms, and her work is consistently above and beyond. I have worked on several leasehold matters with her recently where she has pinpointed the precise legal issue of importance and sought counsel’s input on the prospects of success in order to manage potential and ongoing litigation effectively and with a view to the overriding objective. I cannot praise her more highly.’
Cambridge University Colleges – Christ’s College, Churchill College, Clare College, Clare Hall, Corpus Christi, Emmanuel College, Hughes Hall, Jesus College, Magdalene College, Newnham College, Pembroke College, St Catherine’s College, Wolfson College, Kings College
Flip Out Limited
- Advising a tenant restaurant in a claim against the landlord for breach of covenant to repair the building over a 12 year period, causing frequent flooding to basement restaurant.
- Advising London clients in defending a claim and making a counter claim in relation to a dispute over access to a freehold property via an electronic gate and adverse possession of land.
Buckles Solicitors LLP
The Peterborough office of Buckles Solicitors LLP has broad experience spanning mixed-use and residential block management, break notice disputes, and dilapidation claims. Joint practice head Paul Branch has vast expertise in disputes involving trust and probate elements. Branch is retained by the National Allotment Society and recently advised it on matters concerning land to be purchased from the Co-op and on new terms and conditions for allotments.
‘In my experience, the property litigation team thoroughly researches all angles of each case, identifying potential pitfalls and working out how to avoid them.’
Virgin Active Limited
Virgin Active Health Clubs Limited
National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners
Fidum Property Management Limited
- Advising a client and their managing agents on fire safety related matters including cladding and related service charge disputes; commercial landlord & tenant work in relation to rent arrears recovery from tenants and guarantors; forfeitures; long residential leasehold block management support on service charge matters; s20 consultation and service charge debts; and lease extensions.
- Acting for tenants of a large residential development in freehold enfranchisement matters. The firm was instructed to progress statutory freehold collective enfranchisement process under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.
Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds is known for its ‘honest, straightforward' team, which is praised by clients for its ‘strong depth of knowledge and wide-ranging skill set'. Practice heads Rob Adam and Michael Batty are adept at handling restrictive covenant enforcement, and damages claims. The ‘logical, methodical, calm and experienced‘ Sarah Western frequently handles high-value property and construction disputes, including injunctive relief and damages claims exceeding £1m.
Rob Adam; Michael Batty
Other key lawyers:
Sarah Western; Tracy-Ann Moore
‘They are a welcoming, knowledgeable small city firm, with a strong profile in landlord and tenant work and real property.’
‘Tracy-Ann Moore has a wealth of experience behind her. She manages to be fiercely competitive and will leave no stone unturned to advise her lay client. Rob Adam has strong capability in land law and enfranchisement. Common sense approach. Michael Batty has admirable acumen and commerciality of approach to real property matters.’
‘Good, honest, straightforward, clear communicating individuals who are well versed in their field. Strong depth of knowledge and wide ranging skill set within the team.’
‘Sarah Western is logical, methodical, calm and experienced. Excellent communication skills, works to find alternatives and a solution rather than create a problem. Rob Adam: responsive, calm problem solver who works hard on the solution. Honest with clients and manages expectations well. Strong communicator.’
‘Michael Batty is on top of all the detail, identifies those important areas where counsel input is needed and is efficient in conducting litigation.’
HCR Hewitsons in Cambridge is highly regarded for commercial landlords and tenant cases, freehold developer disputes, as well as contentious residential and agriculture matters. Lead partner Natalie Minott is ‘able to effectively master a wide range of novel and complex issues quickly‘. Senior associate Kate Church ‘provides detailed, considered advice’. Senior associate Sarah Osborne, formerly of Birkett Long LLP, ‘has a fantastic knowledge on the subject‘. She recently advised a London-based landlord on a matter concerning a request for a lease extension.
Other key lawyers:
Natalie Minott; Kate Church; Sarah Osborne; Georgia Dinallo; Katie Smith
‘Mrs Natalie Minott our solicitor always sought to understand what we trying to achieve and consequential we felt she really cared and looked after us through the not pleasant process of legal troubles She gave us confidence, dismissed problems that were not problems, dealt with problems that were, encouraged but also managed our expected outcomes. We felt we had been give true personal service.’
‘Kate Church within the litigation team is an encyclopaedia of knowledge and provides practical easy to understand advice. Kate will always take the time to talk through complex situations. This assists in providing clients with detailed, considered advice. Kate is always prompt at responding and will follow up when necessary which is very helpful.’
‘I have dealt with Sarah Osborne for a number of years and have no hesitation in referring our clients to her on enfranchisement matters. She has a fantastic knowledge on the subject and I have always found her to provide advice to clients in an easy to understand way. This is important for a complex area of law.’
‘The practice can cater for specialist advise in our property business and adopts an approach that is able to offer smaller businesses a one point of contact most of the time, who is highly qualified and able to discuss your requirement and assign the most appropriate solicitor to deal with your file. If the situation allows or budgets are tight, you are able to use an Associate, knowing fees will reflect this, but work is carefully overseen by a Senior or Partner.’
‘Our first contact is Sarah Osborne, Senior Associate, Real Estate and Disputes Resolution Team. Sarah stands out because she has taken the time and grown to understand our business and can better anticipate our needs. She knows we like some initial advice before progressing work formally. She is more than willing to help us understand the situation and scope out our objectives and a solution before referring us to a colleague. This means to date we haven’t wasted money or time on services not suited to our needs or situation, which we highly value being a small business.’
‘HCR works as a team with the solicitor on the particular case calling on the various skill sets available within the firm which are very extensive. This was apparent at our mediation when legal documents were being drawn up. HCR were at the mediation but also working with their office team to ensure everything was covered and signed up comprehensively on the same day.’
‘Our solicitor made sure she understood what we were seeking to achieve while advising on our best approach and outcome. HCR were good at making sure we were always up to speed with events and billed monthly with detailed analysis of each bill.’
‘The firm provided a very efficient and stress-free service.’
- Acting for Marc Lazarus in respect of receiving a notice requesting a lease extension. The client is a landlord of a block of flats in South West London.
Mishcon de Reya LLP in Cambridge handles property-related matters as part of a broader portfolio of work. Rated by clients as being ‘very knowledgeable, pragmatic and impressive‘, practice head Luke Hibbert and senior associate Beth Price have deep expertise in disputes concerning the property development aspects of trusts, and contentious sub-lettings. Associate Alexandra Thornton-Reid has ‘an excellent grip on the law', regularly acting in restrictive covenant disputes. The firm recently advised a racecourse owner on complex landlord and tenant issues.
Other key lawyers:
Beth Price; Alexandra Thornton-Reid; Christina Stout
‘I worked with Beth Price and Luke Hibbert who I found to be very knowledgable, pragmatic and impressive.’
‘Both Beth Price and Luke Hibbert were very knowledgable, pragmatic and impressive in their dealings in what was a complex high value trust and property matter.’
‘Alexandra Thornton-Reid is an impressive associate with an excellent grip on the law and all the details of complex casework. One to watch!’
‘I find the team very capable , efficient and organised in how they progress their cases from junior to partner level. The quality of service they provide to clients is high. They have particular expertise in advising landowners, or potential landowners, on the various disputes which can arise in respect of development restrictions, easements and other rights.’
‘Alexandra Thornton-Reid stands out as being very switched on. They are a pleasure to work with and I have only heard positive feedback from lay clients.’
- Acting for a trust in a complex dispute with other individuals and trusts regarding the disposal of land for development for circa £20 million.
- Advising a high-net-worth entrepreneur in respect of extensive development works to a property (costing in the region of £4m) including advising in detail on the enforceability of complex restrictive covenants.
- Advising client as a trustee of a charity in complex possession proceedings involving a £1.3 million property owned by the charity.
Ellisons Solicitors is ‘competent, proactive, communicative, results-orientated‘. Head of disputes Lee Pearce is based in Colchester, but is increasingly active throughout the Ipswich office, and Samuel Cook, who joined from Nockolds Solicitors, is building the practice in the Bury St Edmunds office. Clients remark that the practice is ‘committed, diligent and completely on top of a case‘ and that the lawyers ‘go the extra mile to ensure no points are missed‘.
Other key lawyers:
Samuel Cook; Emma Jenkins
‘Ellisons have a highly experienced property team, very practical and problem-solving.’
‘Emma Jenkins is approachable, efficient and well-organised, and can be very robust when that is needed. She is highly experienced in property work of all kinds. Molly Frankham is calm, unflappable, experienced. A really pleasure to work with.’
‘Good strength in property work across different levels of experience. Well-versed in the litigation process and practical.’
‘This is a large team with good depth in support. The Firm has many local offices and offers good accessibility to its clients.’
‘The Property Litigation team always keep me updated on their instructions and are very prompt in dealing with action.’
‘Committed, diligent and completely on top of a case. Go the extra mile to ensure no points are missed.’
‘A very knowledgeable team providing sound advice to clients at all levels of litigation on property matters. The team members keep their clients updated through the process. Ellisons have a dedicated team to provide advice upon property litigation matters, which in my view can be superior to other firms within the area.’
‘Really strong in litigation, best prepared team I have ever worked with.’
- Advising a golf club in a reported case concerning the release of restrictive covenants.
- Advising a renowned nationwide food manufacturing company in respect of an easement dispute which, in the early stages, involved successfully defending an application for an interim prohibitory injunction.
- Advising a freehold owner of land in respect of the terms of an Option Agreement to which it was subject, with a deal value of £11m.
‘They take great care of you‘, say clients of Norwich firm Fosters, which frequently acts for residential and commercial landlords, managing agents, property entrepreneurs and tenants in contentious matters. Head of litigation Chris Fielding oversees the practice. He recently handled a complex TOLATA case concerning an ambulatory trust of land. Clients recommend ‘extremely thorough, friendly and sympathetic‘ senior associate Gurpal Singh and ‘bright, focused‘ commercial property partner James Allen. Singh is a key adviser to Tingdene Holiday Parks Limited.
Other key lawyers:
Gurpal Singh; James Allen
‘This practice has been very helpful to me by pointing out the law . The billing system is easy and I’ve been able to pay some charges in advance thus not getting a large bill.’
‘My solicitor is honest and truthful. Gurpal Singh and his team have been very helpful so far ,my problem is ongoing and being dealt with.’
‘Very thorough and explained all of the legal terms needed. Very polite at all times. all invoices were fully explained.’
- Andrew Weight – L&T matter where Andrew is the tenant of a residential flat owned by a large London Borough Council who have failed to maintain the fabric of the premises, which has led to significant damage and rendering the premises inhabitable for almost 2 years and has diminished the sale value. The claims focus on the landlord’s obligations under the Building Safety Act 2022 and section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985. |Damages are estimated to be c. £75,000 together with costs and parties are agreeing the appointment of a single joint expert before embarking on mediation.
- Jerry Gilding – L&T matter where Jerry let a residential flat in North-Norfolk to a family. The landlord served a notice to bring the tenancy to an end. The tenants challenged the validity of the notice alleging, amongst other things, that while an email was received attaching the notice (permitted per the tenancy), the fact that the email had not been opened, the notice had not been brought to their attention and so had not been validly served. After a contested hearing at the county court, the judge awarded possession and costs.
- Pauline Pickton – Trust property dispute concerning Pauline’s family and a large farm and estate. Legal issues were whether the Pickton’s had been given a lease for life or whether there was some form of service occupancy linked to their employment with a company in which the landlord had the controlling stake. The matter was listed for a 3-day trial. The matter was settled on the first day of trial with the landlord agreeing to withdraw its claim, grant a lease for life and pay all the costs.
Led from London, the practice at Greenwoods Legal has significant experience in the firm’s Peterborough office, where head of litigation Huw Wallis oversees the work of ‘professional, approachable , knowledgeable and solution-focused‘ senior associate Amy Castleman, who specialises in property litigation. Solicitor Kirstie Goulder leads the firm’s property guardianship practice. Clients remark that the lawyers are ‘always available and are able to provide practical solutions and advice for any situation‘.
Other key lawyers:
Amy Castleman; Kirstie Goulder
‘Professional and approachable , knowledgeable and solution-focused.’
‘Amy Castleman has proved unflappable, wholly professional, experienced and extremely knowledgeable, intuitive, managed our expectations, and instilled confidence which made and makes working with her a very easy and comfortable process.’
‘Amy Castleman is incredibly conscientious, diligent, responsive, proactive and extremely efficient in every way and has kept us fully appraised.’
‘A talented set of individuals with well respected and knowledgeable partners and solicitors in real estate litigation.’
‘Excellent local knowledge of client’s requirements.’
‘Always available and are able to provide practical solutions and advice for any situation.’
‘Amy Castleman is quite simply excellent. She was always available, diligent, knowledgeable and had time for her client.’
‘Amy Castleman has been incredible, her communication is amazing.’
Hunt & Coombs LLP in Peterborough is known for ‘excellent and prompt service delivery‘, as well as ‘expertise in private lettings which is not generally available in many provincial practices‘. Practice co-head Helen Townsend handles property disputes, working closely with co-head and civil litigation specialist Naina Tilney. Townsend and Tilney are 'extremely dedicated and will go above and beyond for their clients', often acting in disputes concerning the breach of leases, dilapidation claims, and constructions.
Helen Townsend; Naina Tilney
‘Expertise on property law particularly with regard to private lettings which is not generally available in many provincial practices. Excellent and prompt service delivery.’
‘Partner in charge of property services, Helen Townsend, very helpful and knowledgeable And willing to help on all matters with regard to a particularly difficult tenant and negligent property management company.’
‘They are extremely dedicated and will go above and beyond for their clients. I was impressed with Helen Townsend’s attention to detail particularly.’
Nicholsons Solicitors LLP
Nicholsons Solicitors LLP houses a practice which dispenses ‘sensible and strong advice, even in difficult circumstances‘, particularly in relation to landlord and leaseholder disputes. The ‘knowledgeable, tenacious and sensible' Sabina Haag is the key practitioner, with clients remarking that she is ‘an excellent solicitor who clients are lucky to have'. Haag recently acted for Lowestoft Town Council in an infrastructure dispute with the local District Council and Highways Authority involving the ownership and responsibility of the Jubilee Bridge.
Other key lawyers:
‘Nicholsons solicitors are unique due to the quality of service and access we have. The knowledge and guidance they were able to provide was second to none.’
‘Sabina Haag demonstrated great skill in how they handle each situation. When she had a question it was asked in a manner that i understood and not lost in legal jargon.’
‘The team is very knowledgeable and able in their area of expertise. They are very hands on with clients, giving sensible and strong advice, even in difficult circumstances.’
Lowestoft Town Council
Alan Boswell Group
Taylor Properties Trading Limited
Westlegate Tower Residents Association
Hodges & Spurgeon Limited
Midas Touch Publications Limited
- Advising Lowestoft Town Council on an infrastructure dispute with the local District Council and Highways authority involving the ownership and responsibility of the Jubilee Bridge.
- Represented Westfield Tower Residents Association and leaseholders in a group action in the First-Tier Property Tribunal involving an £8million fire safety and cladding dispute.
- Panel appointment for Alan Boswell Insurance Brokers Limited to act on all possession, dilapidations and rent arrears claims in the Mid and South England region.
Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a national practice in which the Cambridge office plays a key role. Senior associate Andrea Nicholls is the firm’s local specialist, with clients describing her as a 'logical, methodical, calm problem solver who works hard on the solution'. Nicholls is 'absolutely fantastic', and frequently handles matters concerning property insolvency, landlord and tenant issues, and agricultural property, having recently assisted Vitality Health Limited with numerous break notices.
‘Good honest, personable, straight forward clear communicating individuals who are well versed in their field. Strong depth of knowledge and wide-ranging skill set within the team.’
‘Andrea Nicolls is a logical, methodical, calm problem solver who works hard on the solution. Excellent depth of experience. Excellent communication skills, works to find alternatives and a solution rather than create a problem. Responsive and approachable with an easy manner. Honest with clients and manages expectations well. Strong communicator.’
‘Penningtons Manches Cooper as a whole is superb and a the best property litigation firm in the area.’
‘Andrea Nicholls is absolutely fantastic, commercial and really talented. Amy Evans is also a brilliant solicitor and client manager.’
‘Friendly and great at what they do.’
Vitality Health Limited
Arnold Lodge School
The Country Market
- Advising Vitality Health Limited on a number of break notices, both serving them on behalf of the client and advising on the validity of break notices received. The break notices were conditional and involved complex compliance including the calculation and payment of a break premium.
- Advising Arnold Lodge School after the tenant purported to withdraw their break notice on a sub-lease of part of the school building to be a nursery school which was run by an independent provider of nursery education.
- Advising a large family farming business including a farm shop, restaurant, retail concessions, a car boot sale site worth and a mixed farm on a family partnership dispute worth £2.5m on value, ownership and family members not included.
Spire Solicitors LLP
Spire Solicitors LLP‘s dispute resolution team handles the full gamut of disputes concerning commercial, residential, and agricultural land, as part of a broad portfolio of work. Siân Carrel in Dereham leads the practice, which advises on landlord and tenant matters, adverse possession, development agreements, and service charge disputes. The work of Jane Liddle includes boundary disputes and TOLATA claims.
Other key lawyers:
- Acted for a private individual in the defence of a TOLATA claim by an ex-partner.
- Advised a charity in connection with a farming tenancy.
- Advised a landowner in the resolution of a boundary dispute to enable development of land.