Property litigation in East Midlands

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP is instructed by nationally recognised retailers, insurance companies, developers and public sector bodies to advise on complex landlord and tenant issues, possession claims, dilapidation matters and property related professional negligence disputes. The majority of the firm's recent work has related to the impact of Covid-19; senior associate Louise Reed has assisted a range of retail clients as commercial tenants on business interruption issues. Pamela Shepherd, who previously led the team nationally, retired in October 2020. The group is now led from Birmingham by James Coles, who joined from George Green LLP in mid-2020.

Practice head(s):

James Coles

Other key lawyers:

Louise Reed

Testimonials

‘The individuals have valuable knowledge of NHS estates and how to apply our requirements in a commercial setting.’

Key clients

Cheshire East Borough Council

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council

Walgreens Boots Alliance

Natural England

London Borough of Croydon

Aggregate Industries UK Limited

Homes England

Paperchase Products Limited

Cornwall Council

DPD Group UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised numerous retail clients on the impact of the pandemic and how best to protect their property interests.
  • Dealing with the high-profile eviction of a large number of travellers from an Academy Trust site.
  • Advising a pension fund in respect of a cladding issue at a multi-storey mixed commercial and residential building.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP's contentious property offering stands out in the market, as the team regularly works with landowners and commercial tenants on the full spectrum of disputes. Practice head Paul Tomkins is able to 'drill down to the crux of a matter' when representing administrator and property owner clients in disputes relating to lease renewals, dilapidations claims, service charge easements and covenants issues. Associate Beth Jenkins is rapidly developing a reputation as a go-to name for urgent eviction issues; she recently assisted the University of Nottingham with obtaining an order of possession after its land was occupied by travellers.

Practice head(s):

Paul Tomkins

Other key lawyers:

Beth Jenkins

Testimonials

‘Beth Jenkins reviewed a substantial bundle of papers I sent, understood the issues I was concerned with and provided her initial advice very quickly. She had good knowledge and experience of property litigation and was very approachable. She dealt with the proceedings issued and then focused on a strategy to resolve the proceedings effectively. Her costs were entirely reasonable. Overall, Beth provided an excellent and good value service. I recommend her without hesitation.’

‘What makes working with the team great is they just keep it simple. Just a great litigation team at the end of the phone whenever needed with commercial, straight to the point advice, rather than a suite of options. The team are really personable and get genuinely engaged with the issue at hand. And as well as great litigators, we find the team to be great negotiators. They always strike a collaborative, cooperative style to pursue a commercial resolution.

‘Paul Tomkins makes a visible effort to engage with our sector and his confidence with the market means his advice strikes the right tone.’

‘The experience I have had with Freeths’ Real estate – Property Litigation team has always been positive. Led by Paul Tomkins they work in a very good collaborative manner and are always responsive to their client needs. They have a knack of understanding and explaining complex issues to their client and always recognise the need for a good commercial outcome.’

‘Paul Tomkins is the main person I have worked with. He has a good rapport with his client base and is always responsive and understanding of his client’s needs. I admire his ability to address complex issues and drill down to the crux of a matter to enable the best commercial outcome to be achieved. Paul is honest in the advice he gives, tells you the truth, the facts and options available and does not simply tell you what you want to hear.’

‘I have always found the property conveyancing and litigation team extremely responsive, professional, approachable and they give advice in terms that you can always understand.’

Key clients

Chancerygate Asset Management and Development

Deichmann Shoes

Dreams

Euro Garages

Halfords Limited

Poundstretcher

Tarmac

Timpson

Travis Perkins Group including City Plumbing, Toolstation and Wickes

Well Pharmacy

Work highlights

  • Advised Poundstretcher on all property litigation issues arising following its Company Voluntary Arrangement, which comprised claims with a value of £396m.
  • Advising the Travis Perkins Group on the property litigation aspects of a project to separate Tile Giant Limited from the group so that it could be sold.
  • Assisting University of Nottingham with obtaining an urgent order for possession to remover trespassers from the university’s land.

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP advises a diverse range of clients, including corporates,  investment funds, institutional landlords, developers and private individuals, on contentious issues. Leicester-based Satnam Chayra leads the property litigation team in the East Midlands; alongside assisting commercial landlords with managing portfolios, Chayra also handles dilapidations, lease renewals, rent recovery issues, applications for consent, contentious breaks and forfeitures. Director Jane Bloomer, who is also experienced in landlord and tenant work, is the name to note in Northampton, and Geraint Davies leads the litigation and insolvency group across the firm's multiple offices, while also serving as firm chairman.

Practice head(s):

Geraint Davies; Satnam Chayra

Other key lawyers:

Jane Bloomer

Testimonials

‘For the size of the firm, the quality of legal product is astonishing. We took a case to trial with Howes Percival – it was a factually and legally complex four day dispute and the HP team marshalled everything perfectly; would be easy to consider that they were a City silver circle firm for the quality of service provided. More often than not they achieve a commercial and pragmatic settlement but, when that isn’t possible, they are with the client all the way and are very much up for the fight! Tremendous value too; I do not know how they can provide such quality advice and litigation for such reasonable fees.

‘Satnam Chayra is confident, client-friendly, commercially minded and a fierce litigator in your corner. Tells it how it is too. Wonderful to work with!’

‘A very personal but still professional relationship makes Howes Percival unique. Communication, promptness and efficiency is definitely one of their strengths.’

Key clients

C Brewer & Sons Limited

Kettle Interiors UK Limited

O Donovan Waste Disposal Limited

Nampak Plastics Europe Limited

Renewi UK Services Limited

Gravity Media UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for a client in a multi-million pound negligence claim brought by liquidators against former conveyancing solicitors where the solicitor had failed to secure completion monies for companies in liquidation before completing.
  • Acting for a tenant in defending a dilapidation claim from a landlord, and asserting back-to-back dilapidations claims against two subtenants.
  • Acting for a defendant in relation to a damages claim of £2m for alleged breach of various collaboration agreements.

Flint Bishop LLP

Flint Bishop LLP provides a 'very personal service' to its landowner, developer and commercial landlord clients, which it assists with property-related insolvency claims, development disputes and unlawful interference with land issues. The team underwent significant changes in 2020; former practice head Lorna Truman departed to Bray & Bray in September, while Qamer Ghafoor took up the role of chief executive. The team is now led by Nick Wells, who specialises in complex landlord and tenant issues, most notably disputes relating to dilapidations. Wells is also one of the foremost experts in the statutory Pubs Code, having represented Marston’s in statutory arbitrations and a judicial review claim relating to the legislation.

Practice head(s):

Nick Wells

Other key lawyers:

Qamer Ghafoor; Jo Milward-Hyde

Testimonials

‘A very proactive company who understand the commercial needs of our business. They act as a team and there is always someone available with knowledge of ongoing instructions. They have an ability to quickly and effectively respond to a diverse range of issues.’

‘Nick Wells is calm, collected and has gained considerable in-depth knowledge of new legislation which significantly impacts our industry’s way of working. He has developed an expertise which is invaluable to us. His judgement is always sound.’

‘The practice offers a very personal service. They understand our requirements and respond to the commercial pace we work at. Their decision making is always accurate and relevant, they apply legal principles well to balance our commercial objectives. Use of technology is good and email is used for most dealings. Different departments collaborate well and result in timely outcomes to projects and new requirements.’

‘Nick Wells works closely with our company. He is an excellent litigation and dispute resolution solicitor. He has a very calm demeanour and approaches every matter that he is involved in clearly and on point. He understands the implications of complicated legislation that impacts our business and interprets with great clarity of thought and always responds in a very timely fashion. He is very valued to our business. Jo Milward-Hyde is an associate who deals with a range of transactions and matters of dispute on a day to day basis. Jo has a very close understanding of our business and is readily available to deal with matters at short notice and provides an excellent service.’

Key clients

Bowmer & Kirkland

Marston’s PLC

Peveril Securities

National Trust

Food Standards Agency

Haven Insurance Company

Costcutter Supermarkets Group

Henry Boot Developments

Ward Recycling

Methodist Homes

Work highlights

  • Acting for Marston’s PLC in numerous matters in connection with the statutory Pubs Code and various property litigation matters arising out of its substantial pub and restaurant estate.
  • Acting for the National Trust in numerous property litigation matters arising out of the substantial National Trust estate across the UK.
  • Acting for the development arm of a major PLC in a £multi-million TCC claim for losses deriving from a large grade A office development.

Geldards LLP

Operating from Nottingham, Geldards LLP has expertise in all areas of property litigation, but is best known for its extensive work in complex landlord and tenant matters, particularly with regard to the retail, utilities and motor trade sectors. Key practitioner and practice head Mark Hacking is especially strong in this regard, having advised on dilapidations, break notices and lease renewal claims. Catherine Gritt, who was promoted to senior associate in January 2021, has developed strong relationships with key clients Boots and Western Power Distribution.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hacking

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Gritt; Kim Coveney

Testimonials

‘The team has great strength in depth and are consistently able to have the right level of individual dealing with the right aspects of instructions to ensure an excellent quality of service at fee levels that are cost effective for clients. Their liaison/coordination with both clients and professionals from other disciplines involved in cases ensures the cross-discipline team works closely together to achieve best results from a unified strategy.’

Key clients

Western Power Distribution

Pendragon Group

Boots

Eurocell

Work highlights

  • Acted for Western Power Distribution in various contentious property matters.
  • Provided Boots with a specialist lease renewal service for significant retail stores across the country.
  • Represented Pendragon in a range of freehold and leasehold property dispute matters, including the protection of vacant premises.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's practice spans its Nottingham and Derby offices, and is capable of advising high-net-worth individuals, charities, developers and commercial landlords. 'Superb tactician' Simon Waterfield is the key practitioner; his expertise includes acting for national developers in drainage disputes and representing high-net-worth individuals in restrictive covenant, right of way and boundary issues. Oliver Maxwell, who was promoted to senior associate in June 2020, has developed a specialism in lease renewal and termination disputes.

Practice head(s):

Simon Waterfield

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Maxwell

Testimonials

‘I mainly dealt with Oliver Maxwell directly, who advised me professionally and promptly. I felt I got 5* service from everyone I encountered. I will definitely use them again!!’

‘Simon Waterfield is my main partner contact and his depth of knowledge and experience is exceptional. He makes himself fully available and accessible, easy to talk to and communicate with and he is very clear with explanations and proposed actions.

‘The quality of the advice is the highest I have experienced.’

‘A very good blend of property dispute resolution and the more routine conduct of property variations, notarisations, etc in a specialist support team. The dispute resolution team are well-supported by colleagues with niche expertise.’

‘Main contact over recent years has been Oliver Maxwell who has been notably helpful whilst remaining very professional as changes in client personnel have complicated matters.’

Key clients

Helier Limited

Shapeform Limited

Chevin Homes (Ashbourne) Limited

Nucleus Finance Limited

W Westerman Limited

A.F Hunt Builders Limited

Ashfield Homes limited

Godkin Holdings

NPPL Limited

Intelligent Money Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisting Rock Plant Hire Limited with obtaining a property occupied by a commercial tenant.
  • Advised Carters Educational Foundation on landlord and tenant matters.

Wilkin Chapman LLP

Wilkin Chapman LLP is a well-known name in Grimsby and Lincoln and acts for clients from the renewable energy, agriculture, housing and tourism sectors in various contentious matters. Portfolio management is one of the group's strengths, having represented key client Canal & River Trust as landlord in a number of disputes with commercial tenants. Team head Joshua Briggs 'stands out from the crowd' in the Lincolnshire market; he was promoted to head of dispute resolution in July 2020, and is also highly-regarded for his proficiency in urgent cases of trespass.

Practice head(s):

Joshua Briggs

Other key lawyers:

Siobahn Sylvester; Tom Hickingbottom

Testimonials

‘I have dealt most with Tom Hickingbottom who is an excellent lawyer and always picks up quickly on the relevant issue.’

‘The team are vey experienced and go about their business in a very professional manner. Business carried out with honesty, integrity and above all they are highly skilled.’

‘Property litigation is a key strength of Wilkin Chapman, with capabilities across the board in the sector, including the unusual field of contested rates litigation.’

‘Partner Joshua Briggs stands out from the crowd where property is concerned, being a top-class analyst and always able to see the bigger picture.’

‘I have found Joshua pleasant and easy to deal with.’

‘In depth experience in debt recovery work for local authorities, particularly relating to non-domestic rating and the council tax.’

‘The practice includes many different skills, and knowledge.’

Key clients

Canal & River Trust

TW Logistics

Court Enforcement Services Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Court Enforcement Services Ltd in respect of its application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in the leading case on priority of enforcement instruments.
  • Advised Canal & River Trust in relation to CVA’s proposed by 3 of its well-known high street tenants in the leisure, retail and fashion sectors.
  • Acted for Appellant in an appeal to the Supreme Court concerning an application under the Commons Registration Act.

Actons

Actons' team, based in Nottingham, represents private landowners, tenants, businesses and charities in a variety of contentious matters. Caroline Bowler leads the team and focuses on disputes relating to proprietary rights, advising on the enforcement of restrictive covenants, adverse possession claims and issues relating to a range of easements including rights to light and rights of way. Associate Daniel Harley assists with landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Bowler

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Harley

Testimonials

‘Every member of the team I have needed to use for various different projects and problems have been excellent. Professional and competent. Brilliant firm – who I would highly recommend.’

‘Daniel Harley is excellent. His work is highly comprehensive, fair, clear and on point. He understands complex issues and is amazing at dealing with all aspects, in a clear moving forward way.’

‘This team is uniquely placed in Nottingham and the Midlands, offering first class property advice and litigation services usually associated with the leading London firms. Particular strengths are easement and rights of way claims, boundary and adverse possession work. The litigation and non-contentious/transaction lawyers in the firm provide a brilliant joined up service, providing strength and depth, and a holistic client based solution to the most complex of claims.’

‘The key lead is obviously Caroline Bowler, she is not only an extremely astute lawyer but an unrivalled pleasure to work with. Ever sensitive to the client’s needs, she carefully steers the case from first to last, to deliver the best result. You could not find a more reassuring presence to take you through the difficulties and challenges of any litigation or dispute.’

Work highlights

  • Advising a commercial landlord on the termination of a 1954 Act protected lease on ground F in relation to a complex, multi-tenanted, development site.
  • Advising a private estate on various complex issues relating to historic title, easements and rent charges.
  • Advising a commercial developer in relation to a breach of a multi-million pound option agreement including enforcement of obligations in relation to co-operation and information sharing.

Smith Partnership

Smith Partnership was very active in 2020 advising on issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic; the firm was particularly busy assisting pub chain Ei Group with possession and money claims, as well as defending claims brought by commercial tenants. Derby-based Russell Davies advises on property issues as part of a wide-ranging dispute resolution practice, with lease renewals, trespass issues and nuisance claims amongst his areas of expertise. Associate Liam Kreibich has developed a notable specialism in residential possession claims.

Practice head(s):

Russell Davies

Other key lawyers:

Liam Kreibich

Testimonials

‘Our main contact at Smith Partnership is Russell Davies. He is thorough in his investigations and provides not only swift excellent legal advice but also commercial advice. He provides options and will always suggest the best option commercially/legally. Great communication.’

‘Liam Kreibich has continually provided us with excellent advice and guidance. I have recommended Liam to a number of landlords who have also commented on his professionalism and superb service.’

‘From the outset the firm has always kept us fully informed of the progress of the case including face to face meetings to help prepare for court.’

Russell Davies – technical advice which, whilst complicated, is delivered in such a way that makes clients comfortable and understanding to the position, even in particularly contentious cases.

Russell Davies – always takes swift action to secure the client’s position, even out of hours or during weekends. We have never had to chase Russell, even when a project is delayed for reasons beyond anyone’s control – Russell communicates to the client so we are all aware where we stand.

‘I have worked with Smith Partnership for over 15 years, as a letting agency we have had regular need to seek legal advice mostly on Tenant and Landlord law. I have also had brief dealings with the employment law arm of the company too. As a whole, the firm is approachable, professional and friendly and nothing appears to be too much trouble when dealing with any of the team.’

‘With regards to the Landlord and Tenant law side of things I have dealt specifically with Liam Kreibich at the Smith Partnership for many years who has advised on eviction and possession proceedings. Not only is he incredibly knowledgeable about what is a complicated procedure at present given the ever changing laws under Covid legislation, but he is also very approachable and happy to give advice when he can.’

‘Russell was a good lawyer and was very approachable and good with clients and barristers.’

Key clients

Littler Investments Limited

Ei Group Limited

Robert Wall/Simon Wain

Ingleby Investments Limited

Scargill Mann and Co

Sure Sales and Lettings

Little Mansions Limited

John German Estate Agents

Work highlights

  • Advising Littler Investments Limited on an application for a re-trial of a lease renewal application, based on allegations of misleading evidence and changes in case law.
  • Advising Ei Group Limited on a broad range of property related issues including possession claims, trespasser actions and lease-related litigation.
  • Advising individuals in relation to a claim for possession, resisted by the defendants who allege ownership by way of adverse possession, estoppel or gift.