Property litigation in London Bar
Falcon Chambers specialises in property litigation and associated areas and is hailed as the ‘pre-eminent set’ at the property Bar. Among its areas of expertise are enfranchisement, compulsory purchases, mineral rights, telecoms matters, and Land Registry issues. In a recent highlight, Guy Fetherstonhaugh QC acted in S. Frances Ltd v Cavendish, a Supreme Court case which reversed decades of Court of Appeal precedent concerning the extent to which a landlord’s intention to redevelop a property must be unconditional when opposing the grant of a new business tenancy. Elsewhere, Stephen Jourdan QC appeared in the Privy Council on appeal from the Court of Appeal of The Bahamas in Bannerman Town etc. Association v Eleuthera Properties. The matter concerned a complex title dispute of 2,000 acres of land in The Bahamas. The arrival of Camilla Chorfi from Selborne Chambers bolstered the set’s landlord and tenant offering.
Hailed as ‘excellent for property litigation’, Landmark Chambers is home to a ‘superb team of barristers as well as clerks’. Its core strengths include restrictive covenants and easements, mortgages and property finance, conveyancing disputes, commercial landlord and tenant matters, and litigation concerning private sector residential leaseholds. The set had a busy year in the Supreme Court acting on disputes including Southwark LBC v Transport for London where Timothy Morshead QC advocated on the statutory interpretation of a highway, and S. Franses Ltd v The Cavendish Hotel (London) Ltd in which Nicholas Taggart acted for the defendant landlord in a case which questioned the degree of intention of work at a premises under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Justin Bates and Simon Allison are two notable recent arrivals, joining from 4-5 Gray's Inn Square and Hardwicke respectively.
At Tanfield Chambers, members provide ‘leading expertise in residential property’, including landlord and tenant, enfranchisement, and service charge disputes. Noted for its ‘good strength at the junior level’, the set is also home to a number of ‘excellent silks’ with Andrew Butler, in particular, demonstrating a particularly strong year. He recently appeared in the Supreme Court in Wells v Devani which concerned section 18 of the Estate Agents Act 1979 and also acted in the Court of Appeal case of Jones and another v Oven and another which pertained to a covenant dispute between adjoining landowners. In a boost to the set, Nicholas Isaac QC recently took silk.
Wilberforce Chambers provides ‘strength at all levels’ with a ‘strong stable of leading names’. The set is adept on all land law fronts though it boasts specific expertise on commercial and residential landlord and tenant, development, mortgage, and title matters. Joanne Wicks QC and Jonathan Chew recently acted against Jonathan Seitler QC and Emer Murphy in the leading case of Canary Wharf Group v European Medicines Agency which considered whether Brexit constituted a frustration of a long-term lease. A further inter-chambers battle saw Seitler QC face Martin Hutchings QC in No 1 West India Quay Residential Ltd v East Tower Apartments Ltd, the first long lease case under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1988 to reach the Court of Appeal.
Hardwicke is ‘an excellent set from top to bottom’ with ‘good strength in depth’. Noted for its ‘wide expertise and knowledgebase’, its members are adept on property-related transactional negligence, trespass injunctions, cladding, the law of nuisance, and Schedule 3A of the Communication Act 2003, in addition to public house and Airbnb-related disputes. Brie Stevens-Hoare QC is currently acting on Reiner & Wismayer v Triplark, a Supreme Court appeal concerning alienation in leases, and is also leading Lina Mattsson in the High Court case of Khoury v Kensell which is centred on restrictive covenants.
The ‘expertise in property litigation’ at Maitland Chambers is ‘outstanding’ with the set particularly renowned for its work on possession hearings, commercial disputes, and insolvency-related instructions. Christopher Pymont QC recently acted in Moore v Moore, an appeal to the Court of Appeal, which was allowed in part and concerned a proprietary estoppel claim of approximately £10m. Elsewhere, John McGhee QC acted in the Court of Appeal case of Generator v Lidl and was successful in resisting a constructive trust claim.
Selborne Chambers provides ‘a fantastic service from beginning to end’ and is always able to ‘find a barrister at the appropriate level’. The set is adept on a number of fronts, with a particular focus directed towards commercial landlord and tenant work. Chambers head Mark Warwick QC recently acted in Ong v Ping in which the Court of Appeal ruled there can be an express declaration of trust in an instance where there has been conduct but no declaration. Gary Blaker QC also appeared in the Court of Appeal, acting for the claimants in P & P Property Ltd v Owen White and Catlin and Crownvent Ltd which related to property identity fraud.
Praised as ‘an excellent chambers’ with a ‘good range of expertise and seniority’, Enterprise Chambers is particularly reputed for landlord and tenant disputes, insolvency, and property-related professional negligence. Kavan Gunaratna is currently instructed on Re: Maitland House a.k.a. Lunar Office SARL v Broadway Estates Ltd, a case in the High Court concerning a dispute over a proposed development by a sub-tenant of 98 flats.
New Square Chambers is a set that can be ‘relied upon for high-quality property-related advice’. Chambers' strengths lie in landlord and tenant work, disputes with a public law element, and public access to land, in addition to town and village green cases. Of note, George Laurence QC is currently acting for the claimant in Roxlena Ltd v Cumbria County Council who seeks to prevent an order of 44 new footbaths that would criss-cross upon their land.
Radcliffe Chambers is ‘able to offer experienced and bright counsel at all levels’. Forming the set’s specialisms are landlord and tenant, property tax, commercial investment, and development disputes, as well as planning permission, auction sales, misrepresentation, and enfranchisement issues. Gary Lidington represented the claimants in Antoniou & Antoniou v Georgallides & Georgallides, a case which concerned ownership of a £5m property in Highgate and involved allegations of a forged trust deed. Another standout instruction saw Howard Smith act on the widely referred to party wall case of Chliachtein v Wainbridge Estates Belgravia Ltd (No.2).
Serle Court is ‘a very good set for property litigation work’ that directs specific focus towards easements, covenants, options, land registrations, and trusts. Christopher Stoner QC recently acted on behalf of approximately 100 owners of chalets in the Court of Appeal case of Phillips & Others v Francis, pertaining to service charge issues arising from a redevelopment. In another highlight instruction, Andrew Bruce acted in Humphrey v Rogers, a High Court matter relating to the conversion of a farm building into residential accommodation.
Henderson Chambers is a ‘good set, with considerable strength in property related-law’, according to clients. Chambers' members are active on both the domestic and commercial property fronts with experience in property damage, right to light, co-ownership, trusts of land, environmental, and landlord and tenant disputes. Lucy McCormick recently acted on Radiosites Ltd v O’Connor, a dispute over a telecommunications tower which resulted in an application or an injunction to obtain access.
Work undertaken by Ten Old Square includes commercial landlord and tenant disputes, rent review arbitrations, dilapidations, leasehold enfranchisement, estoppel, co-habitees, and trusts. In one instruction worthy of note, Samuel Laughton is currently representing the wife of a defendant in Latchworth Ltd & Ziya v Tilly & Tilly, a multimillion-pound fraud claim which the claimant is attempting to enforce against the matrimonial home.