Firms To Watch: Property litigation

The December 2022 arrival of former head of Shoosmiths LLP‘s team Wayne Nash, followed by the April 2023 arrival of associate director Ben Kelly from the same firm marks the establishment of Deloitte LLP‘s Manchester property disputes practice.
With a team spread across Manchester and Warrington, ET Law Limited trading as Stamford Law was formed as a result of ET Law Limited's acquisiton of Abacus Solicitors LLP.

Property litigation in North West

Addleshaw Goddard

The practice at Addleshaw Goddard, led by Leeds-based Julie Middlemass, is noted as ‘one of the best teams of property litigators in the country’. It is renowned for its ability to act for high-profile tenants and some of the UK’s largest institutional investors on the full range of high-value, complex matters, which reach High Court and Supreme Court level. ‘Reassuring person to have on your side’ Charles Jagger has expertise assisting on exit strategies and in complex dilapidation claims, as does Chris Perrin, regarded as ‘one of the leading lights in the property world’, in addition to his strengths in business rates and development work. The ‘exceptional’ Andy Feehan is another name to note for his focus on property management issues. ‘Completely brilliant’ managing associate Patricia Love stands out and the ‘fiercely intelligent’ Vicki Sandbrook is a standout associate . Legal director Joanne Mills joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in May 2022.

Practice head(s):

Julie Middlemass

Other key lawyers:

Andy Feehan; Chris Perrin; Charles Jagger; Chris McGrath; Patricia Love; Vicki Sandbrook; Joanne Mills; Annie Armstrong


‘Andy Feehan is exceptional, responsive and accessible – he goes above and beyond. Effective communication is crucial in the legal profession, and Andy communicates complex legal concepts clearly to our project team and understands the commercial objectives of our project, providing advice that is not only legally sounds but commercially astute.’

‘Patricia Love is the standout – she’s completely brilliant.’

‘One of the best teams of property litigators in the country, not just the north west of England.’

‘Chris Perrin is one of the leading lights of the property world. An extremely experienced and tenacious litigator who is highly regarded in the marketplace. Julie Middlemass is very experienced litigation partner who instils confidence in her clients.’

‘Chris McGrath has excellent manner with clients and sound commercial judgment. Vicki Sandbrook’s clients adore her and for good reason – she is extremely hard working and fiercely intelligent.’

‘Addleshaw Goddard’s north west property litigation team is simply the best in the area – full stop. They have a fantastic client base served by lawyers who combine great substantive knowledge with a real sense of what matters commercially for their clients. On the top of that, they are very easy to work with.’

‘Charles Jagger epitomises the strengths of the team as a whole; an excellent substantive and procedural lawyer whose advice is always commercial, and whose approach is always pragmatic. He is just such a reassuring person to have on your side. Annie Armstrong is a really sensible, responsive, and reliable young lawyer.’

‘Chris Perrin and Joanne Mills are ‘thinkers’ – they think rather than just apply, which allows for the exploration of a broader range of solutions to legal problems. They spend time very early on getting to grips with the client’s objectives, which they never lose sight of.’

Key clients


Bruntwood Group of Companies

Co-operative Group

Hillview Group

Mapeley Estates

Marks and Spencer

Network Rail

Santander UK Plc

Property Alliance Group

Vue Cinemas

Work highlights

  • Acting in relation to a long-running claim for historic business rates, successfully striking out 2 out of 3 grounds of claim at the Supreme Court.
  • Acting for CarVal Investors concluding over 100 lease renewal claims raised re various effects of Covid on the valuation managing the matters through to a series of batched trials.
  • Advising various landlords and a few tenants on the property aspects of various schemes to replace cladding on tall buildings and deal with landlord and tenant issues.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

The offering at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, ‘willing to go above and beyond’, is noted for its ‘diverse and inclusive range of employees’. The team is well-equipped to act for such well-known clients as The Cooperative Bank PLC and HS2 on complex work in both domestic and cross-jurisdictional contexts. David McGuirk, described as having ‘a clear and deep understanding of his field’, leads the team and is experienced in handling commercial and residential development disputes, particularly in relation to right to light matters. Alex Wright also stands out in the team, having recently led on such cases as a complex possession dispute for European Metal Recycling Limited. Senior associate Carly Fishwick is remarked as working ‘exceptionally hard to ensure that every case is run impeccably’. Legal director Joanne Mills departed to Addleshaw Goddard in May 2022.

Practice head(s):

David McGuirk

Other key lawyers:

Alex Wright; Carly Fishwick


‘A very personal service offered from a team willing to go above and beyond in time-critical situations.’

‘The team at Eversheds are incredibly helpful, quick to respond to queries and also provide sound commercial advice.’

‘David McGuirk is not only friendly and approachable but has a clear and deep understanding of his field. He offers sound commercial advice and takes into account the specific needs of the client. I would highly recommend him.’

‘A depth of knowledge and excellent attention-to-detail, alongside a slick service.’

‘Alex Wright was able to get to the nub of our complex issue quickly, and when additional advice was needed he knew exactly where to go.’

‘Despite having all the advantages of being a big firm including detailed knowledge of the law, strong expertise and experience in most types of cases within the property litigation sphere, the team is friendly and approachable and gives close attention to its clients’ cases.’

An appropriate amount of time and energy is dedicated to each case, and cases are always very well-prepared. I have noticed that this firm has a diverse and inclusive range of employees, having regard to gender diversity and social mobility.’

‘David McGuirk brings an air of authority and calmness to all litigation that he conducts. He never overreacts and always thinks carefully about the merits and demerits of the case before giving the client clear and robust advice. Senior associate Carly Fishwick works exceptionally hard to ensure that every case is run impeccably and is always firm but fair.’

Key clients


The Co-Operative Bank PLC

SI Properties Limited (Smiths Group plc)

European Tyre Enterprise Limited (Kwik-Fit)


The Emerson Group

Four Seasons Health Care


DXC Technology


Hill Dickinson LLP

The property litigation practice at Hill Dickinson LLP has capabilities advising its roster of sector-spanning clients, which includes such well-known names as the Co-Operative Group and Transport for Greater Manchester, on the gamut of matters. Kevin Lee, who splits his time between the firm’s Manchester, Liverpool and London offices, heads up the practice in the North West. The team is well-equipped to handle complex and high-value matters, including those pertaining to the Land Compensation Act 1973. It also handles lease disputes which arose as a result of Covid-19. Manchester-based Helen Evans was notably promoted to partner in November 2022 and has significant experience handling claims in relation to restrictive covenants, access and rights of way, boundaries, title rectifications, and easements. Ralph Bullivant and legal director Phil Parker are both key names in the Liverpool office, which was further bolstered with the arrival of legal executive James McHugh from Pannone Corporate LLP in October 2022.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Lee

Other key lawyers:

Ralph Bullivant; Phil Parker; Helen Evans; James McHugh

Key clients


London Southend Airport

First Title Insurance Plc

Countrywide Legal Indemnities Limited

Aviva Insurance Plc

Iceland Foods Limited

Co-Operative Group

Transport for Greater Manchester

Lancashire County Cricket Club

National Car Parks Limited (NCP)

Downing Students

DHL Group

Lookers Plc

Kuehne + Nagel Limited

Associated British Ports

Derwent Holdings Limited

Hamilton Heath Estates Limited

Persimmon Homes Limited

Rainier Group

The Helmsley Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for Transport for Manchester in relation to a multi-million-pound claim brought by the head lessee of Deansgate Arches, a historic (and iconic) Victorian structure.
  • Acting for London Southend Airport in relation to claims for compensation brought by numerous claimants pursuant to the Land Compensation Act 1972.
  • Acting for a developer of a city-centre hotel in relation to rights to light issues.

Brabners LLP

The ‘top-level service’ provided by the practice at Brabners LLP includes acting on high-value matters regarding such complex issues as possession disputes, dilapidation of well-known listed buildings, landlord and tenant claims as well as the array of issues involved with new developments. Legal director Sarah Hall joined the team from DWF in May 2022. Liverpool-based Andrew Rogers co-leads the team alongside the ‘down-to-earth and knowledgeable’ Helena Davies who has a notable specialism in retail-related work and Jeff Lewis, both of who work from the Manchester office.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Rogers; Helena Davies; Jeff Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Hall; Jessica Crowther


‘The property litigation team at Brabners are well-resourced to deal with our litigation needs in property terms. They deal with work at appropriate levels and provide proactive advice in order to resolve matters with as little fuss and expense as possible.’   

‘They are responsive, proactive and give timely advice when needed. They have quickly gotten under the skin of our business and leverage this insight brilliantly when discussing litigation strategy.’

‘Helena Davies is extremely responsive, down-to-earth and knowledgeable. She gives no-nonsense practical advice delivered in a way that is easily understandable by our business stakeholders; massively important when trying to quickly and efficiently resolve dispute.   

Work highlights

  • Defending a £20m+ claim brought by a developer in connection with the alleged breach of an agreement for lease by a landlord.
  • Advising a charitable foundation in relation to its complex and onerous ownership of a historic dilapidated Grade 2 listed building and grounds in Upholland, Lancashire.
  • Advised Israel-based clients regarding their ongoing significant adverse possession dispute involving land near Heathrow worth approximately £3m.


DLA Piper UK LLP‘s ‘superb’ practice, which has presence in both Manchester and Liverpool, is led by experienced litigator Martin Griffiths, who holds niche expertise in telecoms-related property disputesThe team is adept to act for its roster of notable clients on the full array of disputes, including those involving high-value development projects, Additionally, it ably handles the management of significant portfolios. Liverpool-based legal director Rachael Jones is a key team member with strength and expertise on the range of real estate portfolio matters. Associate Olivia Parrington is a ‘notable team member’ at the same office.

Practice head(s):

Martin Griffiths

Other key lawyers:

Rachael Jones; Olivia Parrington


‘A very measured team that gives excellent, commercial advice.’

‘Martin Griffiths and Rachael Jones always give sensible commercial advice and we enjoy working with them.’

‘This team is superb. They are quick, efficient and provide very clear solutions to often complicated cases.’

‘Martin Griffiths, Rachael Jones and Olivia Parrington are notable team members.’

‘DLA Piper stand out amongst their peers in terms of providing a professional and tailored service, and in turning matters around quickly.’

‘The team are approachable, always quick to respond, provide good advice and and always keep you fully updated.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for the pension fund of a global plc, advising as to liability for replacement of combustible insulation panels at a prominent hotel site in London, in the value region of £1.75m.
  • Acting for an institutional investor client in making an application for injunctive relief against multiple neighbouring property owners and occupiers to prevent persistent blocking of the client’s £65m industrial estate.
  • Acting in the £350m+ redevelopment of a City Centre and advising on potential breaches of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Proceedings in relation to one anchor tenant.


TLT’s ‘strong and dependable’ Manchester team is well-equipped to represent clients across leisure, energy development and retail sectors in particular wherein it acts for such nationally renowned clients as Sainsburys, Pets at Home and WH Smith. It acts on high-profile redevelopments in relation to arising landlord and tenant issues, dilapidations and property management issues. Manchester-based Matthew Forrest and finance specialist and ‘steady captain’ James Chadwick co-lead the team alongside Bristol-based national head of property litigation Mark Routley. Legal director Tom White has expertise across commercial, residential and landlord and tenants disputes work.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Forrest; James Chadwick; Mark Routley

Other key lawyers:

Tom White; Sam Molyneaux


‘An excellent team – strong and dependable.’

‘James Chadwick is the consummate property litigator. A safe pair of hands with any issue and not afraid to go to trial if a commercial solution proves elusive. An excellent dealmaker too.’

‘The team is very strong – there is no issue they haven’t seen before and cannot resolve. TLT have resolved some almost impossible cases for our institution, with excellent results.’

‘James Chadwick is a steady captain steering his team in the right direction. Under his watchful eye our caseload is in safe hands. He also clearly makes a lot of effort to develop his junior lawyers in this area.’

‘Matthew Forrest gives good solid advice, and is always honest as to whether it is best to proceed in my interest on matters.’

‘Very thorough in every detail.’

Key clients

Manchester Airport Group

WH Smith

Pets at Home, Vets 4 Pets and Companion Care Services

Punch Pubs

Covent Garden Market Authority

TUI Travel

Co-operative Group

Lloyds Bank plc

Santander UK plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for CGMA in respect of the Covent Garden Market Authority development since it commenced.
  • Acting in respect of all real estate dispute issues that arise in respect of Manchester Airport Group’s estate.
  • Advising Pets at Home Limited on its 450 plus stores and 388 vet practices in the UK in relation to both contentious and non-contentious lease renewal claims, break options, general property management and disputes.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

Rachael Reynolds, noted for providing ‘commercial and insightful advice’ leads the Manchester team at DAC Beachcroft LLP, with support from national lead Nick Knapman, who works from the firm’s Bristol office. The team is well-versed in acting for well-known clients, namely including local authorities, well-known retailers and NHS Trusts. In collaboration with regional offices, it acts on multi-million pound litigations, namely involving key regenerations and developments. Senior associate George Taylor stands out.

Practice head(s):

Rachael Reynolds; Nick Knapman

Other key lawyers:

George Taylor


‘Rachael Reynolds is efficient and very personable; she provides commercial and insightful advice in a very clear way.’

‘There is continuity in the way matters are dealt with irrespective of the size of the issue.’

‘Due to the continuity provided by the team, the individuals are up-to-speed and able to provide advice in a timely and meaningful manner.’

Key clients

Royal London



Canary Wharf Group

Lend Lease

Cale Street Partners LLP

Hard Rock Café

L’Oreal (UK) Limited

Mobile Mini (UK) Limited

Paul Bakeries Limited

Arthur J Gallagher (UK) Limited

Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council

Property Alliance Group Limited

Surrey County Council

Quintain Limited

Trafford Council

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

HSS Hire Service Group Limited

Places for People

Bellway Homes

Taylor Wimpey


Stuart McCann heads up DWF‘s Manchester practice with support from the firm’s Newcastle-based national head Jonathan Smith. The team frequently works on high-profile regional matters for such clients as Liverpool City Council. Additionally, it has strength in retail work, working for such noteworthy clients as The adidas Group and Costa Limited. The team is further developing a specialism in the telecoms sector, having acted on the landmark case of EE Ltd and Hutchison 3G UK v Meyrick 1968 Combined Trust of Meyrick Estate Management involving a redevelopment. Director Thomas Armstrong is a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Stuart McCann; Jonathan Smith

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Armstrong; Alex Wolfenden; Hasin Amin


‘The team has a diverse range of expertise and experience and has been able to advise us on a number of challenging land and property issues.’

‘Very professional and knowledgeable – the team gives confidence that they have issues under control.’

Key clients

EE Limited

Costa Coffee Limited

Premier Inn Hotels/Whitbread Group

BT plc

Greene King Ltd

Severn Trent Ltd

The adidas Group

The Insolvency Service

Shell UK Ltd

Liverpool City Council

Work highlights

  • Advised EE Ltd (EE) & Hutchinson 3G UK Ltd via MBNL in the landmark case law decision EE Ltd and Hutchison 3G UK v Meyrick 1968 Combined Trust of Meyrick Estate Management.
  • Acting on an exclusive basis for Costa Coffee Limited in England, Wales and Scotland in relation to all real estate litigation matters.

J B Leitch Ltd

The Liverpool-based team at J B Leitch Ltd is regarded as having a ‘diverse range of expertise’ but have a clear niche focus and ‘expert-level competency’ in complex work related to building safety, in particular on the Building Safety Act 2022 which followed the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy. Its workload includes advising landlords and tenants on such issues as warranties and insurance, and proceedings developers, insurers and contractors. Director and principal solicitor Jonathan Leitch is at the team’s helm alongside ‘extremely efficient’ legal director Philip Parkinson. The ‘knowledgeable’ senior associate Camilla Waszek is one to watch.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Leitch; Philip Parkinson

Other key lawyers:

Camilla Waszek; Katie Edwards


‘J B Leitch are unrivalled in their knowledge of the law and practice of residential leases. As well as their commercial approach to dealing with instructions, they provide substantial support in the form of regular client briefings and seminars in this everchanging field.’

‘Philip Parkinson and Camilla Waszek are both knowledgeable and authoritative, combining a deep understanding of the subject with commercial acumen.’

‘J B Leitch has been our go-to legal adviser for many years and we rely with confidence on their expert advice in the landlord and tenant arena. Philip Parkinson and Katie Edwards are central to our strong relationship.’

‘The team art JB Leitch are recognised nationally as leaders in leasehold management work and have dominated in dealing with the complex issues which arise in fire safety following the Grenfell tragedy.’

‘Philip Parkinson is extremely efficient and practical in his approach to disputes. His client management is second-to-none. Katie Edwards is an associate to watch and is quickly establishing herself as a truly impressive property litigator. She is professional and personable and an expert in all things service charges and building safety.’

‘Philip Parkinson is one of the leading partners in this area. He runs a very tight ship and is commercially aware.’

‘The team provide a diverse range of expertise across the real estate sector. Collaboration amongst the fee earners allows for blended advice which considers multiple disciplines.’

‘The team has a detailed understanding of the niche area of the real estate sector we operate in and possess expert-level competency.’

Key clients

Abbeystone Management Limited

Alliance Managing Agents Limited

Blenheims Estate & Asset Management Ltd

Bright Willis

Broadlands Estate Management

Centrick Limited

Chaneys Limited

Cloud Student Homes

Collateral Investments Ltd

DJC Property Management Limited

E & J Estates

Elmdon Real Estate LLP

Encore Estate Management

Estates & Management Ltd

Estates & Management Ltd LRA

Farmtrend Ltd

FirstPort Property Services Limited

FirstPort Property Services Limited (Retirement)

Freehold Managers PLC

Ground Solutions UK Limited

Hadrian Property Management Ltd

Hallmark Property Management Limited

HHL Property Management (UK) Limited

HomeGround Management Limited

Inspired Property Management

JFM Block & Estate Management

Kingston Property Services Limited

Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward

Knight Frank

Lee Baron Group Ltd

Liv Group Limited

Mainstay Residential Limited

Managed Exit Limited

Marlborough House Management

Marshall Property

Matthews & Goodman North

MetroPM Limited

Michael Laurie Magar Limited

Parkfords Management Limited

Pembroke Property Management Limited

Pier Management Limited

Plymouth Block Management Ltd

POD Group Services Limited

Premier Estates Limited

Principia Estate & Asset Management Ltd

Principle Estate Management LLP

Professional and Dependable Ltd

Property Management Matters Limited

RCP Property Management Limited

Remus Management Limited

Rendall & Rittner Ltd

Residential Management Group Ltd

Scanlans Property Management LLP

Specialist Property Asset Management Limited

Transparent Property Management Ltd

Trinity Estates

Warwick Estates Property Management Ltd

Wildheart Residential Management Limited

Xenia Estates Limited

Zenith Management Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the landlord in a case, defending an application by leaseholders for assessment of reasonableness and payability of service charges of £2m at a residential block of premium apartments in London.

Land Law LLP

Land Law LLP‘s practice, based in Altrincham, is led by specialist in commercial lease issues, including dilapidation claims; assignment, subletting and service charge issues; and break notices, the ‘superb’ Steven Jennings. Its workload involves acting for its clients on development disputes, landlord and tenant-related and dilapidation issues predominantly, in relation to key Manchester city centre properties. The ‘knowledgeable and detailed’ associate partner Siân Westby in Altrincham and Frodsham-based solicitor David Varley, noted as being ‘a pleasure to work with’, are key team members.

Practice head(s):

Steven Jennings

Other key lawyers:

David Varley; Sian Westby


‘Sian Westby is knowledgeable and detailed in her work – a safe pair of hands. David Varley is extremely level-headed and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Steven Jennings has a wealth of experience and knowledge and always provides excellent, commercial advice.’

‘An easily accessible team which provides good, concise advice and owns the problems presented.’

Key clients

Bruntwood Group

Peel Holdings and group companies

Watch This Space Limited

The District Estates Limited

The Dunard Group

Oddfellows Friendly Society

Eric Wright Group

Hollins Murray Group

The Roundhouse Group

Harbourside Marina, Liverpool

PTS Property Limited

John Lugo

B I Properties Limtied

Myerson Solicitors LLP

The Altrincham-based ‘highly attentive team’ at Myerson Solicitors LLP is led by ‘excellent technical lawyer’ Laura Pile following the departure of former team lead Seán Hackett to Davis Blank Furniss. ‘Strong litigator’ senior associate Karen Taylor and associate Jennifer Hartley, described as ‘a force’, are both adept in handling high-value residential property portfolios and resulting disputes. The team also ably handles the full range of disputes arising from commercial property-related issues.

Practice head(s):

Laura Pile

Other key lawyers:

Karen Taylor; Jennifer Hartley


‘A highly attentive team giving specialist and detailed advice with differing options and opinions for consideration.’

‘Karen Taylor quickly understood the issue to be dealt with and gave valuable advice for consideration and direction.’

‘Myerson have a small but dedicated and specialist property litigation team headed excellently by Laura Pile. I would recommend them in the fields of residential landlord and tenant, and in real property disputes generally.’

‘I highly rate partner Laura Pile for her great knowledge of the area and approachability, and associate Jennifer Hartley for her conscientiousness and hardworking approach.’

‘A strong, growing team with experience across a wide-range of property matters.’

‘Laura Pile is an excellent technical lawyer, with the ability to apply her knowledge to achieve effective results for her clients.’

‘An absolutely outstanding litigation team. I am so impressed with their legal knowledge and position in the market. Such a strong team who do incredible work at reasonable prices.’

‘Laura Pile is a fantastic leader of the team. Her strategy is always on point. Karen Taylor has brilliant legal knowledge and is a very strong litigator. Jennifer Hartley is a force – she fights for her clients and is always highly knowledgeable about the law.’

Key clients

Akzo Nobel NV

Imperial Chemical Industries Limited

Philip J Davies (Holdings) PLC

Atmore Investments Limited

Gladman Developments Limited

O’Gara Developments

LB Europe Limited

AQA Education

Tatton Estate

Fortis Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Philip J Davies (Holdings) PLC in relation to disputes arising from its £38m property portfolio.
  • Acting for Akzo Nobel and Imperial Chemical Industries PLC in respect of its multimillion-pound rental portfolios lease renewals.
  • Advised LB Europe Limited in respect of exercising its break right, with a potential multi-million pound liability.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Leeds-based Michael Smith, noted for his ‘laser-like focus’, leads the team at ‘immensely client-focused’ Pinsent Masons LLP‘s Manchester team, which has experience handling disputes related to the full scope of landlord and tenant issues, and developments, often working collaboratively cross-regionally. It has expertise in the electronic communications sector, having dedicated and distinct landowner and operator advisers. Additionally, the team has a notable focus on utility, waste and infrastructure, as it continues to act for well-known clients at Supreme Court level. Associate Hannah Carter now leads the the firm’s agricultural disputes practice.

Practice head(s):

Michael Smith

Other key lawyers:

Hannah Carter


‘Michael Smith in particular is a highlight – he is friendly, approachable, realistic, and has great commercial acumen.’

‘The team goes to great lengths to understand the practical and commercial requirements of clients’ businesses. They have proven fantastic at assembling and managing a top-class team of solicitors, counsel, experts and clients.’

‘Michael Smith is calm and able to absorb huge amounts of detail quickly. He gets to the heart of matters with laser-like focus and anticipates exactly what clients want and need. Working with Michael is like flying first-class.’

Shoosmiths LLP

Manchester-based Kirsty Black heads up the North property litigation team at Shoosmiths LLP - she is praised for her 'technical and strategic' advice, as well as her relationships across the industry. The national practice is led by Nick Shepherd from the firm’s Birmingham office. Former practice head Wayne Nash departed to Deloitte LLP alongside senior associate Ben Kelly in December 2022 and April 2023 respectively. The team acts for a noteworthy roster of clients, including key corporate occupiers as well as commercial developers and investors on the range of high-value property disputes.

Practice head(s):

Kirsty Black; Nick Shepherd

Other key lawyers:

Emily Holt; Anjali Patel


‘The team has exceptional knowledge and provides solid strategic advice in the retail and leisure sector. They really care about the junior members of their team too.’

‘Kirsty Black’s advice is second to none. Her relationships with people in the industry mean that you know that you are getting not only the best technical advice but the most strategic based on the sector we work in. She is our go-to for advice because her breadth of knowledge means that most of the time she is able to give us an answer there and then when we call her.’

‘Emily Holt is able to advise in a commercial manner which exceeds her qualification level – she is one to watch for the future.’

‘Shoosmiths’ team have a great strength of understanding of the most complex matters and advise us well on best routes forward. They keep us updated on matters and they themselves are always up-to-date on the law, which they look to tailor to our business. The team are well-connected.’

‘Kirsty Black and Anjali Patel are a great help – they have always thought outside of the box for us. They are tactful and concise on some of the most difficult matters. They deliver what they promise and keep us updated throughout. They are always available and have have become key advisors to my business – I trust their advice and approach.’

‘Led by Kirsty Black, the team manages portfolios without issue.’

‘Kirsty Black has sound legal knowledge combined with an ability to apply good commercial knowledge.’

‘Kirsty Black is the best tenants’ lawyer in the UK.’

Key clients

Allied London LLP

Anywl Homes

Anywl Land Limited/Anwyl Construction

Bellway Homes

Dixons Carphone

Bluemantle Group

Bolton Council

Buccleuch Group

Cole Water

Countryside Partnerships

Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder Cosmetics

Euro Garages

Frasers Group (Sports Direct/Game/Flannels/Jack Wills/Cruise/DW Fitness/House of Fraser)

Holland and Barratt

Henry Boot Developments (including Hallam Land)

Lancashire County Council

Humberside Airport

Humberside Airport

Landmark Investments

Marston’s Plc

Mountain Warehouse

Property Alliance Group

Muse Developments

Odeon Cinema Group

Patrick Properties

Peel Group

Property Alliance Group

Select Property Group

The Restaurant Group

St Modwen Properties Plc

Taylor Grange Developments

Taylor Wimpey

The Gym Group

Travelodge Hotels Limited

Walgreen Boots Alliance (Boots/Boots Opticians)

Workshop Properties

Work highlights

  • Advising Boots/Boots Opticians on their major strategic projects including a large sale and leaseback property portfolio of 280 stores.
  • Acting on behalf of the Taylor Grange group of companies in an £8m litigation matter relating to a development site in Birmingham, which consists of a 35-storey residential tower and an 8-storey hotel.


DTM Legal LLP‘s offering, noted for its provision of ‘first-class client care’, is led by experienced litigator Anna Duffy from its Liverpool office. The team’s workload includes acting for retail and investment client landlord and tenants on the full-range of issues. Chester-based senior associate James Holton specialises in such work, handling matters of significant value.

Practice head(s):

Anna Duffy

Other key lawyers:

Richard Thomas; James Holton; Dimple Dhruve


‘DTM have always protected the company in litigation matters.’

‘Anna Duffy and her colleagues offer an excellent service and answer all of our questions!’  

‘First-class client care – the team develops close and effective ties with clients who thusly lend them their confidence and support.’

Key clients

The Atmore Group

Oxton Court Limited

Hooton Estate

AAH Pharmaceuticals

JSM Property Group

Handelsbanken Plc

Scottish Power

Gorvins Solicitors

The team at Gorvins Solicitors is equipped to represent its clients on a range of disputes, regularly working on key construction and development projects. Danielle Clements is a noteworthy team member, with experience handling matters involving issues with service charge, ground rent, dilapidations and the array of landlord and tenant claims. The practice is led by Guy Lightowler from Stockport, who is considered ‘fantastic to deal with’.

Practice head(s):

Guy Lightowler

Other key lawyers:

Danielle Clements; Khaled Ali


‘Guy Lightowler was fantastic to deal with. Very hands-on in providing real-time practical advice that was valuable and key to getting the outcome we needed.’

‘The team is easy to communicate with and do so internally on complex matters that require cross-departmental insight. They also offer transparent case billing.’

‘Complex legal matters are broken down and explained clearly with clarity of honest opinion given on ranging client options. Guy Lightowler is easily contactable and responsive to queries.’

Key clients

A & J Property Limited

District Surveyors Association Limited t/a LABC

Ian Edgar (Liverpool) Limited

Williams Group

Lundy Projects Limited

Sheet Pilling UK Limited

Vernon Building Society

Brassbank Limited

The Rowlinson Group

gunnercooke LLP

The remote team at gunnercooke LLP is experienced in handling the breadth of property disputes. Jen Morris, noted for her ‘superb grounding in property law’, has a particular focus in providing advice regarding development projects; the ‘practical, down-to-earth’ Tom Seabrook has specialist knowledge of residential disputes and commercial dilapidation claims. Also of note is the ‘clear-sighted’ Kelly Kirby, who focuses on agricultural disputes.

Other key lawyers:

Tom Seabrook; Jen Morris; Kelly Kirby


‘Gunnercooke is a unique practice and because of its model, there is no doubt that each solicitor puts clients and cases before business.’

‘Dual-qualified solicitor and chartered surveyor Tom Seabrook is knowledgeable and sensible. Kelly Kirby’s knowledge is second-to-none.

‘The ‘partnership’ model, whereby each fee earner operates what is effectively an independent practice supported by central resourcing, allows the solicitors to play to their strengths. It also means that the solicitors develop strong rapport with their clients which leads not only to tenacious pursuit of the client’s rights but also a relationship which generates repeat instructions.’

‘Kelly Kirby has a clear-sighted view of her client’s litigation strategy and adopts a very pragmatic approach in representing them. She is candid and straightforward, which makes life much easier for clients and counsel. Tom Seabrook has a deep knowledge of property-related issues. He is practical, down-to-earth and unwilling to accept an agenda which conflicts with his client’s position.’

‘Gunnercooke has a very distinctive and innovative business model. There is a very high-proportion of partners which means that dealings are always with someone who has a high level of expertise.’

‘Tom Seabrook has a high level of expertise in real estate litigation. He understands the issues, risks and strategies in litigation. He is commercially-minded and we were jointly able to formulate an effective strategy.’

‘This team has superb niche capabilities advising developers with difficult land law issues.’

‘Jen Morris has a superb grounding in property law – she is articulate and assiduous in using it to promote the interests of her clients, particularly in land development disputes.’

Key clients

Brook Hotels No 1 Limited

Robinson Webster (Holdings) T/A Jigsaw

Mr Pretzels (UK) Limited

Danshe Limited

Cloud Imperium Games Limited

RAM Properties Limited

Henry Boot PLC and associated companies

Watson Construction Limited

Christine Blundell Make Up Academy Limited

Premier Fish Limited

Harrison Drury & Co

The Preston-based practice at Harrison Drury & Co, formed of ‘capable, professional and experienced lawyers’ is headed up by ‘high-quality lawyer’ Colin Fenny. It is experienced in acting for developers, commercial landlords and tenants, and landowners namely, on significant disputes and on the management of portfolios. The team advises its clients on matters including breaches of covenant, dilapidation and the range of rental issues, which is Alex Walmsley‘s area of specialism.

Practice head(s):

Colin Fenny

Other key lawyers:

Alex Walmsley; Joseph Mitchell; Zoe Taylor; Simon England


‘The team has expertise and enough people to cover detailed and urgent matters. We have worked together on a large landlord and tenant case including an urgent injunction at the outset which was well-prepared by the firm and has so far been very successful.’

‘Alex Walmsley and Joseph Mitchell both have a good understanding of the law and an ability to consider matters both in terms of the merits and tactically.’

‘Capable, professional and experienced lawyers who are easy to communicate with from the outset of any case. Client relations are clearly paramount to the organisation.’

‘Zoe Taylor is always responsive. It is totally refreshing not to have to chase and worry to elicit a response from the person looking after my interests. Colin Fenny is equally as approachable and engages directly as required.’

‘A very capable and down to earth team with excellent links to regional clients.’

‘Colin Fenny is a high-quality lawyer with good legal knowledge who is also excellent tactically.’

‘Harrison Drury in my opinion, is very much a ‘people centric’ business. Their team is very approachable, friendly and knowledgeable which engenders excellent collaborative and effective team working.’

‘I receive pragmatic and sound commercial advice presented in a friendly, plain-speaking manner from Harrison Drury’s individuals, namely Simon England.’

Key clients

Cumbria Zoo

Work highlights

  • Advising Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd on an unlawful forfeiture and relief from forfeiture claim.
  • Advising a significant landowner in relation to a mines and minerals lease.
  • Advising private clients on a Council application for committal to prison for breach of an injunction order regarding a planning enforcement notice.

Pannone Corporate LLP

Pannone Corporate LLP‘s ‘cohesive and proactive’ practice is headed by David Brown from the firm’s Manchester office handles the full scope of litigious matters including lease renewals and terminations, covenants and development issues. It also ably advises on land-related disputes, and regularly acts for investors and developers. ‘Dedicated’ Gemma Staples has a particular strength handling acting for retail clients.

Practice head(s):

David Brown

Other key lawyers:

Gemma Staples; Kenneth Tang


‘The team has excellent technical knowledge.’

‘Gemma Staples is very dedicated with good legal knowledge.’

‘A very cohesive and proactive team, which is essential to support our sometimes urgent and time-critical requirements.’

‘Always responsive to emails and telephone calls.’

Key clients

Canal and River Trust

Emerson Group (inc Orbit Investments and Orbit Developments)

New Balance Athletic Shoes (UK) Limited

Revolution Bars Limited

Total Fitness Health Clubs Limited

Tradebe Management Limited & Group

West Yorkshire Combined Authority & West Midlands Combined Authority

Work highlights

  • Advising a national retail client on relocation from a key distribution centre as a result of the landlord’s desire to redevelop, involving adopting a strategy to secure time to relocate and claim compensation in excess of £1m.
  • Defending an industrial client in a claim for an injunction and damages arising out of alleged trespass and contamination deriving from a variety of materials, including complex questions around historic and contributory contamination.
  • Advising an investor client in connection with a tenant’s ineffective break notice and pursuing proceedings for rent arrears and a declaration that the lease was subsisting.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

The ‘knowledgeable, efficient’ team at Trowers & Hamlins LLP has a strong reputation for its strength in handling commercial landlord and tenant matters. Lynn James, regarded as ‘absolutely superb’, leads the team from Manchester and has vast experience in leasehold management disputes and a notable specialism in social housing work. Sam Coward was promoted to partner in July 2022 and stands out for his developing expertise in building safety matters.

Practice head(s):

Lynn James

Other key lawyers:

Sam Coward; Megan Daniels


‘Trowers & Hamlins have an in-depth knowledge of dealing with housing associations and are proactive in keeping us informed of current and new legislation and case law. Their training sessions are also invaluable.’ 

‘Trowers and Hamlin keep us informed at each stage of the process and always carry out any tasks in an acceptable timeframe.’   

‘The team are knowledgeable, efficient, and always respond quickly and in language that makes sense – no unnecessary legal jargon, which I like.’   

‘Megan Daniels is a real pleasure to work with. She is outstanding as a commercial landlord and tenant lawyer and is bound to build up a big client base following her move to Trowers.

‘There is a superb level of expertise in commercial landlord and tenant cases in this team.’

‘A comprehensive range of professionals, disciplined in multiple areas of expertise. There is always someone who knows and can do, regardless of where your enquiry starts.’   

‘Lynn James is absolutely superb. Very easy to deal with, she has a real eye for detail and leaves no stone unturned. She is also totally dependable and will go out of her way  to fit in a needed conversation.’

‘Lynn James has a great understanding of shared ownership, leases and transfers. We have benefitted greatly from her advice. Lynn responds very quickly and goes the extra mile to make sure we have a full understanding of the law and explains things clearly. Sam Coward is very knowledgeable in the management of our commercial portfolio.’

Key clients

Manchester Life Management Limited

The Guinness Partnership Limited

Accent Housing Limited

One Vision Housing Limited

The Riverside Group Limited

Great Places Housing Group

Cumbria County Council

CareTech Holdings PLC

Tyche Corporation Limited

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

Hyde Housing Association

St Helens Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Cumbria County Council on aspects of the reconfiguration of the Port of Workington ahead of future redevelopment.
  • Advising Tyche Corporation Limited in relation to the future redevelopment of a large site comprising Derwent Forest in Cumbria.

Weightmans LLP

Liverpool-based social housing and commercial and residential disputes specialist Sian Evans leads the ‘forward-thinking’ practice at Weightmans LLP. Acting for key clients, being owners of prominent regional venues, public authorities and county councils namely, the team advises on the array of disputes. Legal director Peter Hall is adept advising on leases, dilapidations and Land Registry adjudication proceedings. Associate John Darnell is considered a ‘safe pair of hands’.

Practice head(s):

Sian Evans

Other key lawyers:

John Darnell; Peter Hall


‘A forward-thinking team who are able to deal with complex property litigation matters and get successful results.’

‘John Darnell has a calm, measured approach and strong knowledge in property litigation. He is a safe pair of hands, his business acumen is strong and he gets the right result.’

‘A very strong, regional, city centre firm that does high-quality work.’

‘Peter Hall is very bright and considers his cases thoroughly.’

‘A responsive and knowledgeable team.’

Key clients

BDW Trading Limited (Barratts David Wilson Homes)

Bruntwood Group

Clarion Housing Group

Eccleston Homes Limited

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)

Derbyshire County Council

Various Eateries Trading Limited (Strada Restaurants)

West Northamptonshire Council

Halton Housing

Nextdom Property Limited

Butcher & Barlow LLP

‘Excellent litigator’ Alexander Sandland is at the helm of the Gadbrook Park-based cohort at Butcher & Barlow LLP, which is known for ‘going the extra mile’. The team has a strong specialism in agricultural disputes, which is also adept in advising on land and title disputes. Promoted to associate in May 2022, Catherine Gregson has developing expertise in the area of boundary disputes.

Practice head(s):

Alex Sandland

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Jepson


‘A very responsive, thorough and diligent team. They have a broad service offering which means that most enquiries can be dealt with in-house and importantly, the quality of advice and service remains consistent across the firm.’

‘A helpful, friendly and commercial service is provided – the team is quick to respond to enquiries and happy to provide advice upfront on a no-obligation basis.’

‘We could not recommend Butcher & Barlow highly enough, they have literally changed our lives! From start to finish they dealt with our case professionally and we were always made to feel like we were their most important client, from the receptionists to the partners who were as passionate about achieving our end goal as we were. The full team knew our case inside out and had exceptional knowledge of agricultural law.’

Key clients

Richardson (see Case Studies)

McCombie Developments (see Case Studies)

Wilkson/Acorn Environmental (see Case Studies)

BA Commercial

Thomas Property Group

MGD Building Services

Selby Rural (Land Agent)

Duff & Phelps (Kroll)

Chelford Farm Supplies Ltd

Coccion Construction Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised a custodian of a landed estate on a dispute concerning complex agricultural tenancy/occupancy in Cumbria, valued at £5m+, and reaching a favourable decision at mediation.
  • Advised a leading Housing Trust on a novel point of law relating to a Break Notice in a multi-layered lease arrangement, advising on consequential issues; potential exposure; and negotiations.
  • Advising a landed estate on all litigation matters, involving disputes in respect of a commercial; agricultural; and residential property portfolio as well as contentious issues arising from Estate Management.

Forbes Solicitors

Forbes Solicitors‘ Manchester and Central Lancashire offering is headed by Preston-based senior associate Georgina Kenny, who is noted as providing ‘a first-class service’ to clients, the list of which is formed of large businesses, public organisations and landlords.

Practice head(s):

Georgina Kenny


‘A responsive, client service-focused, practical and thorough team, excellent at relationship building.’

‘Georgina Kenny is clearly passionate about ensuring her clients receive a speedy, effective and first-class service and that they get good value for money. She is always ‘on the ball’ and checks for progress updates on a regular basis.’

Key clients

Six by Nico

Doncaster Borough Council

Fylde Coast Women’s Aid


St James Land Management Co

Storeitall Limited

Stokers Limited

South Ribble Valley Council

David Rozman Limited

Gilpin Lodge Hotel

Work highlights

  • Acting regularly for a large north west-based charity with regular instruction for possession proceedings and tenant issues, including service of all notices through to enforcement.
  • Advising a high-end restaurant on a water ingress issue at their new site.

KK Thompson Solicitors

The Lancashire-based ‘niche boutique practice’ at KK Thompson Solicitors is co-led by ‘credit to the team’ Kate Thompson, who specialises in commercial landlord and tenant matters, and Karl Thompson, who is described as having ‘expert technical knowledge’ and has a focus on complex work involving rent review and contested break options. The firm's landlord and tenant-related work covers rent recovery, break option and dilapidations disputes issues.

Practice head(s):

Kate Thompson; Karl Thompson


‘Karl Thompson’s approach to advice is refreshing in the sense that it comes with a commercial nous one does not always find with solicitors.’

‘A niche boutique practice which is able to offer the personal lawyer touch which so many firms are unable to do these days.’

‘Karl and Kate consistently punch way above their weight. They handle big matters with a care and flare you don’t expect from a small firm. Outstanding people; outstanding firm.’

Key clients

Roubaix Group

LiveWire (Warrington) CIC

Taylor Estates (Cheshire) Limited

Warrington 2000+

Halo Leisure Services Limited

Roger Hannah and Co

Culture Warrington

Barnfield Construction Limited

Munroe K Asset Management

Falcon Land and Building Ltd

Thor Ablestar Land and Building Ltd

Green and Partners

Work highlights

  • Continuing to provide property advice to Roubaix Group across their mixed portfolio throughout the UK, involving varied property litigation instructions in order to enhance their portfolio.
  • Acting for Halo Leisure Services Limited in relation to a 75 year lease, security of tenure and complex title issues in order to support a funding application for a development.
  • Continuing to act for a large North West leisure provider, providing them with property advice on all of their leisure facilities across Cheshire.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP

David Moroney now leads Kuit Steinart Levy LLP‘s team, which was formerly led by Bruce Jones, who continues to lead the intellectual property team within the firm, and Rebecca Jones , who departed to Burness Paull LLP in January 2023. The team is based in Manchester and focuses on the array of landlord and tenant-related disputes, including dilapidation, service charge and ground rent issues. Niall Helferty is a name to note.

Practice head(s):

David Moroney

Other key lawyers:

Niall Helferty


‘The property litigation team at Kuits provides strong support to the firm’s highly regarded commercial property team. When problems arise they provide a very strong response which enables us to minimise the disruption that property litigation matters inevitably cause and to obtain good and speedy outcomes.’

‘Close personal attention is given by lawyers, and there is clearly good teamwork within Kuits’ office.’

‘There is a willingness amongst the team to take on board clients’ specialised knowledge. They also speedily get a grip on new aspects.’

Key clients

Jackson’s Row Development Limited (JRDL)

David Samuel Properties

London & Scottish Property Investments Limited

Hollowood Chemists Limited

Roger Dyke

Wey Securities Limited

Philip J Davies Holdings Limited

Slater Heelis

The practice at Slater Heelis was strengthened in 2022 with the May arrival of commercial litigation specialist partner Sale-based Mike Carter from Salehs LLP and the July addition of specialist Veronica Howley from Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP. ‘Tenacious’ team lead Daniel Stern is the key name to note in Manchester, leading on many noteworthy matters, particularly landlord and tenant disputes. Residential disputes specialist John Gorner also stands out.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Stern

Other key lawyers:

Mike Carter; Veronica Howley; John Gorner; Dan Leone


‘We highly recommend the team for commercial landlord and tenant matters. Daniel Stern has an excellent understanding of the law surrounding commercial lease disputes.’

‘Daniel Stern has extremely detailed knowledge of commercial landlord and tenant matters and is tenacious.’

‘We felt totally supported through a very complex and unusual set of circumstances. We were always kept up-to-date as regards any progress or changes in the case.’

‘John Gorner represented us in a drawn-out, complicated and sometimes emotionally challenging case and supported us throughout – he was always available to answer any questions and gave us sound advice in a calm and professional manner.’

‘Daniel Stern took the time to understand our issues fully and gave clear analysis of our best options thereafter. He gave no-nonsense advice and moved things to a conclusion in good time, allowing us to continue the building of our new home.’

‘I would recommend Daniel Stern to anybody; he was clear and concise in his assessment of our situation and our options to progress – we had been dealing with some exceptionally difficult people and Daniel was able to crystallise the legal points quickly, and to resolve them to a point which allowed us to proceed.’

‘Slater Heelis is has a clear commitment to diverse recruitment and a real strength in the range of work it can tackle for a range of communities. That is to be set against a commitment to quality to be expected from a firm which has been established for centuries.’

‘Associate Dan Leone is a strong performer. He has expertise in a broad-range of work from domestic landlord and tenant to energy supply. Calm, collected and efficient, he enjoys working with his clients and is dedicated to achieving a practical, commercial solution for each of them.’

Key clients

Riverside Lodge Management Limited and Riverside Lodge Freehold Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised in a protracted partnership dispute involving four defendants, a matter which involves the dispute of complex points including laches, limitation, breach and waiver.
  • Assisted Riverside Lodge Management, and Riverside Lodge Freehold limited in a collective enfranchisement matter, obtaining enfranchisement for the leaseholders.

Squire Patton Boggs

Leeds-based head of Squire Patton Boggs‘ national property litigation team David Holland, also leads the firm’s North West offering. An area of focus for the team is issues involving redevelopment projects, including claims involving boundaries, easement, covenants and rights to light in addition to related agricultural disputes. Former director in the Manchester team Helen Hoath retired in November 2022. Manchester-based associate Holly Rowbottom is a key up-and-coming name in the team.

Practice head(s):

David Holland

Other key lawyers:

Holly Rowbottom

Key clients

Co-operative Group

Cellnex/On Tower UK Limited

Peel Group

Bizspace Limited

Watkins Jones & Son Limited

Touch Developments

Avery Dennison UK Limited

Taylor Wimpey Group

Preston City Council

Galliford Try Investments Limited

Salutem Shared Services

Theo Paphitis Retail Group (Ryman, Partner The Stationers)

Essar Oil

Linden Property Holdings

Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut and KFC)

Work highlights

  • Acted as part of a national team for a major oil operator in securing an interim injunction to restrain potential protestor action across its various UK sites.
  • Acted as part of a national team for an airport to successfully defend an application brought by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council for judicial review of the client’s decision to close the airport.
  • Advising on a variety of real estate litigation matters such as lease renewals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, breaks clauses, obtaining vacation possession, landlord consent issues on assignment and underletting and enforcement of easements.

Woodcocks Haworth & Nuttall (WHN)

The Bury-based team at Woodcocks Haworth & Nuttall (WHN) is well-regarded for ability to provide ‘clear and pragmatic advice without any smoke and mirrors’. Daniel Long, who specialises in acting on landlord and tenant disputes relating to commercial leases is described as being ‘at the top of his game’, is at the helm of the practice. Associate Eleanor Longworth is noted as a ‘star’ and leads on many of the team’s matters for landlords, tenants and management companies.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Long

Other key lawyers:

Eleanor Longworth; Sara Beaumont; Michael Shroot


‘A well-resourced team with excellent knowledge on their subject, they provide clear and pragmatic advice without any smoke and mirrors.’

‘Eleanor Longworth is a star performer. Her client management is first-rate and her knowledge and dedication to the role is outstanding. Daniel Long is a heavy-hitter who manages difficult litigation with remarkable ease.’

‘The team always makes me feel assured and supported, which is why I’m a long-term client. Low staff-turnover over the years has equated to the safeguarding of knowledge, processes and a shared understanding between us. Daniel Long and Eleanor Longworth have been exceptional.’

Key clients

Tatiana Bespalyj

Block Property Management Limited

KC Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising No.1 Deansgate RTM Company Limited, via its managing agent, Block Property Management, in relation to a dispute arising with a commercial leaseholder who shut off power to the building.
  • Assisting KC Homes Limited in relation to uncontested lease renewal proceedings which had been instituted by national bookmaker, Betfred, against the client in respect of high street premises in Blackburn.
  • Acting on behalf of a long leaseholder of an apartment on an estate, where Right to Manage has been exercised by the tenants, relating to various issues stemming from management of the property.