Property litigation in North

Muckle LLP

Muckle LLP’s ‘approachable and knowledgeable’ team acts for a mix of regional and national clients in a full gamut of contentious property issues, including commercial property disputes, land law matters, and freehold and leasehold disputes in the residential property market segment. Charlotte McMurchie heads up the wider real estate department and brings 'a great combination of expertise with commercial and clear approach to property litigation'. Further, clients also praise associate Sarah Barratt for her ‘incredible legal mind’; she is noted for her recent work on boundary disputes. Senior associate Jennifer Pearson is also a key figure and stands out for her niche expertise in agricultural property litigation and insolvency-related property issues.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte McMurchie

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Barratt; Jennifer Pearson


‘Muckle LLP’s great strength is looking at any matter we instruct on from a strategic point of view, asking what it is that we want to achieve and why. Their residential property team always thinks more widely around the issue. Once we have established what is required, a strategy is developed and we work in partnership to achieve that common goal. This is not a common trait amongst other lawyers that I have worked with previously.’

‘They are approachable and knowledgeable and very helpful in providing property litigation services.’

‘Sarah Barratt has an incredible legal mind and is an absolute star – I cannot speak highly enough of her. She provides excellent advice. In the event that any ambiguities arise, she removes them to go straight to the core of the legal issue.’

‘My experience of dealing with Muckle LLP has been very positive, they have provided excellent support and guidance particularly when it comes to assessment of liability and legal advice on disrepair claims and all in a very timely manner.’

‘The team has been supportive and reassuring as well as being quick to respond and react to any issues as they arise.’

‘Charlotte McMurchie has a great combination of expertise with commercial and clear approach to property litigation.’

‘Charlotte McMurchie is our main point of contact and is easy to talk things through with and bounce ideas off. She is always available when we need her and makes sure that she gives us the time that we need working things out with her. The rest of her team share her work ethics and client commitment. They always want to do what is best for the client and deliver not only top-quality legal advice but also very sound commercial judgment. Each of the lawyers and administrators in the team is highly adept in dealing with the issues we regularly face as a large residential landlord.’

‘Jennifer Pearson has dealt with a number of end of lease issues for me and understands how I prefer to operate. Her legal advice always comes with a commercial consideration and she has probably helped me save money on more than one occasion.’

‘The team at Muckle LLP is very well versed in the practice of property litigation; their ability to guide and support are second to none.’

Key clients

Grainger plc

Karbon Homes

Bernicia Housing

Castles & Coasts Housing Association

North Star Housing Group

Hays Travel

Welbeck Estates

O’Brien Group & Family


McAleer & Rushe Group

Wildheart Residential Management

The Football Association

Retirement Bridge Management



Newcastle College Group

Persimmon Homes

Home Group

Northpoint (Bromley) Management

Vertu Motors Plc

Work highlights

  • Acting for Hays Travel on matters relating to the acquisition of 550 stores from the liquidators of Thomas Cook.
  • Advising Northpoint (Bromley) Management on its ACM cladding remediation work.
  • Assisting Karbon Homes with a number of contentious tenancy management issues, including anti-social behaviour issues.

Ward Hadaway LLP

Ward Hadaway houses a dedicated full-service property litigation group, which represents landlords and tenants in high-value dilapidation claims, commercial lease disputes and contentious property portfolio management matters. The practice specialises in the representation of NHS trusts across the country; it routinely handles claims relating to hospital sites, leases and trespass, among others. Another area of focus of the team lies in acting for developers and land owners on issues pertaining to the interpretation of property and development contracts. Practice head Sharon Mathieson manages the team’s day-to-day relationship with key clients the like of Canal & River Trust. Legal director Jeremy Hardy has niche expertise in agricultural land disputes.

Practice head(s):

Sharon Mathieson

Other key lawyers:

Jeremy Hardy

Key clients


Canal & River Trust

Virgin Money


Newcastle Airport

Allied London

County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Pulman Skoda

Port of Tyne Authority


Following its 2019 merger with Watson Burton, Weightmans’ full-service practice continues to handle high-value commercial and residential property disputes for a varied mix of property developers, national housebuilders, tenants and landlords, and multiple utility companies. In addition, the department prides itself on its advisory work on addressing potential litigation threats; recently, it has also scored multiple successes for both claimants and defendants in relation to mandatory injunctive relief. Core sectors for the group include education, construction and leisure, while practice head Christopher Graham adds significant credibility to the team’s work for companies in the energy industry. Principal associate Jill Dalkin is adept at handling issues arising under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Senior associate Mark Reeves is praised by clients for being ‘really client-focussed’.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Graham

Other key lawyers:

Jill Dalkin; Mark Reeves


‘A substantial firm able to bring considerable resources to bear on a case, which is no doubt a big advantage in some litigation work.’

‘I have worked primarily with Jill Dalkin on a complicated party wall dispute. I found working with her very good – she was incisive and excellent at distilling a difficult case for a demanding client. I would certainly recommend her.’

‘Mark Reeves is a standout associate. He is excellent and really client-focussed.’

Key clients

Bellway Plc

Atkins Limited

Northern Powergrid (North East) Plc

Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire) Plc

Camerons Brewery Limited

University of Sunderland

Northern Trust Company Limited

Northern Retail Consortium Limited

Story Homes Limited

Storage & Handling Limited

Victor Products Ltd

Ubisoft Reflections Limited

Yorkshire Electricity Group Plc

McCarrick Construction Company Limited

Northern Electric Plc

South Shore Developments Limited

Northumberland & Durham Property Limited

AND Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted an electricity distribution business with a successful application for rectification in the First-tier Property Tribunal.
  • Advised a supplier of mobile satellite services on its successful application for an ex parte interim injunction to prevent infringement of its property rights.
  • Acting for a landlord client in a significant dilapidations claim worth in excess of £400k.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

In the words of a client, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s sizeable team is ‘brilliant to work with, careful, thoughtful and practical’. The practice undertakes contentious property work for landlords and tenants, national developers, large investors and public sector bodies, among others. Clients also benefit from the team’s use of WBD Advance, a digital platform used for the purpose of demanding tasks such as due diligence assignments, documents reviews and legal project management. Splitting time between Newcastle and Leeds, senior counsel Jen Smurthwaite serves as national leader of the property litigation group. Elizabeth Allen has significant credentials in the residential property litigation arena. Associate Elspeth Moncrieff is also singled out by clients; she specialises in a wide range of commercial property disputes, including complex contractual claims.

Practice head(s):

Jen Smurthwaite

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Allen; Elspeth Moncrieff


‘Brilliant to work with, careful, thoughtful and practical. They are fabulous to work with; they are great at working as a team; and they are realistic about what can be achieved. Their key strengths are in dealing with technically complex legal disputes in a practical manner which is efficient.’

‘The team has a rich understanding and experience of property litigation and has a deep and broad understanding of the wider industry issues affecting our business. The team works collaboratively and closely with our in-house legal and operational teams to the extent that we forget that they are external advisors – we feel as though they are part of our in-house team and business. We find them to be very transparent and courteous. Overall, a very pragmatic team who we turn to when we need someone to steer us through choppy waters and to hold our hand when we need support.’

‘Jen Smurthwaite is simply excellent, a class act. Not only is Jen an excellent property litigator, her ability to cut through vast amounts of information deftly, without fuss, and come up with extremely sensible and realistic solutions is what stands out for us. She is an unassuming opponent, not to be underestimated and never rubs people up the wrong way. What also stands Jen apart is her human side and this impacts on the way in which she delivers her advice. She knows what worries us and she goes out of her way to alleviate any concerns, taking them upon her shoulders.’

‘I have worked with WBD’s property litigation team on a number of commercial property lease renewal cases and have been been particularly impressed by their straightforward, efficient, proactive and friendly approach.’

‘Elspeth Moncrieff has been a pleasure to work with. She is reliable, helpful, prompt at dealing with queries and provides sensible, timely advice which is much appreciated.’

‘Elpseth Moncrieff is incredibly clear-minded with sound commercial sense. She works in a collaborative manner, in order to achieve the best result for the client. She was carefully considered in her tactical approach to the case and negotiations at all turns, adapting strategy where necessary and to suit the specific realities.’

‘We have been dealing with Womble Bond Dickinson for the best part of 18 months now and they have been working closely with us on a number of different matters. We have had relationships with different lawyers in the past, and no firm has provided the service that WBD has. They are consistently supportive and have provided us with invaluable advice, as well as all being genuine and down-to-earth people. They are flexible and are always willing to be cooperative, even if the time may be inconvenient.’

Key clients

Airwave Solutions

Bernicia Group


Standard Life Trustee Company

Work highlights

  • Acting as sole UK legal services provider to Airwave Solutions; work includes handling site terminations, lease renewals, disputes regarding rent reviews, site upgrades, and site shares with other providers.
  • Acting for Bernicia Group on a range of tenancy management issues including claims to possession, injunctions to tackle anti-social behaviour, committals for breach and defending housing disrepair claims.
  • Advising Swedish-owned residential property investor Akelius in relation to all aspects of tenancy management across its stock.

Clarke Mairs LLP

Clarke Mairs LLP regularly acts on the side of landlord claimants and defendants; this strength resulted in a significant recent increase of instructions concerning arrears of rent during the Covid-19 pandemic. Contentious enfranchisement work is also a forte for the team. James Godden heads up the practice and stands out for his extensive experience of collaborating with surveyors in the region and nationwide.

Practice head(s):

James Godden


‘Traditional practice with strong, partner-led teams.’

‘James Godden always provides strong practical advice and gets results.’

‘Their knowledge and expertise are the best that I have come across.’

‘I have used James Godden’s services for many years. His attention to detail and depth of knowledge is excellent.’

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP

The strength of Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s working relationships with intermediaries of surveyors and building consultants supply the property litigation team with a steady stream of mandates relating to disputes in the construction and property development sectors. In addition, the department is noted for its excellent work on a full range of issues arising pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Associate Susan Roberts sits at the helm of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Susan Roberts

Other key lawyers:

Ryan Bannon; Stewart Irvine


‘This is a long- and well-established firm which the pandemic has shown is dynamic and up to date enough to adapt excellently to demand, both in terms of new working and the unique problems commercial property is facing.’

‘Ryan Bannon, Sue Roberts and Rebecca Dawson are exceptional individuals and make a formidable team.’

Key clients

High Street Group

The Works Stores

Cairn Hotel Group

The Station Hotel (Newcastle)

Lugano Group

Steamforged Games

Sintons LLP

Sintons LLP is a suitable destination for local and national companies, public sector organisations and high-net-worth individuals. Its recent workload testifies to its notable strength in both residential and commercial property disputes, spanning matters ranging from lease renewals, forfeiture and dilapidation claims, to contentious contractual and possession issues. Angus Ashman leads the department and is regularly assisted by associate Aimee Hubbard. Graeme Ritzema is a key contact for hospital trusts and primary care providers.

Practice head(s):

Angus Ashman

Other key lawyers:

Aimee Hubbard; Graeme Ritzema


‘Aimee Hubbard was well prepared, focused and sensitive to what was needed to resolve the dispute efficiently and effectively.’

‘Angus Ashman is cerebral.’

‘We have worked with Aimee Hubbard over the past 12 months on a breach of contract dispute. She is thorough, knowledgeable and astute, giving us a very comprehensive roadmap for our case. At every step, she has managed our expectations extremely well, with timely and clear communication, a full view of the merits of our claim and pragmatic advice at the junctions where we needed to make decisions. She has also proved to be a strong negotiator, and we have been very reassured and confident that she has been able to achieve the best possible outcome for our settlement.’

‘Listened, and understanding of the situation.’

‘Aimee Hubbard and Cristina Falzon are both dedicated, hardworking and committed.’

Key clients

Metnor Group

Cussins (North East) Limited

The Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes

The Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust

JGW Patterson Foundation

The Church Commissioners for England

Newcastle upon Tyne YMCA

Hadrian Estates

JG Windows

API Limited

Tolent Group

Work highlights

  • Advised a company on a dispute with a local authority landowner in Tyne and Wear.
  • Advised a client on a professional negligence claim against a firm of solicitors which had acted on the grant of a commercial lease to the client.
  • Advised a client on a dispute regarding the basis of occupation of a Christian group.

Swinburne Maddison LLP

The Durham-based property litigation department at Swinburne Maddison places an emphasis on advising a strong stable of registered providers on contentious social housing matters. In addition, the group is well versed in neighbour disputes and land law issues. The team traditionally pairs up with colleagues from the commercial property team, though it is also increasingly handling the contentious property aspects of probate matters in conjunction with the firm’s private client department. Practice head David Low has wide-ranging expertise, including a niche specialism in overage property payment disputes.

Practice head(s):

David Low


‘The practice provides an extremely personable, respectful and efficient service.’

‘My solicitor was Mr David Low. He possessed excellent communication skills, being articulate both orally and in his written communications and an excellent listener. I always found David to be very reliable, totally respectful and open and honest. I had total faith in his analytical skills and judgement. Nothing was ever too much for David. I always felt he went the extra mile in my dealings with him. I particularly valued his very personable and easygoing calm manner and how he always asked my opinion on matters discussed and that he always did what he said he would do. I would have no hesitation in recommending David to family and friends.’

‘This firm has advised us successfully on both property transfers and property litigation. On every occasion the firm has acted swiftly and effectively, and with good effect, with pre-eminent skills in navigating a pathway around potentially contentious issues.’

‘David Low stands out as a proactive partner, steering a judicious course between client and their insurers.’

‘Best firm in Durham City. Commercially sharp and thorough but efficient. Well managed practice.’

‘David Low is exceptionally effective at achieving a return for clients. A powerful litigator.’

‘The partners we deal with are very accessible, respond promptly to the initial enquiry and meet agreed time periods for dealing with matters. The firm is able to offer vastly experienced individuals who specialise in their discipline. The advice that is given is in a manner which is clear, precise and easily understandable.’

‘Approachable and patient – the team were good at listening and offering clear, well-considered advice. Open to quick calls that offered help en route which helped ensure even the smaller conversations stayed focussed.’

‘Friendly and trusted to always get back to me even after hours when needed.’

‘The team are always professional, timely and do whatever they can to help. David Low is very engaging, easy to talk to and very useful.’

Key clients

Durham Cathedral

Beyond Housing Limited

The Esh Group

Believe Housing Limited

TJD Properties Limited

University of Law

Gilesgate Properties Limited

Derwent Angling Association

Leamside Equestrian Limited

St Cuthbert’s Walk Limited Partnership

The Empress Bar Limited

Livin Housing Limited

Leeds City Council

Woven Retail Limited

Moving On (Durham) Limited

Gaines & Kerry Properties Limited

The Liquor & Restaurant Group Limited

Kiss the Moon Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for a large local authority in connection with numerous housing disrepair claims, having already successfully defended and/or settled the vast majority of 1,230 cases.
  • Representing a client in a high-value trespass claim relating to property in the south of England.
  • Acting for two clients in a complex right of way dispute with neighbours within a former landed estate.