Property litigation in South East
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's contentious property finance group has the capability to act in the full spectrum of disputes including the specialist niche areas of property insolvency litigation, leasehold enfranchisements, compulsory purchase order claims and HS2-related matters. The team also has particular expertise in the retail and leisure sector, acting for numerous well-known restaurant chains, charities and investors in the leisure-based commercial property market. Peter Levaggi has a strong reputation handling mortgage-based compensation claims against banks arising from interest rate hedging products swaps, and David Haines is head of the firm's real estates disputes group. Senior associate Richard Flenley is also a key name to note.
Other key lawyers:
‘David Haines is unusual in that he started life as a surveyor. This gives him an appreciation and understanding of properties which is not normally the case with solicitors. He is dynamic, extremely helpful and has a very sharp intellect.’
National Crime Agency
Prince Abbas Hilmi/Mohamed Ali Foundation
PQW Brenley Corner
Cripps Pemberton Greenish is singled out for handling complex and high-value property disputes for clients operating in the real estate sector, businesses with property issues and private individuals. The team acts for some of the largest property investors and developers in the country as well as major occupiers including central and local governments and infrastructure and utility companies. Miles Paffard leads the practice and specialises in landlord and tenant claims as well as property insolvency issues. Nitej Davda is the name to note for enfranchisement and professional negligence claims.
Other key lawyers:
M&G Real Estate
Hermes Real Estate
Kennedy Wilson Europe
Crown Prosecution Service
South East Water
The Dulwich Estate
Legal & Contingency
- Acting for developers including Wates and title indemnity insurers including Legal & Contingency in claims concerning restrictive covenants, rights to light, other easements, adverse possession and the absence of planning permission or building regulations.
- Acting for owners of shopping centres, retail parks and high street portfolios in connection with tenancy issues and financial recovery work arising from CVAs and the insolvency processes of retailers and restaurant chains.
- Acting for the Crown Prosecution Service and other public sector clients in the management of their estates including operating conditional break options and defending and settling lease end dilapidation claims.
Dentons' property litigation department has considerable experience acting across the banking, finance, energy, development, retail, hotel and leisure sectors. The team handles all elements of landlord and tenant disputes, property contract disputes, leasehold enfranchisements and property trust work. Key clients are provided with use of the firm's Apperio software, an IT program allowing them to track and monitor legal spending on matters. Bryan Johnston leads the practice, while property contract expert David Payton is also a name to note.
‘Very experienced and highly competent team working for national clients.‘
‘David Payton is a very good litigator. Thomas Nolan is an excellent associate with a good eye for detail.‘
‘The breadth and depth of skills is impressive – basically, Dentons can deal with any dispute where there happens to be a property involved, no matter what the complexity or size.‘
‘Bryan Johnston is head of the real estate litigation team. He is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced and is relentlessly focused on the client’s objectives. Thomas Nolan is experienced beyond his years. He is particularly strong on advising developers and landlord on tenants’ rights of first refusal at complex mixed-use developments.‘
- Acted for the London Borough of Southwark and City of London Corporation in a Supreme Court case regarding the extent of land owned by Transport for London.
- Successfully appeared in the Court of Appeal in a claim relating to whether business rates should be paid on ATMs on behalf of Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, Sainsbury’s Bank and the Co-Operative Bank.
- Acting for the Charitable Trust of Lord Sainsbury in High Court proceedings relating to a disputed exclusivity agreement.
DMH Stallard LLP
The real estate dispute resolution team at DMH Stallard LLP has developed a reputation for fielding technical specialists in residential and commercial property litigation and for property-related professional negligence claims. The team acts for a range of retail and occupier clients including national residential developers, supermarkets and high street banks. Emily Wood leads the group, while Tina George is responsible for the firm's commercial and residential property offering and is particularly skilled in collective enfranchisement claims. Vanessa Joll and senior associate Kristine Ng are also key names to note.
‘This is a great team that I have worked with several times. Really know their stuff but also provide commercial and pragmatic advice. They deal with the full range of commercial and residential property law. I would highly recommend them.‘
‘One the biggest and best property litigation teams in the South East outside London.‘
‘DMH Stallard’s real estate litigation team offers a larger and more comprehensive service than most firms. I’ve found that they do an effective and efficient job for their clients and they cover all areas of property litigation comprehensively. They have a genuinely wide range of clients, from private and public landowners to residential tenants, and clearly attract cases from all over. An impressive team.‘
‘DMH Stallard have an experienced team who we have dealt with over many years. They have extensive legal knowledge and a full understanding of how our business operates.‘
‘Vanessa Joll is the partner I deal with who is top notch. Very clear with advice and dealing of matters.’
Crawley Borough Council
Wigan Football Club
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Royal Bank of Scotland
- Acting for Cardtronics in its appeal to the Supreme Court concerning the Valuation Officer’s decision to separately assess ATMs for business rates purposes.
- Acting for a local authority seeking the recovery of a substantial area of land occupied by a significant number of commercial users and residential occupiers.
- Representing the freeholder of a large central London tower of flats in a collective enfranchisement claim for the tenants whose leases permit use only as live/work units.
Mundays LLP has seen significant growth in instructions from both investors and occupiers of high-value commercial premises. The team is highly experienced in the resolution of disputes through mediation and negotiation and works closely with the firm's real estate and construction practices. Rachel Fitzgerald joined the team from Porter Dodson LLP and specialises in contested rights of way disputes. Practice head James Picknell focuses on dilapidations, insolvency disputes, forfeiture issues, rent reviews and lease renewals.
‘James Picknell. Friendly, approachable, always polite. Straightforward advice/good reliable communication. Knowledgeable about the subject area. Invokes trust. Costs always clearly itemised.‘
‘Mundays have a forensic approach to property litigation, a detailed knowledge balanced with a pragmatic commercial approach to disputes.‘
‘James Picknell has been dedicated beyond the call of duty in our case, in which substantial costs have been involved. All our contacts with Mundays have been excellent and supportive.‘
Ahli United Bank
Care Management Group
Stevens & Bolton LLP is increasingly active in the healthcare sector, specifically acting for investors and developers. The team handles a high volume of corporate occupier work, acting in landlord and tenant matters arising from substantial property portfolios as well as developing multi-site exit strategies for clients. Helen Wheddon leads the practice, while associate Markus Klempa has significant experience dealing with insolvency-related matters.
‘Their attention to detail and forward thinking gives a real sense of comfort to us as a client. They are without doubt a credit to their organisation and we as a client are very grateful for their knowledge, insight and experience.‘
‘The Stevens and Bolton team dealt with a rather tricky tenant in a professional and proactive way. It required a lot of chasing on their part, however we were very pleased to avoid this having to go to a tribunal and we were more than happy with the outcome too. They also kept us well informed of progress throughout.‘
‘A very well balanced team who is able to give clear and precise advice across a number of property litigation areas. A trusted and very knowledgeable team.‘
‘Markus Klempa – A very easy personal manner delivering sound advice across a wide range of property issues. Helen Wheddon – Able to give pragmatic commercial advice which is essential in coming to the correct business decision.‘
‘Helen Wheddon and Naomi Campbell have given an exceptionally high level of service and client care. We have had a number of very complex issues on a a number of sites and nothing seems to phase them. They always provide a calm and measured response to all matters and we have a lot of trust in them and indeed belief that they will serve us well no matter what the issue.‘
Octopus Healthcare Development
Store Property Investments
Chas A Blatchford
Structadene Group/Pearl & Coutts
University of Surrey
Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care
- Acting for a developer and investor in issues relating to vacant possession and telecoms rights in respect of a £22m target development site subject to existing telecoms equipment and tenancies.
- Acting for a global corporate occupier in its lease renewal strategy and tactics for its UK head office move.
- Advising on title issues and successfully challenging a developer’s claim for a right of way over a client’s estate.
While Boyes Turner has significant experience in commercial landlord and tenant disputes and dilapidations, it is particularly recognised for its complex work including applying for declarations in relation to the meaning of lease provisions, collective enfranchisements and right to manage claims. The practice also has a dedicated landlord and tenant service charge recovery team, which acts largely for institutional landlords and property management companies.
Guardian News & Media
- Advising Colt Group Limited in relation to the interpretation of a historic tenant insurance covenant.
- Acted for Guardian News & Media in a complex tripartite dilapidation claim.
Blake Morgan LLP has notable experience acting in all aspects of commercial and residential matters, and is particularly focused on the leisure, retail and charity sectors. The department regularly acts in lease renewals, rent reviews, dilapidation claims, forfeitures, break options, tenant insolvency litigation and the enforcement of easements. Zoe Wright, who joined the team in mid-2019 from Shoosmiths LLP with legal director Simon Pestell, leads the Reading-based practice, while Claire Lamkin divides her time between London and Oxford.
Other key lawyers:
‘Extremely responsive, very invested in providing additional support through their value-added offering. Advice is always focused and gives pragmatic options to address the issue at hand.‘
‘Zoe Wright is a “go to” adviser for our organisation. She takes great care to understand our particular organisational nuances and needs.‘
‘The main thing that makes Blake Morgan unique is the outstanding standard of every person across all of the specialities. The advice is always excellent and clear everyone is always extremely efficient and friendly.‘
Wireless Infrastructure Group
David Lloyd Leisure
IW Group Services (UK)
The British Red Cross Society
Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust
- Represented BPHA in the First Tier Tribunal in the successful defence of a claim in adverse possession of a parking space and which resulted in a settlement prior to the trial.
- Acting for Gigaclear in defence of a claim for negligence, misrepresentation and breach of contract arising from the installation of broadband.
- Advising Aster Group on the terms of an option agreement and whether there was a right of way to the subject land in favour of the client.
With a client roster of NHS Trusts, public bodies, local councils, and colleges, the Brachers property litigation department continues to act in development disputes including claims involving the interpretation of overage provisions, development agreements and the enforcement of collateral agreements. James Milis acts for clients in complex development and disposal schemes, dilapidations and recoveries of the possession of property. The team has also seen an increase in First Tier and Upper Tier Tribunal work; Allis Beasley is a part-time judge in the former chamber, as well as being an accredited mediator. Michael Oatham leads the practice.
‘Their ability to deal with difficult problems and their good knowledge of the subject.’
‘James Millis is knowledgeable, approachable and responsive.’
‘Allis Beasley is very experienced and wise. She always strives to find a commercial solutions of her clients but is up for a fight if that is necessary. An excellent choice for commercial clients.’
‘The property litigation team provides first-rate service from knowledgeable and experienced practitioners who are well able to hold their own against larger firms.’
‘Allis Beasley is a top-notch litigator. She is switched-on and effective and gives the right answers to difficult problems.’
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Medway NHS Foundation Trust
Sevenoaks District Council
East Malling Trust
James Baird (Home Farm)
East Kent Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust
Kent County Agricultural Society
Dover District Council
Sevenoaks Town Council
Brethertons LLP has developed a strong reputation in residential leasehold litigation, leasehold enfranchisement work and right to manage claims. The team is also experienced in acting in the High Court and Upper Tribunal. Roger Hardwick is an expert in the field of residential leasehold property and has a broad national client base including developers, ground rent investors, property managers, resident and tenant-owned management companies, and individual landlords and leaseholders. David Richards is the name to note for residential landlord and tenant disputes including possession claims, rent arrears issues, deposit recoveries, wrongful evictions and breaches of covenant. Debbie Phillips leads the department.
Ivor Court Freehold
Ivor Court Freehold
- Acted for the defendant freeholders of a block of 42 flats known as York House.
- Acted for the successful applicant freeholder: Menta Redrow Limited, in its application to vary the leases of 297 apartments at the Morello Quarter.
- Acted for Littlecroft Properties, the leaseholder of a premises comprising a ground floor shop, with residential accommodation above, in connection with its claim to acquire the freehold of the premises under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.
Handling the full range of landlord and tenant work, Clyde & Co LLP's property disputes group acts for a wide range of clients, from property funds and sizeable tenant occupiers to smaller organisations and private clients. In particular, the team acts in contentious lease renewals, rent reviews, breaks and terminations, dilapidation claims, service charge disputes, rental arrears recoveries and litigation relating to the forfeiture of tenancies. Department head Keith Conway's practice focuses on disputes concerning property developments, joint ventures, funding issues, site assemblies, contractual elements and landlord and tenant matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is exceptional, led by Keith Conway. They are both commercially astute and have a fantastic client list. They have a great relationship with their clients and provide premium service.‘
C & J Clark International
- Acted for Zara in relation to its plans to expand its Oxford Street store to create a major UK flagship store.
- Acting for Clarks in relation to the opposed lease renewal of its store in a shopping centre.
Freeths LLP' real estate litigation group is spread across the firm's offices in Milton Keynes and Oxford. The former focuses on work in the licensed leisure sector, acting for pub owners, pub-owning businesses and national and regional brewers. In Oxford the team has developed a reputation for its contentious agricultural property expertise, with a client base comprised of landed estates, charities, private and commercial investors and farming families. Mark Brown leads the Milton Keynes practice, with Clare Bellis heading up the Oxford group.
‘Clare Bellis works hard to get to the heart of a case; willing to go the extra mile when a case needs it; sensible approach with lots of experience across a broad range; completely reliable, and very easy to work with.‘
‘Freeths have a wonderful understanding of the issues I was facing in a depth far greater than any others I came across.‘
‘The whole team are extremely personable which is a wonderful fit with their knowledge.‘
Casual Dining Group
Far East Consortium International
London Luton Airport
Milton Keynes Parks Trust
Laine Pub Company
Oxford University Press
Tarmac Group of Companies
Blenheim Estate/Blenheim Palace
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust
The Carington Estate
Wadham College Oxford
The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution
- Acting for Bella Italia Restaurants in the Court of Appeal regarding the termination of an agreement for lease of a restaurant unit in Colchester.
- Acted for two local charities in heavily contested arbitration and High Court proceedings relating to the successful termination of long-standing Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies to allow for the sale of land for a housing development.
- Representing Investra Capital in a substantial claim against a main contractor under a collateral warranty in relation to a leaking supermarket roof.
Furley Page Solicitors is singled out for its work in commercial landlord and tenant disputes, including litigation relating to lease renewals, dilapidations, breach of repairing covenants and unauthorised assignments. The team acts for a wide variety of commercial property investors, developers and private property investors with buy-to-let portfolios. Chartered surveyor Jeremy Ferris leads the practice and is particularly experienced in compulsory purchase cases. George Crofton-Martin is the name to note for complex development disputes.
‘Very efficient and professional. My trust and confidence in them was fully justified.‘
‘Sarah Woolnough provided an excellent service.‘
‘Great deal of firm wide expertise that make the process of dealing with a difficult tenant relatively painless and efficient.‘
‘Always able to provide solutions to potentially complicated problems and very prompt with advice, with valid well thought out alternatives.‘
‘Highly effective at hard fought contentious planning disputes.‘
‘George Crofton-Martin – a fantastic litigator, combining brilliant client management skills with a never-say-die attitude to the most difficult contentious work – totally committed to achieving the best outcome for his clients.‘
‘My experience of Furley Page that it is a traditional firm that has not been afraid to move with the times. The offices are an interconnected warren of buildings in the heart of Canterbury, and it feels like they have served the community from there for generations. I get the impression that their clients tend to be of long standing, and the levels of trust reposed are correspondingly high. In terms of strengths, they are a solid and dependable firm, large enough to deal with most issues, and not afraid to use counsel where the expertise is required.‘
H R Bell
R Swain & Sons
Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company
Robert Brett & Sons
London Borough of Wandsworth
University of Kent
- Representing The Metropole in a County Court hearing regarding various alterations made by a leaseholder.
- Acting for The Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company in one of the longest running village green inquiries in England and Wales, in relation to an application to register the beach as a new town or village green.
IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)
IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) acts for national housebuilders and other residential developers in a broad range of contentious issues including vacant possession claims, rights of light issues, restrictive covenants and other barriers to development. The team also has a specialism in acting for clients in the industrial sector, particularly those based in or around Heathrow Airport. Restrictive covenant specialist Andrew Olins jointly leads the practice alongside Jon Mowbray, who is regularly instructed by commercial and residential property owners affected by HS2 and the proposed third runway at Heathrow.
Dolce & Gabbana
Frogmore Real Estate
Nicholas King Homes
Moor Park Golf Club
Odey Asset Management
- Acting for Dolce & Gabbana in relation to contested lease renewals in respect of its Central London retail stores.
- Acting for Galliard in defending a class action brought by flat owners regarding the cladding on properties.
- Acted for developer Ashford Homes in a joint venture dispute concerning a residential development in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.
Chris Marsden heads up Moore Barlow's real estate litigation group, which acts in complex and high-value property disputes for high-net-worth individuals, developers, hoteliers and retailers. The team also counts insolvency practitioners, telecoms operators, property institutions and financial institutions on its client roster. Sarah Watley leads the bank and lender side of the practice, acting for a number of specialist lender clients in high-value and complex residential and commercial possession claims. Richmond-based Thomas Middlehurst is the key name to note for property ownership disputes. The team is made up lawyers from both Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins, following their merger in May 2020 - key legacy Barlow Robbins lawyers among the team include senior associate Simon Fulford and senior litigator David Foster, both of who are based in Guildford.
‘Moore Barlow punch well above their weight in terms of real estate litigation, dealing with complex disputes on behalf of large nationally and internationally recognisable clients. They are able to compete favourably with much bigger firms including City firms. The team take a commercial approach, recognising the value in early strategic advice in achieving their clients’ goals.‘
‘Chris Marsden, who trained and practised in the City, is able to bring all the experience and technical ability necessary for the full range of real estate litigation. Clients really like him; they particularly value his strategic thinking and commercial approach. Simon Beetham, while still relatively junior, is one to watch for the future. He has a quiet confidence about him and is technically brilliant.‘
‘A strong presence in the South. High quality team with excellent high net worth client base.‘
‘Tom Middlehurst: a good solid litigation partner. Works hard at early case analysis, carrying out thorough investigations and taking appropriate advice from counsel to identify clear and realistic objectives for the client, which he then pursues ruthlessly.‘
‘Chris Marsden is a stand out partner in the region. His leadership of the property litigation team has taken its reputation to a new level. Clients find Chris commercially savvy and look to him as a trusted adviser. His combination of specialist knowledge and ability to find effective solutions to problems makes him a go-to lawyer.‘
‘Sarah Watley has a pragmatic approach and always looks to provide a range of solutions to ensure that all options are consider to achieve a suitable solution.‘
Business Mortgage Finance
- Acted for a lender in a claim worth in excess of £3m defending claims in respect of unfair relationship, payments of secret commission and bribery.
- Acting for a client pursuing a claim in trespass against the neighbouring owner.
- Acting for the owner of a large parcel of land in West Sussex valued at £6m, which is subject to a number of agreements with national telecoms providers.
Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP undertakes portfolio management issues for commercial property tenants in the leisure, hotel and retail sectors. The team has significant expertise in development work, specifically acting in covenant disputes, easements, adverse possession claims and the associated land registry and tribunal applications. Amy Evans joins the team from Brethertons LLP and has particular experience in dealing with lease extensions and enfranchisement claims. Oxford-based practice head John Morrison's work includes lease renewals, dilapidation claims, service charge disputes, forfeiture issues, possession proceedings and boundary disputes. Donald Lambert leads the firm's national group.
Other key lawyers:
‘Commercial property team best in class.‘
‘Very personable, understand client needs and give very commercial advice.‘
‘John Morrison is exceptionally clear thinking and astute. He provides very efficient and timely responses, having analysed quickly and effectively. He distils complex issues into more easily understood concepts. He instils confidence into what can be a worrying area of law. Outstanding!‘
‘John Morrison shows genuine empathy and focus on the objective. Always conscious of costs.‘
‘Amy Evans gave clear concise advice on the eviction of a residential tenant with long-running debt issues. She deftly guided us through the process and successfully obtained vacant possession of the property.‘
‘John is calm, thoughtful and willing to spend time talking through the issues, not purely from a legal perspective. He is well connected and was able to recommend an excellent barrister and surveyor.’
Oxford Brookes University
London Development Group
Somerville College, University of Oxford
St Peter’s College, University of Oxford
- Reviewed a complex portfolio of tenancies for the London Development Group on its acquisition of premises, and then served multiple section 25 notices seeking early termination of 14 tenancies and acted in forfeiture claims and recovering and securing vacant possession from trespassers and tenants who had abandoned their units.
- Successfully defended a group of property investors in a tenant’s claim regarding the existence of a break right.
- Acted for a private client who was contacted by neighbours, who claimed the benefit of historic pre-emption rights to acquire the client’s house.
The majority of Shoosmiths LLP' work is for commercial development, corporate occupier, investor and residential development clients. Simon Foster joined from Laytons LLP to take over as practice head from Zoe Wright, who departed to Blake Morgan LLP along with Simon Pestell. Foster deals with matters before the First Tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal, High Court and County Court and works across the firm's offices in Thames Valley and Manchester. Newly promoted senior associate Richard Willcox covers the whole range of commercial work focusing specifically on easements, the enforceability of restrictive covenants and obligations under complex overage and conditional contracts. Nick Shepherd leads the national practice.
Other key lawyers:
‘This team has a great knowledge of our property portfolio and supports us with great litigation advice and the team are also well informed about the work going on throughout our portfolio.‘
‘The team at Shoosmiths are always very calm, professional and helpful in responding to our requests for advice. They are always exceptionally good at responding by phone or email.‘
‘Richard Willcox is the Senior Associate that we deal with most and he has a calm but thorough manner when analysing the problems and guiding us through the options and alternatives. One of the tests is that we very rarely actually have to resort to litigation within the Court as Richard’s input usually allows a pragmatic but satisfactory solution to be achieved.‘
Volkswagen Group United Kingdom
Coca-Cola European Partners GB
Thomas Cook UK
The Moat School
DXC Technology Group
Hennes & Mauritz UK
- Representing Arianda Property Holdings in a claim regarding ownership of mines and minerals relating to a 110-acre site close to Heathrow Airport being developed to create a significant underground warehouse facility.
- Acting for a client in a statutory matter relating to the enfranchisement of a house under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 involving the freeholder and several intermediate landlords.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's Southampton team is led by Mark Barley, who has over 30 years experience encompassing the full range of matters from mainstream portfolio management issues for institutional landlords and corporate and retail occupiers, through to Telecoms Code and foreshore and mooring issues for the Crown Estate. Managing associate Vicki Young acts for many of the team's principal clients with particular experience in insolvencies, opposed and unopposed lease renewal claims, high-value dilapidation claims and complex break precondition issues. Newcastle-based Jen Smurthwaite leads the national practice.
Other key lawyers:
‘A first class team. You know you are in safe hands.‘
‘A pleasure to work with. They understand client needs and expectations.‘
‘We have worked with Mark Barley on several occasions and he gives good commercial advice.‘
‘Good local strength and technical know how.‘
The Crown Estate
Babcock International Group
Associated British Ports
- Acting for Specsavers on the management of its property portfolio including the related contentious issues.
Dean Wilson LLP is highly regarded for its expertise in residential landlord and tenant work, and fields specialists in handling residential possession cases for a client list of national land and property agents, developers and landlords. The practice has also seen significant growth in the niche area of lease extension and enfranchisement claims. Recently promoted partner Gabrielle Moffatt has played an increasing role in the growth and management of the firm’s residential possession work and has also taken on several tenant insolvency cases. Claire Whiteman leads the department.
Other key lawyers:
‘Gabrielle Moffatt is very knowledgeable – very pleasant – very efficient and dedicated.‘
‘Claire Whiteman acted on our behalf throughout the process. At all points of the process she gave clear advice. She always replied to email promptly. Although the matter became a rather marathon process Claire kept us fully informed and motivated throughout.‘
‘Excellent communication throughout any dealings and 100% professionalism and efficiency.‘
‘An excellent knowledge of the intricacies of the leasehold legislation, which has been invaluable to us. We need to act fairly, and to save money in doing so.‘
‘The Property Litigation team at Dean Wilson LLP provide a comprehensive, professional and honest service. I have used many firms throughout my property career and the fact I am still using Dean Wilson LLP is a testament to their fantastic work.‘
‘Clare Whiteman and Gabrielle Moffatt are both extremely knowledgeable, reliable and approachable.‘
The Connells Group
The Gym Group
The Baron Homes Corporation
Sports Entertainment Marketing
- Acting for a commercial landlord in a £1.25m terminal dilapidation claim against the Post Office.
- Acting for a Tribunal-appointed manager in the Upper Tribunal in a claim relating to whether a Tribunal’s order appointing the manager binds a successor in title to the freehold.
- Acting for owners of 31 flats in a group action to challenge £1m service charges relating to fire safety works carried out at a block of flats.
EMW Law LLP
EMW Law LLP acts for a number of substantial institutional investors with large commercial property portfolios across the country. The team has expertise across a wide range of property litigation including rights of light claims, party wall act issues, leasehold enfranchisements and dilapidation claims. Charles Clay heads up the group in Milton Keynes, while Karen Young deals with disputed telecoms and commercial lease renewals. James Davis joined the practice from Hamilton Downing.
‘EMW has an excellent presence in the market with genuine expertise. It has a very experienced pool of partners who clearly train their junior lawyers extremely well.‘
‘I would single out Charles Clay. Charles is an exceptional lawyer who combines gravitas with an easy to approach attitude that clearly makes him a client favourite.‘
Milton Keynes Community Foundation
Field Seymour Parkes LLP's property litigation team is recognised for its expertise in handling complex litigation and assists the wider real estate team with high-value transactional work, including acting for a number of high-profile national and international corporate clients. Paul Dench, who was promoted to the partnership in 2019, leads the practice and has experience in agricultural issues, landlord and tenant litigation, residential lease extensions and enfranchisement work.
‘FSP offer a better service than London firms by marrying experience and specialism with a personal touch. Impressive attention to detail and my first recommendation for all types of property litigation. Extremely good value for money by comparison to competitors’
‘Paul Dench is a pleasure to work with, understands the clients needs and uses deep understanding of substantive law and procedure to help acheive the objectives.’
‘Having a client relationship manager who is also a specialist and has taken the time to understand our needs as a client. This person is able to respond to our queries and expedite matters efficiently and effectively. Specialists within the FSP team are then passed over to us to deliver on our instructions.’
‘We fielded three practices in the local area before settling on FSP as our preferred advisors. FPS was the only practice who spent the time engaging with us to understand our needs.’
‘Aside from their clear demonstrable capabilities, they are a dynamic and charismatic team who are all strong communicators and are fun to work with. They are always on hand to help us, no matter how big or small the instruction.’
‘Field Seymour Parkes’ real estate litigation practice is second to none. When I am asked to recommend a firm of solicitors in the Reading area by my own friends and family, that is where I send them.’
‘They are much loved by their clients and correspondingly always have great work. They are equally adept at dealing with rural matters as they are with commercial matters.’
‘As a department, they are deep thinkers; keen to win at trial, but anxious to get a good settlement so their clients don’t have to take their chances at trial. They are masters of cost effective litigation in an era when that quality is rarely seen. They are also thoroughly amiable – a joy to work with from the barrister’s point of view.’
Euro Car Parts
University of Reading/Thames Valley Science Park
Increasingly acting for commercial landlords, Gardner Leader LLP's property litigation team specialises in mortgage repossession claims. The wider litigation team is led by Alastair Goggins, while Michelle Di Gioia heads up the property litigation sub-group. Notable recent work includes defending a respondent in the First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber in a case of adverse possession.
Other key lawyers:
‘Gardner Leader is a strong and growing regional firm with several property litigation specialists amongst its number. The solicitors there are friendly, well-informed and efficient.‘
‘I have worked frequently with Alastair Goggins, Michelle di Gioia and Andrew Shipp in Gardner Leader’s property disputes team. All of them are first-rate, good lawyers and commercially savvy and a pleasure to work with.‘
Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP
Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP regularly acts in dilapidation claims, lease renewals, modification and breach of covenant issues, rights of way cases, boundary disputes, orders for sale and party wall matters. The department actively encourages alternative dispute resolution, with a number of the team also being qualified mediators. Helen Bell leads the practice, acting in multi-party complex dilapidation cases and all forms of landlord and tenant disputes. The team also have specialist expertise in leasehold enfranchisements; Jo Ironside is the key name to note.
‘The size of the team ensures that they can have expertise across many areas.‘
‘Helen Bell makes an effort to ensure that matters are completed efficiently and quickly. Paul Rooke has a good understanding of the best litigation approach for each case.‘
‘Extremely knowledgeable and dedicated experts in their field. Easily one of the go-to firms in the local market for this practice area.‘
‘Helen Bell is one of the most diligent solicitors I have encountered and has extensive experience in this area.’
The Trustees of the Debenham Property Trust
Harvey & Son
Essex Court Investments
- Acted for a high-net-worth individual in a claim by a bank for possession of a property.
- Represented two respondents in complex five-party proceedings before the FTT Property Chamber Land Registration Division.
Thomson Snell & Passmore
Thomson Snell & Passmore has extensive experience in acting for clients in the contentious aspects of property portfolio management including landlord and tenant disputes, easement cases, boundary disputes and adverse possession claims. A key part of the practice's work is finding solutions for funders, developers and landowners to unlock the development potential of land including the release of restrictive covenants, overage claims and dealing with rights of common. Mark Steggles, who leads the team, has significant experience in property insolvency litigation and acts for a number of clients in the charity sector.
The Association of Conservative Clubs
Royal British Legion Industries
Fort Knight Group
Hoopers Department Store
Yellow Tree Capital
- Acted for Hautford Limited regarding the lease of premises in Soho and their legitimate usage.
- Acted for the Association of Conservative Clubs Limited in seeking a declaration as to the lawfulness of the liquidators’ decision making in the dissolution of the Club and the distribution of the club’s assets.
- Advised Royal British Legion Industries Limited on a strategy for relocating tenants, a number of whom had secure tenancies (or similar) to ensure the development could proceed.
VWV's Watford-based team acts in a wide range of contentious commercial landlord and tenant work including break notices, lease renewals, possession claims and dilapidation claims as well as contentious development matters, adverse possession claims, restrictive covenant issues and easement disputes. Laura Seaman is the name to note in Watford, while group head Michelle Bendall works in the Bristol office and handles the full spectrum of property litigation work.
Other key lawyers:
‘It is a highly-impressive firm with the strength in depth to tackle a broad range of real estate-related litigation. However, it has been particularly innovative in cultivating contacts within the broader real estate sector – e.g.: with surveyors, architects etc. As a result of this approach, VWV has not only attracted some high calibre work, but it has carried out that work with a broader commercial understanding of what clients really want (and want to avoid).‘
‘I work primarily with Laura Seaman, who is a Partner in VWV’s Watford office. If I could create an ideal solicitor to work with, it would be someone like Laura. She is knowledgeable about the law but pragmatic with it. She is sensible in managing clients’ expectations, and in her delegation of work. I always trust her to do what needs to be done. On top of all that, she is an absolute pleasure to work with.‘
BDB Pitmans specialises in landlord and tenant litigation, high-value insolvency-related disputes as well as structural and construction litigation. Representing a large number of leading developers, the team operates across both the commercial and residential real estate sectors. The department is led by Phil Smith, whose practice has a particular focus on handling a wide range of claims on behalf of businesses, individuals and insolvency practitioners. Associate David Williams is another key name in the practice and specialises in general property disputes including landlord and tenant litigation, dilapidations and lease renewal claims.
Other key lawyers:
‘Well organised, well-led and cohesive team – very approachable and responsive – key capability for us is that the team are able to find viable practical solutions to our landlord and tenant issues. They are mindful of the fact that the relationship with our landlords is often long-term and needs to be preserved, whilst preserving our rights and entitlements.‘
‘David Williams is a very thorough and knowledgeable lawyer. We have been impressed by how tactically astute his advice has proved to be in several recent landlord and tenant matters.‘
Okay.Com Property Agency
iSmash UK Trading
- Advised a national housebuilder on a substantial project to regularise the use of a private sewage treatment plant with approximately 45 counterparties.
- Provided urgent advice and assistance to a high street retailer concerning the forfeiture of its lease at Tottenham Court Road, a key strategic site.
- Acted for a freehold management company in its successful appeal of a Party Wall Act award, procured by collusion between the respondent and the third surveyor.
Blandy & Blandy LLP handles all types of commercial and residential contested landlord and tenant issues and property ownership and management matters, including complex and high-value cases. The team is regularly engaged in property and planning litigation including judicial review work, and has specialist experience advising on lease extensions and enfranchisement issues. Pippa Garrod leads the property litigation practice and deals with a broad range of property disputes. Philip D’Arcy leads the firm's wider dispute resolution group.
Englefield Estate Trust Corporation
BEN – Motor & Allied Trades Benevolent Fund
- Acting for a private individual in various potential actions including misrepresentation and professional negligence claims.
- Advising a fund in relation to statutorily protected agricultural tenancy, including advising on which statutory regime applied and how to regain possession.
- Advising the landlord of commercial premises on the options for terminating a lease of part of the premises.
Blaser Mills Law' counts companies from the logistics, healthcare, property developers, hotels and hospitality sectors on its client roster. Olu Ajasa joined from Taylor Rose TTKW, bringing with him significant experience in possession claims, dilapidation claims, contested and uncontested commercial lease renewals, contentious residential lease extensions and collective enfranchisement work. Alka Kharbanda leads the dispute resolution group, while Sangita Manek acts for clients in trespass issues, residential and commercial possession claims, adverse possession claims, forfeitures and landlord and tenant insolvencies.
‘A key factor in the strength and success of Blaser Mills is the excellent leadership of the business. I have had the pleasure of meeting and placing business with most of the senior partners and rate them all very highly. Their commitment to their clients and staff is of the highest possible standard.‘
‘An excellent regional firm expanding in all sectors and upwardly mobile. Well run and user friendly.‘
‘Jon Lilley – a very experienced litigator justifiably well loved by his loyal client base. Alka Kharbanda – one of the toughest litigators you will come up against. clear and sensible in her advice. Jade Brooks – a hardworking and up and coming associate.‘
‘A partner led team where clients get a great deal of individual attention from the partner involved.‘
‘Sangita Manek is excellent. She is driven and always puts her client’s interests first. She will ferociously fight their corner, but is also pragmatic enough to tell them when it is not in their interests to pursue something.‘
‘My “go to” firm for all matters litigious.‘
Boys & Maughan
Boys & Maughan acts for a broad base of commercial and individual clients which are primarily based in East and Mid-Kent. The department undertakes contentious work at all levels of the court system and also provides clients with risk mitigation and management advice. Andrew Baker leads the dispute resolution team and represents contractors, landlords, developers and professional advisers. Elsewhere in the practice, Matt Champ acts for landlords and tenants in complex possession matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Their extraordinary attention, time and collective responsibility made us feel at ease through the duration of our case.‘
‘The litigation team are close-knit and supportive, and possess both substantive and practical know-how across a wide range of subjects.‘
‘They take the trouble to understand the client and also the commercial considerations, and not just the legal positions. They don’t waste time as do so many solicitors, and treat all clients with the same degree of importance. They give me confidence in all matters and their advice is sensible as well as legal.‘
D A Phillips and Co Ltd
- Representing a local family in proceedings with a company, which acted unconscionably by taking active steps to prevent the clients from discharging their liability.
- Handled a claim involving HMO rental properties in London for over £1m relating to rent not passed on to the freeholder, deceit, fraud and breach of contract.
- Acting for the developer of a £1m site building site which incorporated an old church that had an aerial belonging to EE Ltd.
Dutton Gregory's property litigation team sits within the wider commercial litigation practice, working closely with the specialist landlord and tenant department. Senior associate Louise James heads up the real estate litigation group and specialises in all areas of property disputes with particular experience in tenant defaults, possession claims, forfeitures, commercial rent recoveries, dilapidation claims and breaches of covenants. Robert Bolwell and Gina Peters jointly manage the landlord and tenant department.
Other key lawyers:
‘Exceptional levels of customer service, Claire and the team went above and beyond to put my mind at ease every step of the way.‘
‘A genuinely specialist team which focuses strongly on the residential sector as well as commercial with plenty of experience across the board.‘
‘Robert Bolwell – founded the residential team and with the strongest client handling skills in the business. Gina Peters – focused, diligent and always ready to go the extra mile for her clients.‘
‘Robert Bolwell and Gina Peters are outstanding professionals with 100% integrity and are truly the most reliable legal advisers we use . Finding pragmatic solutions and effective communication are their core strengths and they are good value for money.‘
‘The team are thoroughly knowledge in their sphere of expertise. They always give the best and most practical advice on matters that arise, where we need specialist legal advice and representation. They always appear to keep one step ahead of new legislation.‘
‘Right up to date with Housing and Tenancy Law, provide pragmatic and clear advice on what options are available to me as a landlord. Good in examining an issue and distilling it down to the essentials.‘
Countrywide Estate Agents
Foot Anstey's client base is spread across a number of sectors including the retail, media, financial services, agriculture and rural land, education and charity industries; the group also acts for public sector clients. Practice head Kate New concentrates on commercial property issues including asset management work and litigation arising from large occupational and telecoms portfolios. Patrick Wetherall leads the firm-wide property litigation group from Bristol.
‘Incredibly diligent team, managing a multi-expert expedited litigation in a calm and proactive manner.’
‘The team gave City quality delivery on virgin litigation, managing tight deadlines and client expectations.’
‘The team were impressive, knowledgeable and very supportive of clients and experts.’
‘Kate New was calm under pressure, expert in her field and demonstrated her capabilities by managing the clients through a faced paced case, that navigated very technical areas of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, and leading them to a successful outcome.’
‘My experience as Counsel instructed by Foot Anstey has been of its property litigation team. In my view, this practice stands out as competing on a par with national or London-based firms, in terms of the quality of its service product, but at a substantial fraction of the cost charged by London-based competitors.’
‘Kate New is excellent understanding of client objectives and commercial importance of issues; approachable and engaging to work with.’
B & Q
Capital & Regional
De La Rue
Netflix Studios UK
- Advising B&Q on legal issues arising across its nationwide property portfolio.
- Advised Screwfix in relation to a statutory notice bringing its tenancy to an end at a highly profitable store.
- Acted for Elliott Brothers (building merchants) in a liability claim.
Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP
Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP covers all types of property disputes including lease renewal proceedings, planning disputes, rent and service charge recovery issues, forfeiture actions and applications for relief, right of way disputes, rent recoveries for commercial landlords, leasehold enfranchisements, dilapidation claims and boundary disputes. Kenneth Stangoe, who heads up the wider commercial litigation practice, is a property dispute specialist with over 20 years' experience in litigation.
‘The firm provides a very professional service through partners and fee earners who are always approachable. The clients are kept well informed as to what work is being done on their behalf and an efficient and effective approach to the work means that fees are always competitive and proportionate to the result that is achieved.‘
‘I generally work with Kenneth Stangoe in Commercial Litigation. He is an experienced and effective litigator who holds the trust and confidence of his clients from the first instruction until the conclusion of the case.‘
‘Absolute personal attention. Will not take on a case without knowing all the details and will then decide very fairly whether or not it is proper to proceed or desist. Reasonable with their fees and they give regular updates as to costs and fees. I am more than happy to be a client of theirs.‘
‘Ken Stangoe- Absolutely to the point. Calls a spade a spade and will not let you litigate unless he feels you have a good reason to. Keeps a client focus and takes emotion out of a case.‘
Herrington Carmichael LLP has seen an increase in demand for its real estate litigation capabilities from both direct real estate sector clients as well as corporate and commercial clients of the wider firm with significant real estate portfolios. Frankie Tierney leads the team and has particular experience in acting for landowners, property developers and investors in complex High Court, Technology and Construction Court, and Property Tribunal matters. Adrian Taylor is another key name to note.
Other key lawyers:
‘Prompt, precise and to the point in all dealings. Polite and approachable in face-to-face meetings.’
‘Frankie Tierney led the way throughout the process in a calm and professional manner. Her advice was clear and accurate and led to a satisfactory conclusion. Final settlement was in the ball-park of what Frankie had predicted at the start so there were no surprises.’
‘Provide easy to understand free initial advice to clients to enable them to fully appreciate their options depending on the circumstances of their case, so that they can then decide whether or not litigation is appropriate for them.’
‘Frankie Tierney, head of dispute resolution, has always been quick to respond to any queries I have raised when I have received instructions from her to carry out an expert report. Her responses have been clear and concise.’
‘Herrington Carmichael’s property litigation team has a dynamic and comprehensive regional offering.’
‘Frankie Tierney is diligent, efficient, and with a great eye for detail.’
‘I have used Herrington & Carmichael for over thirty years, for certain casual matters in the first instance and since 2003 full time. They are very sharp, well attuned to recent developments and cover a wide range of legal fields.’
‘The team is very dedicated to personal service. A partner is always available to speak to you and offer quick and well considered advice.’
Commercial real estate disputes are a key focus area for the property litigation team at Knights plc. Kate Clarke is a key name in the practice and acts in all litigation matters, including construction and real estate litigation, commercial claims and contractual disputes. The team also has experience handling commercial lease renewal proceedings and professional negligence claims.
Laytons LLP acts for a range of national and regional housebuilders, alongside SMEs and private individuals and is particularly active in the social housing sector. Geraint Thomas leads the wider disputes team, while John Abbott is a name to note for property litigation and international arbitration, often involving multi-jurisdictional issues. Former practice head Simon Foster departed the firm in late 2019 to Shoosmiths LLP.
Other key lawyers:
Paris Smith LLP has developed a reputation in commercial and residential conveyancing, acting for clients across multiple sectors including investors, developers, business tenants and residential landlords. The team also has significant experience in representing developer clients in property contract disputes. David Eminton leads the practice and has increasingly been involved in high-value dilapidation claims, while Cliff Morris has particular expertise in boundary and right of way disputes and housing repossession claims.
Other key lawyers:
‘Responsive, professional and knowledgeable.‘
‘Quick to respond, good depth of knowledge.‘
‘The firms level of expertise is unique compared to other law firms, as there is always someone who can assist with any legal issue. Staff are also aware of their colleagues level of expertise and are able to refer matters to the correct person if they do not have a particular type of legal knowledge.‘
‘High-quality technical disputes team, but local to its area. Mixes solidity of legal practitioners, good atmosphere, fine juniors and trainees and excellent contacts in the industry. The backroom is very good. Effective admin. Everything you need without going to London.‘
ABP (Port of Southampton)
Petchey Industrial Holdings
NHS Southern Health Trust
Hillier Garden Centres
Marwell Zoological Park
Southwark Borough Council
Ocea Group Limited
Interbay Holdings Limited
- Successfully acted for NYL in order to secure extended rights to dredge its marina after the Welsh Government had imposed heavy conditions to maritime dredging licences.
Led by Stephen Eccles, Pinney Talfourd LLP's Hornchurch-based property litigation team specialises in leasehold extensions, enfranchisement issues and boundary disputes. While typically representing commercial clients including estate agents and developers, the firm has also seen an increase in compulsory and blight purchase work for homeowners and farmers, due, in part, to the Lower Thames Crossing project.
RMS Estate Agents
- Represented Sequence in a lease renewal, where rent could not be agreed.
- Acting for a long residential leaseholder to extend the lease pursuant to LRHUDA 1993.
- Acting for the commercial tenant of an artists’ studios to compel the landlord to carry out urgent repairs.