Property litigation in South West
The real estate disputes team at Burges Salmon LLP acts for a broad base of regional and national clients. It also has significant following among international clients, as is evidenced by its work for occupiers in high-profile lease break and dilapidations claims; Goldman Sachs and Virgin are among the blue-chip names that turn to the firm for advice in this space. Elsewhere, the group has a strong track record of handling commercial rent reviews in London. It also generates contentious property mandates from clients active in the renewable energy sector, and also from clients in relation to property insolvencies. Richard Bedford handles a wide range of freehold and leasehold disputes, and has extensive expertise in alternative forms of dispute resolution. Practice head James Sutherland has extensive experience in real estate litigation and insolvency disputes relating to real estate assets. Clients also recommend senior associate David Benjamin and newly promoted partner Chris Preston.
‘A team of true specialists and market leaders in the field of property litigation‘
‘Good coverage across multiple legal disciplines‘
‘The team’s legal advice is always clear, concise and well-articulated‘
‘Every team member is friendly, very responsive and provides excellent commercial advice‘
‘James Sutherland is simply a pleasure to work with‘
‘Richard Bedford is fantastic and very experienced‘
‘Chris Preston is very impressive‘
‘David Benjamin is superb‘
Goldman Sachs International
Canal & River Trust
John Lewis Partnership
The Crown Estate
Manchester Airports Group
- Advising LPA receivers and an investment company on a contested keep-open requirement concerning a lease of a shopping centre.
- Representing Waterstones Booksellers in all contentious matters concerning property asset management.
- Represented The Crown Estate in complex escheat matter relating to assets held by a fraudulent Jersey-based property trust.
- Representing Affinity Water in a dispute relating to the effect of water undertakers’ rights on development plans.
Osborne Clarke’s growing property litigation practice undertakes contentious work at all levels of the court system, and it also represents clients before tribunals and arbitration panels. In the face of potential disputes and litigation, the team assists clients with risk mitigation and management advice. The group also stands out due to its varied client base, which includes developers, mobile operators, utilities, retail occupiers, landlords and investors. Leona Briggs’ practice focuses on disputes arising under the Electronic Communications Code, as well as on contractual disputes concerning residential and commercial development. David Shakesby handles the property-related aspects of energy and infrastructure disputes.
Other key lawyers:
‘First-class legal advice‘
‘Team members are very professional and efficient, with a greater depth of knowledge compared to their peers on the local market‘
‘Efficient at all levels, the team is great at utilising the expertise of its more experienced professionals, while also encouraging and nurturing the younger professionals‘
‘Leona Briggs is simply great‘
Vodafone/ Vodafone Enterprise UK
Western Power Distribution (South West)
Wales & West Utilities
Marks & Spencer
Bovis Homes Group
CBRE Global Investors
- Acted for CDS Stores as the successful claimant in a rectification claim.
- Advising Western Power Distribution (South West) on a high-profile dispute with Network Rail over the costs of diverting and altering WPD overhead electricity lines and apparatus, in order to facilitate Network Rail’s projects to electrify the Great Western and Midlands Mainlines.
- Advising Ward Homes on matters concerning a site in Kent, which was acquired years ago and is currently being promoted through the local planning process.
- Advising Wales & West Utilities on a complex dispute with the owner of an expanding industrial site in Somerset.
- Advising Ward Homes on a complex claim for breach of contract.
VWV houses an ‘exceptional’ property litigation practice, which operates as an integrated part of the firm’s real estate department. The team has a particular strength in contentious work in the healthcare, education and public sectors. It also acts for developers, charities and religious institutions. Michelle Bendall is an ‘excellent advocate’. The 'brilliant' David Bird and senior associate Daniel Hall are also recommended.
‘The team’s real strength lies in the fact that everyone takes a very commercial approach towards litigation, realising that sometimes a good settlement may be worth more to a client than a judgment from a court‘
‘The team is quick to respond and provides clear advice and practical solutions‘
‘Michelle Bendall is a force to be reckoned with and someone you want in your corner‘
‘Michelle Bendall is a pleasure to deal with‘
‘Daniel Hall is a thorough and savvy litigator‘
Airbus Defence and Space
University of Bristol
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
United Reformed Church
Essar Oil UK
St Vincent de Paul Society
Diocese of Truro
King Edward’s School
The Diocese of Gloucester
Oxford City Council
Pell Frischmann Consultants
Bournemouth Borough Council
Oxford Brookes University
Bristol Waste Company
Thanet District Council
Poole Borough Council
Bath Spa University
- Advised a local authority on the contentious property issues arising from the CPO of land needed to facilitate the construction of a new link road in the south coast of England.
- Representing a central government body in a contested rent review of its national headquarters.
- Representing the Diocese of Gloucester to acquire a strategically important parcel of land and access rights by way of adverse possession and prescriptive rights.
- Assisting a university with obtaining possession from trespassers.
- Representing a university in a contentious possession claim involving the Equality Act and reputational issues.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's transatlantic presence makes it well-placed to generate work from US-based clients with interests in the UK, as well as UK-based entities. Its excellent credentials in dispute resolution are evidenced by the fact that its team is equally strong in litigation, mediation and arbitration. James Rees leads the team in Bristol, which covers all types of commercial property disputes and property management work for public and private sector clients. Managing associate Sasha Hinton is also recommended.
James Rees (Bristol); Jen Smurthwaite (head of team firmwide, Newcastle)
Other key lawyers:
Sasha Hinton (Bristol)
‘The team is strong in property disputes‘
‘Due to its depth and the presence of specialists nationwide, the team is able to offer first-class services at all levels‘
‘Sasha Hinton protects her clients’ interests with skill and enthusiasm‘
Network Rail Infrastructure Limited
Ministry of Justice (Estates Directorate)
New Look Retailers Limited
River Island Clothing Co.
National Farmers’ Union (NFU)
- Advising a large international offshore wind farm operator on a number of issues and disputes with landowners concerning the route of an electricity cable coming from an offshore wind farm.
- Advising Three Rivers District Council on all contentious aspects arising out of the South Oxhey regeneration in North London; work includes handling numerous commercial landlord and tenant issues.
- Acting for Alder King in its capacity as LPA receivers for a tenant of premises, which cannot be sold due to an incomplete rent review clause.
Ashfords LLP handles commercial landlord and tenant matters, property development and investment, professional negligence claims and claims for breaches of banking covenants relating to property. Its team is also experienced in leasehold enfranchisement matters, mortgage repossessions and restructuring claims. ‘Experienced’ practice head Sian Gibbon acts for both commercial and public sector clients. Robert Horsey is recommended for his work on contentious trust and probate disputes.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is able to deal comprehensively with any type of dispute that may come up in this sector‘
‘Robert Horsey should be greatly valued for his ability to see the bigger picture and to sympathetically deal with all parties during negotiations‘
Biffa Waste Services
Wainhomes (South West) Holdings
Majestic Wine Warehouses
Lloyds Banking Group
Exeter City Council
- Acting for a property developer in relation to the removal of telecommunications apparatus currently occupying a development site.
- Acting for a serviced office provider in relation to the lease of a high-profile property in Central London.
- Assisted a commercial property developer with obtaining an urgent possession order against squatters in a large commercial property in South London.
- Acting for London boroughs in all non-routine litigation matters including residential possession actions, leasehold matters, homelessness reviews, disrepair claims, judicial reviews, commercial lease disputes, and others.
- Assisted Strongvox with a high-value dispute regarding a development agreement.
Bevan Brittan LLP’s practice is led nationally by Bristol-based Steve Eccles. Its team specialises in acting for public sector organisations in fields such as health, local government and social housing. Areas of expertise include contentious matters involving telecoms masts, commercial landlord and tenant disputes, development risk advice, housing litigation and dilapidations disputes.
Mark Calverley; Steven Eccles
University of Oxford
Canal & River Trust
Birmingham City Council
Barts Health NHS Trust
NHS Property Services Ltd
Places for People
Bath & North East Somerset Council
Birmingham City Council
London Borough of Hounslow
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
London Borough of Brent
- Representing Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council in a High Court case concerning the interpretation and the enforcement of tree preservation orders.
- Assisting Stratford-on-Avon District Council with enforcement action to secure possession of leisure and civic amenity site following mortgage default.
- Assisting Places for People with enfranchisement litigation to acquire freehold of terrace of properties in West London.
- Advising Rentokil Initial on property litigation across the client’s entire property portfolio.
- Advising Yorkshire Housing on title issues associated with proposed redevelopment of high value site.
Clarke Willmott LLP handles the gamut of property litigation work for clients in sectors such as property investment, social housing, retail, telecoms, and utilities. Taunton-based Nicola Seager has experience of a wide range of issues, including dilapidations, service charges, forfeiture and lease renewals, among others.
Chris Taylor; Simon Freeman
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has highly capable lawyers who are experts within their field‘
‘A great combination of City-quality of legal advice given at regional prices‘
‘Everyone on the team is brilliant and focuses on the needs of the clients‘
‘Nicola Seager delivers results in a simple, pragmatic and totally efficient manner‘
Lidl UK GmbH
The Ashtenne Industrial Fund
Bath and North East Somerset Council
Celestia Management Company
- Acted for Orvis in a dispute over a fire escape and repairs to river banks, among other matters.
- Represented Lidl UK in successfully defeating an appeal in the case of Generator Developments Limited v Lidl UK GmbH at the Court of Appeal.
- Acted for Principality Holdings in a £1m negligence claim against Temple Bright.
- Acted for the successful landowner in the widely reported case of PG Lewins Ltd v H3G UK Ltd, in which it was held that the Electronic Communications Code does not provide a telecoms operator with immunity from suit, where the operator has failed to comply with its contractual obligations.
- Successfully represented DPSK Limited (franchisee of Domino’s Pizza) in bringing a claim, challenging the grant of a planning permission for change of use to pizza outlet for premises at Castle Donington.
At Foot Anstey, the property litigation team assists clients with high-value disputes at all levels of the court system. The team is strong in multiple sectors including banking and financial services, media and technology infrastructure and construction. It has also increased its market presence in the retail and public sectors. ‘Superstar lawyer’ Patrick Wetherall joined from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in 2018. In a more recent development, Richard Bagwell moved to Stephens Scown LLP. Daniel Cuthbert and senior associate Nicola Purcell are highly recommended.
‘This is the most efficient, accessible and reliable team in the region‘
‘Daniel Cuthbert has a great commercial mind and is a great property litigator‘
‘Daniel Cuthbert is quite prepared to roll his sleeves up and fight on behalf of his clients‘
‘Patrick Wetherall is personable and calm‘
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Heart of England Forest
National Farmers’ Union
- Advising Ashfield Provincial Properties on a claim brought against the client under a collaboration agreement concerning £14m-worth development land.
- Acting for The Mayor and Burgess of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on a potential infringement of the rights to light over various residential properties owned by the clients in Whitechapel.
- Advising Ashfield Land on a dispute with a national housebuilder relating to the market value of strategic development land.
- Advising Geothermal Engineering on contentious issues regarding the first deep geothermal power plant in the UK.
- Advising West Midlands Combined Authority as a tenant on a claim challenging the validity of a break clause allowing the landlord to terminate the lease in the event of demolition or redevelopment of the premises.
TLT covers a wide scope of contentious matters, such as landlord and tenant disputes, rent reviews and lease renewals, and disputes concerning contractual obligations. The team’s client base includes commercial landlords and tenants, property developers, investors, financial institutions and insolvency practitioners. It also generates work from public sector clients. Mark Routley’s practice focuses on issues arising in the retail, leisure, telecoms and financial sectors.
‘Exceptional local reputation’
‘A strong property litigation team’
‘The team provides timely responses’
‘Very good cross-department cooperation, particularly between the teams dealing with property transactions and property litigation’
‘Mark Routley is very attentive when it comes to his clients’ needs’
‘Alex Payne is able to give a legal and commercial view in accord with client needs.’
‘Danielle Ferguson is very detailed orientated while retaining an overall appreciation of the case. Both challenging and supportive to the client.’
London Borough of Lambeth
Metropolitan Police Service
Covent Garden Market Authority
City of London Corporation
- Acting for the Covent Garden Market Authority in High Court proceedings initiated by its tenants in relation to an alleged interference with their rights under leases, resulting from the redevelopment of the market.
- Acted for Greene King on a judicial review of a decision taken by the regulator concerning the application of the Pubs Code Regulations.
- Advised Beiersdorf on the settlement of a terminal dilapidations claim.
- Defending Westerleigh Group against an alleged nuisance claim.
- Provided Southern Housing with strategic advice on a complex antisocial behaviour case against a vulnerable adult.
DAC Beachcroft LLP has a particular strength in handling contentious property issues in the retail sector. Notable clients include large shopping centres, corporate occupiers and landowners. Practice head Nick Knapman has extensive experience of contentious matters, such as rent reviews, service charge issues, and dilapidations claims, among others.
‘The team has wide-ranging skills and knowledge of property litigation‘
‘The team is always highly efficient and responds to queries quickly, regardless of the time at which the notice comes‘
Davitt Jones Bould's exclusive focus on real estate law makes it a first port of call for many clients on their most complex contentious property issues, including dilapidations claims and rent reviews. The team is led by name partner Madeleine Davitt, and includes the ‘superb’ Maeve Bonner, who has more than 23 years of property litigation experience. Associate director Janani Puvi is also recommended. Clients include local authorities, central government departments and landowners.
‘The team has a good understanding of its clients’ needs and always ensures that clients have access to the right resources at the right time’
‘Davitt Jones Bould provides a high level of service and care which is rare in the region’
‘Every team member has a significant amount of experience, which reassures clients that they are getting great advice and value’
‘Janani Puvi is a hard-working and excellent litigator’
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Education
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
The Royal Parks
Department of Health and Social Care
Office for National Statistics
Department for Work and Pensions
Public Health England
- Advising Defra on numerous property litigation matters. Recent work included assisting the client with securing several lease breaks at offices around the UK and defending the client against dilapidations claims.
Lester Aldridge LLP’s property litigation department is led by Kate Stewart, who has extensive expertise in a wide range of general real estate and landlord and tenant disputes. Stewart's experience includes possession claims, dilapidations, service charge disputes and enfranchisement matters. Stewart's team works closely with the wider real estate group to advise developer clients on contentious matters. In addition, it also provides support to the ports and marinas department, as well as the care team.
‘The team can provide litigation advice on a wide range of property disputes‘
‘Everyone on the team is always very focused on achieving the best commercial outcome for clients’
‘Kate Stewart is always available on the other side of the phone to handle any challenge that is directed her way‘
The McCarthy & Stone Group
- Acting for Marina Developments across a wide number of matters, including advice on contentious tenant management issues and forfeiture proceedings, among others.
- Advising Big Yellow on its property interests, including representation in matters concerning the removal of squatters from its site at King’s Cross.
Although Michelmores LLP has historically been known for acting for public sector clients in property-related disputes, it has significantly increased its market presence in the private sector, and now generates work from a growing number of developers, private landowners and corporate occupiers. Practice head Andrew Baines, who splits his time between Exeter and Bristol, has more than 22 years of property litigation experience. His expertise includes landlord and tenant disputes, and matters concerning property ownership and property rights.
‘The team is very client-focused and provides clients with good access to senior personnel‘
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime
University of Exeter
Saba Park Services
Mole Valley Farmers
Vistra Trust Corporation
- Represented a large food production company in a £4m dispute with its bank regarding a property financing agreement.
- Advising a NHS Trust in relation to a £2m dilapidations claim against the former private patient care provider of part of one of the Trust’s hospitals.
- Advising a national fashion brand retailer on a dispute with a shopping centre developer over the terms by which the retail client is obliged to take a lease of a new unit in the development.
- Advising Greenland Group on claims brought in relation to the terms for completion of sales of apartments at one of its London-based developments.
- Advising a national retail client on a rent review dispute, which concerns one of its premises in West Sussex.
Stephens Scown LLP
Stephens Scown LLP's team has wide-ranging sector expertise, which spans mining and minerals, waste, rural, leisure (including holiday and residential parks) and social housing. It has recently had an increase in leasehold enfranchisement matters and cases involving housing associations. Mark Richardson heads up the team, which was recently strengthened by the arrival of Richard Bagwell from Foot Anstey. Mike Davies, who is also recommended, is experienced in bringing and defending claims before the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), the County Court and High Court.
Other key lawyers:
Richard Bagwell; Michael Davies
‘The team is an absolute pleasure to deal with‘
‘Mark Richardson provides exemplary legal services‘
‘Michael Davies is a joy to work with – he gives great advice but in a practical and commercial way‘
St Austell Brewery
Charles Robertsons (Developments)
Hastoe Housing Association
- Advising on a dispute with a landlord following a flooding incident.
- Advising the claimant in litigation concerning a fencing easement.
Thrings LLP's property litigation team represents corporate occupiers and institutional landlords in commercial landlord and tenant disputes. Other areas of focus for the group include handling contentious property-related matters for retailers in the luxury retail sector, rural land disputes and property portfolio management. Warren Reid in Bristol, and Swindon-based Gemma Featonby and Michael Tatters, are recommended.
Warren Reid; Gemma Featonby; Michael Tatters
MAN Truck & Bus UK
St John’s Foundation Est. 1174
Countrywide Estate Agents
World Fuel Services
- Acting on behalf of a landlord, who opposed a national supermarket chain’s court application for a new tenancy on grounds concerning redevelopment.
- Advising an FTSE 250 company on contested lease renewal proceedings.
- Represented a high-net worth individual via their private pension scheme in a complex commercial lease renewal involving a large national retailer.
- Represented a private property trust on a complex leasehold enfranchisement matter.
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s team operates nationally and acts for a varied client base in a wide range of property-related disputes. It advises large landed estate clients on adverse interests in land, landlord and tenant matters and issues concerning possession of agricultural holdings. In the commercial property space, recent highlights included lease termination disputes and other disputes connected with property contracts. The group's other strengths are in the retail and the property management sectors, and also in representing private individuals in contentious property matters.
David Haines; Emma Humphreys
Europa Oil & Gas
Woodchester Valley Freehold
Hackney Joint Estate Charity
- Advised Europa Oil & Gas in respect of High Court trespass proceedings.
- Acted for the client on a boundary dispute with its neighbours.
- Assisted a client with the termination of a tenant’s commercial lease on the basis of the landlord’s redevelopment of the premises.
- Assisted Hackney Joint Estate Charity with the termination of a commercial lease and commencing a claim regarding the dilapidations of the property following lease expiry.
Coodes Solicitors fields two separate teams, which bring and defend property-related claims on behalf of commercial clients and private individuals. The firm's work covers areas such as adverse possession, boundary disputes, trespass, landlord and tenant, dilapidations, residential property, nuisance and negligence claims, among various others. Truro-based Peter Lamble specialises in disputes in the commercial property space, while Colin Hunter in St Austell is a key contact for private individuals.
Colin Hunter; Peter Lamble
Laceys Solicitors incorporating HLF
Laceys Solicitors incorporating HLF is active in the full spectrum of commercial and residential property disputes, and has developed a particularly strong reputation in handling contentious work involving blocks of flats, which is an area of specialism for its ‘excellent’ department head Mark Timberlake. The team also other types of matters, including forfeiture and arrears recovery claims, business tenancy renewals and cases involving breaches of leases. Elsewhere, other work includes freehold property disputes, and letting-related matters involving issues such as harassment and unlawful eviction.
‘Team members are extremely capable, hard-working and very professional’
‘Laceys Solicitors is good one-stop shop to get competent property advice’
‘Mark Timberlake’s knowledge is second to none’
‘Mark Timberlake is particularly helpful and efficient and always gives clear and concise advice’
‘Mark Timberlake always has an immediate grasp of even the most complex situation’
Admirals Walk 2000
- Represented the directors of a block of 121 flats in various disputes concerning service charges and in proceedings regarding the liability of shareholders.
- Successfully represented mobile home owners in the County Court, the First-tier Tribunal, and the Upper Tribunal in widely reported case.
- Represented the directors of a block of 39 flats in respect of application to the First-tier Tribunal for variation of leases to permit replacement of water and heating systems.
Pardoes Solicitors LLP
Pardoes Solicitors LLP’s property litigation practice benefits from receiving a significant amount of internal referral work from its expanding commercial property team; mandates include cases involving dilapidations, s.146 notices and forfeiture. The firm's residential property team is another key work stream, including on matters concerning adverse possession, boundary disputes and landlord and tenant disputes. Bhavani Hogarty heads up the property litigation practice, which also generates all types of contentious property matters in its own right.
‘Excellent client care, coupled with great energy devoted to the clients’ cause‘
‘Pardoes Solicitors is a strong regional practice, which has a significant depth of expertise‘
‘Excellent communication skills and the ability to give clients clear instructions make this team a standout‘
‘Bhavani Hogarty is always direct and provides thorough advice‘
‘Working with Bhavani Hogarty is always enjoyable‘
Multiple private individuals
- Assisted a developer client with a dispute over right of way and right to parking at a prime London location.
- Representing a private individual as the claimant in a professional negligence matter against conveyancing solicitors, who failed to advise on the implications of the applicable rent review provisions for the ground rent to the long leasehold.
- Represented a private individual as the claimant in a land dispute with neighbours.
The property litigation team at Steele Raymond LLP is knowledgeable about a full spectrum of contentious issues arising in relation to both commercial and residential property. Senior associate Hannah Dare, who leads the team, advises on disputes arising from the ownership, leasing and management of land. The team expanded its offering by hiring solicitor Lauren Hayes from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in 2018.
Other key lawyers:
‘Steele Raymond has a litigation practice which provides solid legal advice and works closely with its clients‘
‘All team members are very competent, professional and focused‘
‘Steele Raymond’s property team is second to none‘
‘Hannah Dare provides comprehensive and commercially strong advice‘
‘Hannah Dare has a steady hand in guiding clients through difficult processes‘
Bournemouth Churches Housing Association
Grange Mill Investments Limited
South Somerset District Council
- Representing a betting shop in landlord and tenant dispute over scaffolding.
Stone King LLP’s team has developed a niche specialism in the education sector, in which it acts for educational institutions in their capacity as landowners; contentious work involves removal of trespassers, nuisance claims, service charge disputes, and issues relating to land management and disputed rights of way. Other clients include charities, companies and high net worth individuals; the group's work for these clients includes possession claims, forfeiture relief, breaches of covenant and lease claims. Tony Pidgeon leads the team, which includes associate solicitor Simon Stone.
Other key lawyers:
Willans LLP is sought out for advice on contentious property issues by commercial landlords, national charities, limited companies, trusts and individuals. Its team undertakes a varied portfolio of contentious commercial leasehold work, and also handles cases concerning rights of way and boundary disputes and adverse possession. Department head Nick Cox has expertise in dilapidations, contested rent reviews, as well as the enforcement of leasehold covenants. Senior associate Nick Southwell is also recommended.
‘The team is helpful, capable and efficient‘
‘Nick Cox is approachable and knowledgeable‘
‘Nick Southwell is very competent‘
The Jockey Club Racecourses
Trustees of the Haie Estate
The Trustees of the Chandos and Dent’s Almshouses
e.surv Chartered Surveyors
Princess Alice Hospice
- Acting for The Jockey Club Racecourses in multiple actions against squatters at Cheltenham Racecourse.
- Instructed by Sue Ryder (a major national charity) on multiple matters, including contested lease renewal proceedings, dilapidations claims, and possession claims against residential tenants.
- Acting for a family from Worcestershire in a dispute concerning the enforceability of a £4.2m land promotion agreement.
- Acting for a company, as the tenant of a commercial property in Cheltenham, in relation to an ongoing dilapidations matter.
- Acted for Trustees of the Haie Estate as the claimant in proceedings at the High Court to recover possession of a property.