Property litigation in Wales

Berry Smith

The 'responsive, authoritative and professional' team at Berry Smith provides 'effective and timely' advice to public and private sector clients across a diverse range of property disputes, including as it relates to adverse possession, rights of way, dilapidations and nuisance. Team head Simon Care  is 'knowledgeable and diligent in his thought process', enabling him to provide 'cost-effective solutions for even the most complex matters'including professional negligence-related property disputes, as well as core property litigation involving rights of way. Appreciated for his 'professionalism and approachable nature', former team head Iwan Doull  continues to be very active in the space, including for local authorities and central government on disputes arising out of CPOs.

Practice head(s):

Simon Care

Other key lawyers:

Iwan Doull; Jane Rees; Harry Moyle

Testimonials

‘The team is very professional and efficient.’

‘The practice does the simple things very well. I have found them responsive, authoritative, and professional.’

‘The team always manages to get to the heart of the issues quickly, providing cost-effective solutions for even the most complex matters.’

‘Simon Care deserves particular mention. Ever-courteous and prompt in responses, I have found his advice authoritative, altogether reassuring and I trust in him completely.’

‘Simon Care is not only knowledgeable but diligent in his thought process, leaving no stone unturned. When facing difficult situations, Simon is always robust in his approach giving you confidence you’re in safe hands.’

‘Working along side Iwan Doull was an utter pleasure and easy process. His professionalism and approachable nature made the case that much easier. He was available to answer all of our queries, even the most minor.’

‘Jane Rees is patient, helpful and efficient.’

Key clients

Welsh Government

ARAG Plc

BBI Group

Misha Manson-Smith

Denbighshire County Council

Hodge Bank

VONE Developments LLP

Johnsey Estates (UK) Limited

Storage Giant Limited

Simon Olswang

Lorax Limited

Work highlights

  • Defending the Welsh Government against two separate claims brought by the landlord and tenant of adjoining land which they claim was flooded because of major development works undertaken on the land owned by the Welsh Government.
  • Representing Misha Manson-Smith, a BAFTA-nominated film and television director, in a High Court action brought against the freeholder of the building he lives in, alleging breach of quiet enjoyment, nuisance, and harassment.
  • Defending Denbighshire County Council against a £1.2m claim for compensation arising out of the compulsory purchase of a substantial, but long-derelict property in North Wales.

Blake Morgan LLP

Led by the 'excellentSian JonesBlake Morgan LLP's team provides a 'highly efficient, engaging and knowledgeable' service to landowners, tenants, developers and property companies across a wide range of disputes, including on the enforcement of covenants, lease renewal proceedings, dilapidation claims and adverse possession matters. Public sector instructions, however, remain a core driver of the practice, including work for the Welsh Government in the defence of CPO claims, from local authorities on lease renewal disputes, and from housing associations across a range of matters, including disrepair claims and anti-social behaviour breaches.

Practice head(s):

Siân Jones

Other key lawyers:

Adam Carbis; Tanya Barrett

Testimonials

‘The team is highly efficient, engaging and knowledgeable.’

‘Sian Jones and Adam Carbis are both excellent at their jobs. Their ease with clients and clear explanation of facts is invaluable.’

Key clients

Welsh Government

Canary Wharf Group

RPS Group

Swansea University

Milford Haven Port Authority

Cardiff University

Wales & West Utilities Limited

Swansea County Council

PHS Group

Royal National Institute for the Blind

Work highlights

  • Advising Canary Wharf Group, on its retail portfolio management including challenges to CVAs, rent recovery; implications of regulations introduced as a result of the pandemic.
  • Advising a landlord council in opposing the grant of a new lease of a significant local business and subsequent forfeiture of the lease to enable the council to deal with the health and safety issues and keep the site operational.
  • Acted for a housing association landlord in successfully contesting a Section 20 challenge to the recovery of roof replacement costs through the service charge for two blocks of flats.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Forming a key part of the firm's overarching national offering, as well as being a compelling proposition in its own right, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's six-strong Cardiff-based team excels in handling a range of strategic risk management and contentious matters, for corporates, developers and public sector entities, which often own extensive property portfolios. Team head Kathryn Cook has an excellent track record across a range of property disputes, including as it relates to tenant default and dilapidations issues, work which she very effectively handles for major retail clients, financial services/pension providers and transport and infrastructure clients.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Cook

Key clients

Legal and General

Annington Property Limited

Thames Water Utilities Limited

Highways England

RWE Generation UK

Associated British Ports

Transport for London

HMV Retail Limited

Namulas Pension Trustees Limited

Telereal Trillium

SEGRO Plc

Wales and West Utilities Limited

Work highlights

  • Continuing to represent Industrial Property Investment Fund Limited across a range of property disputes, including tenant default and dilapidations issues, associated with the fund’s extensive portfolio of industrial units.
  • Acting as sole legal adviser to Thames Water Utilities Limited across its diverse portfolio, dealing with all contentious property and property management issues and property litigation.
  • Acting for HMV (through its new owners) across its portfolio of retail properties dealing with all contentious property and property management issues including strategic advice in terms of its portfolio in the Covid pandemic.

Geldards LLP

Adopting 'sensible approaches to resolution' but unafraid to be 'firm and forthright where necessary', Geldards LLP's team provides 'commercial advice' to a varied mix of public and private sector clients, including numerous major retail clients with sizeable property portfolios. Team head Ed Meggitt is 'very pleasant to deal with' and has developed niche expertise advising water utility companies on the protection of assets/infrastructure either through common law remedies or under the Water Industry Act 1991. Nicola Lawrence is the other partner in the group and provides a 'very reassuring experience' to clients on commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, as well as rights of way and nuisance claims.

Practice head(s):

Ed Meggitt

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Lawrence; Llinos Davies; Laura Alliss

Testimonials

‘The team has dealt efficiently and diligently with any legal work I have required.’

‘It is an excellent property litigation team, both in terms of its understanding of the issues and in the commerciality of its approach.’

‘Continuity of service provided throughout a long and drawn out case. Excellent use of experts to provide technical input which the team took time to understand. Aware of risk and rather than be completely risk adverse they provided commercial advice in lieu of all factors affecting the case.’

‘Ed Meggitt provides an efficient management of difficult cases and is pleasant to work with.’

‘Pragmatic and adoption of sensible approaches to resolution but firm and forthright where necessary. Ed Meggitt and Nicola Lawrence have stood out as key adopters of this mantra.’

‘Laura Alliss is a very competent and resourceful layer with a great scope of knowledge in all matters relating to her field of expertise.’

Key clients

Boots UK Limited / Boots Opticians

Western Power Distribution PLC

National Procurement Service

EUI / Admiral Group plc

Dwr Cymru / Welsh Water

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group / Peacocks Stores Limited

S.A. Brain & Co Ltd

Knightsbridge Property Development Corporation (UK) Limited

Woden Park Limited

Work highlights

  • Continuing to advise Boots UK on a variety of matters (including dilapidations disputes) arising from their extensive property portfolio.
  • Representing Woden Park Limited on a high-profiile case which has very significant ramifications for the interpretation of rent review clauses.
  • Instructed in relation to a number of both opposed and unopposed lease renewal matters and dilapidations matters in relation to premises occupied by Peacocks/Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Hugh James

The 'very hardworking and knowledgeable' team at Hugh James represents private and public sector entities across a myriad pure disputes work (including as it relates to rights of way, landlord and tenant and planning law), in addition to strategic land management matters. A significant volume of litigation is generated from the firm's developer side relationships, both for private sector housebuilders, as well as for social housing clients, an area that 'friendly and approachable' team head Robert  Phillips excels. In addition to his conventional property litigation workload, Phillips has also developed niche expertise defending landowners, including Natural Resources Wales, in the growing area of contested mineral rights ownership. Jo Brown is the other partner in the team, and has particular experience advising telecoms and hospitality clients on property disputes.

Practice head(s):

Robert Phillips

Other key lawyers:

Jo Brown

Testimonials

‘The team is very hardworking and knowledgeable.’

‘Robert Phillips is friendly and approachable and provides excellent case management.’

Key clients

Natural Resources Wales

Welsh Government

Bellway

AP Wireless II (UK) Limited

WRU

Pobl/Coastal Housing Association

Stonewater Limited

Isle of Anglesey Council

Talbot Green Developments Ltd

Brackley Investments Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising the Welsh Government on litigation involving the scope and extent of yielding up obligations in commercial leases which has developed the law in this important area.
  • Defending Natural Resources Wales against a claim to the ownership of mineral rights over large areas of forestry land in mid-Wales.
  • Representing Witham Town Council in judicial review proceedings challenging a decision made by Braintree District Council to grant planning permission on a site known as Gimsons which is protected as ‘Visually Important’.  

Acuity Law

Under the leadership of commercial litigator Hugh Hitchcock Acuity Law has vastly increased its commercial litigation credentials in recent years, work which had already thrown up a not inconsiderable volume of construction and real estate litigation. However, it was the 'outstanding' Neil Morgan's arrival in May 2019 from Darwin Gray LLP that was the real game-changer for the firm and has led to to a step change in quality and quantity of pure property litigation instructions. Most of Morgan's work continues to flow from the social housing sector, where he is appreciated for his willingness to provide  'practical advice on how to navigate difficult situations'. The team's ability to provide specialised property litigation advice was also recently enhanced by the arrival of senior associate Jennifer Butcher from Hugh James in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Hugh Hitchcock

Other key lawyers:

Neil Morgan; Jennifer Butcher

Testimonials

‘Acuity is a progressive firm with a laser focus on clients and a diverse, capable and engaging team culture. Refreshingly for a professional services firm, it has a friendly and approachable atmosphere whilst never compromising on quality.’

‘Acuity’s lawyers are friendly, approachable and expert; a rare combination. They are expert without being arrogant and are responsive to their clients needs. This doesn’t mean they shy away from providing robust counsel, even if that means they have to challenge a client’s view.’

‘Neil Morgan is outstanding. He is always available, wholly imperturbable and always willing to offer practical advice on how to navigate difficult situations.’

Key clients

Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance

Coastal Housing Group

Wales & West Housing

Barcud Group

Redwave Films(UK) Limited

Melin Homes

Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association Limited

Ateb Group

Lemon Pepper Holdings Limited

Unity Marketing

RIghtacres Property Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Coastal Housing on all of its real estate disputes involving land and residential and commercial premises.
  • Acting on behalf of the trustees of the charity, Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, in relation to a dispute concerning the performance of an option agreement to purchase the client’s freehold property.
  • Representing Melin Homes on the defence of their disrepair claims.

Capital Law Limited

Under the leadership of the 'impressive' Stephen MeadeCapital Law Limited has developed a reputation for being 'heavy-hitters' across a range of litigation, including a considerable and growing volume of work within the property sphere. A good deal of this work flows out of the healthcare sector, and the firm's role as one of the outsourced legal advisors to BMA Law has seen it involved in numerous property landlord and tenant disputes.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Meade

Other key lawyers:

Clare Good

Testimonials

‘Capital Law are heavy hitters when it comes to litigation. The instructions they get are impressive and high profile. They are exceptionally organised and communicative.’

‘Stephen Meade’s legal experience and knowledge is consistently impressive. He is always on top of the detail while keeping in mind the practical and tactical considerations, which will ultimately get the outcome the client wants.’

Clare Good is an exceptionally talented lawyer with experience and knowledge well beyond her junior years.’

Key clients

British Medical Association

Valleys to Coast Housing Ltd

Associated British Ports

Welsh Language Commissioner

Bron Afon Community Housing

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Bridgend College

The Gambling Commission

Dusty’s Pizza Company Limited

Howard Tenens Group

BMA Law

Newydd Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Represented Chainbridge Medical Partnership its referral to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regarding NHS England’s proposed abatement of its notional rent reimbursement.
  • Representing the BMA and five test claimant GP practices in their High Court claim against NHS Property Services Ltd challenging the basis of these demanded service charges.
  • Advising Newydd Housing Association on all disrepair claims they receive from tenants across their portfolio.

Dolmans

Led by Philip Bradley Dolmans' team is well-versed in pursuing and defending a range of property litigation, including cases involving trespass, boundary disputes and covenant breaches. Leveraging its deeply rooted public sector ties, the firm's sweet-spot, however, continues to lie in its representation of local authorities, including in the defence of public nuisance claims arising from issues such as flooding, light pollution and Japanese knotweed infestation.

Practice head(s):

Philip Bradley

Other key lawyers:

Simon Evans; Peter Bennett; David Boobier; Claire Thomas

Key clients

Bridgend County Borough council

Merthyr Tydfil CBC

Torfaen CBC

Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC

Powys County Council

Dorset Council

Somerset County Council

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Atlantic Recycling Ltd

Douglas-Jones Mercer

The 'approachable, thorough, knowledgeable and experienced' specialist property litigation team at Douglas-Jones Mercer is well-versed across the spectrum of contentious property matters, including as it relates to boundary disputes, dilapidations, break notices and rights of way claims. Recognised as an 'excellent property litigation solicitor', team head Russell Price  provides 'sound, sensible and practical advice', primarily to public/third sector clients (including health boards, local authorities and housing associations), which appreciate his willingness 'to offer his view on matters which are often subjective in nature'. 

Practice head(s):

Russell Price

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Thomas

Testimonials

‘Approachable, thorough, knowledgeable and experienced. Confident in their ability to manage the disrepair claims upon which we instruct them to act on our behalf.’

‘The team provides an excellent service and good sound legal advice.’

‘Russell Price is an excellent property litigation solicitor who provides sound, sensible and practical advice and is not afraid to offer his view on matters which are often subjective in nature.’

Key clients

Welsh Government

Public Health Wales NHS Trust

Pembrokeshire County Council

Coastal Housing Group

Four Counties (Holdings) Ltd

Longford Investments (No.1) Ltd

Players Industrial Estate LLP

Estateways PLC

Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

Pobl Group (including Gwalia Housing Association)

Sanlam Life & Pensions UK Limited

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Cardiff & Vale University Local Health Board

Carmarthenshire County Borough Council

Swansea Bay University Local Health Board

Personal Pension Trustees Limited (Division of JLT Group PLC)

Powys Teaching Health Board

Velindre NHS Trust

JLT Group PLC

Toast Mail Order Limited

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Jehu Project Services Limited

Isle of Anglesey County Council

Capital Valley Plastics Ltd

Picture House Management Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised NHS Wales Estates (on behalf of various NHS Trusts/Welsh Boards) on various strategic matters related to hospitals, field hospitals and vaccination centres throughout Wales – related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Advised Pobl Group on a dispute with Vodafone regarding vacation of a £2m+ development site.
  • Advised Picture House Management Limited in relation to a multimillion-pound claim concerning the defective conversion of a former cinema to an apartment block in Streatham, London.

JCP Solicitors

The 'effective, efficient and commercialSarah Davies leads a team at JCP Solicitors that has 'depth and experience at all levels of property disputes', enabling it to provide tailored and cost-effective advice to a range of primarily private sector clients (including developers, landlords and tenants) on local work, as well as on matters extending beyond the region. Davies provides a 'dogged determination to fight her client's cause' across a range of both commercial and residential property disputes, while her part time role as a Deputy District Judge enables her to impart 'practical insights to clients as to how cases are likely to approached in court'. 'Exceptional' associate Jonathan Flynn is also a key member of the team and is particularly noted for his growing expertise at handling residential property disputes.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Davies

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Flynn; Benjamin Davies

Testimonials

‘A strong team across the board with depth and experience at all levels of property disputes.’

‘The firm has an excellent varied team that covers all areas of the law. Their legal knowledge is of the highest standard, yet they maintain a very friendly and approachable style.’

‘Sarah Davies – careful and diligent in preparation, with a dogged determination to fight her clients’ cause. Commercially astute with a pragmatic lean.’

‘Sarah Davies is one of the most remarkable solicitors I have come across; she is effective, efficient, commercial, has an instant understanding of her clients. Nothing fazes her, she keeps her client on track, her insight and knowledge is second-to-none, she has a remarkable memory and goes the extra mile to achieve the desired outcome. ’

‘Sarah Davies is thoroughly knowledgeable and well known locally for her expertise in this field. Sarah’s experience sitting as a deputy district judge allows her to provide practical insights to clients as to how cases are likely to approached in court. 

‘Jonathan Flynn is enthusiastic and meticulous, with a keen eye on compliance and thorough on procedure.

Jonathan Flynn is an exceptional associate. His in-depth knowledge of the practice area for his level of seniority is impressive and he provides an excellent value service.’

Morgan LaRoche

The 'excellent and dynamic' team at Morgan LaRoche provides 'efficient and proactive advice' to local businesses, private individuals and public/quasi public sector entities across a range of property disputes. Praised for his 'business-minded approach'team head Jason Williams has 'significant experience in property litigation', and has been involved in numerous reported landlord and tenant cases (including a high-profile Supreme Court case regarding the interpretation of service charge clauses). 'Highly knowledgeable and easy to work with', Ashley Davies is also a key member of the team and since his arrival from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in January 2020 has hit the ground running, handling work for a varied array of existing and new clients, including businesses, property investors and private individuals.

Practice head(s):

Jason Williams

Other key lawyers:

Ashley Davies

Testimonials

‘An excellent and dynamic team with diverse experience in property litigation.’

‘The team is efficient and proactive. Their understanding and application of procedural rules is excellent, always ensuring their client’s position is protected and advanced in the strongest terms.’

‘Jason Williams leads the team with significant experience in property dispute litigation and acts with a business-minded and helpful approach.’

‘Jason Williams has a careful, analytic approach. The impression I have is that he is able to focus his client on the real issues, and obtain the clearest instructions.’

‘Ashley Davies has significant experience in property litigation and acts for a diverse range of clients. He is highly knowledgeable and very easy to work with.

Key clients

AMP Energy Services Limited

Ameco Properties Limited

Haywood Homes

Enzo’s Homes Limited

Swansea University

Hallmark Care Homes

Culina Ambient Limited

Ynys Ystrad Cyf

Innkeeper UK Limited

Welsh and English Property Partnership

Work highlights

  • Succesfully obtained and enforced an urgent injunction on behalf of a UK energy company in relation to trespass by a neighbouring landowner intended to delay client’s property development in the hope of extracting a ransom.
  • Defending a residential estate owner in a claim brought by 13 property owners for refunds of rent-charges levied over a number of years.
  • Advising a company operating in the restaurant and public house market in a prescriptive right to drain effluent into a watercourse against a local authority.

RDP Law

Led by 'diligent and helpfulRhys Evans , Newport-based firm RDP Law handles a range of property litigation, including landlord and tenant disputes, boundary disputes and adverse possession claims. A significant amount of property-related disputes are on behalf of the firm's loyal roster of farming/rural clients, including the Farmers Union of Wales.

Practice head(s):

Rhys Evans

Testimonials

Rhys Evans is diligent and helpful.’

Key clients

Farmers Union of Wales

Work highlights

  • Appointed as a legal partner to the Farmers Union of Wales, its agents across Wales as well as the Union’s membership as a provider of legal services covering all aspects of commercial, agricultural and property litigation services.