Property litigation in Wales

Berry Smith

Berry Smith's seven-strong team 'delivers very competent, considered and responsive advice' to developers, landowners and financial institutions across a range of landlord and tenant disputes and contentious matters regarding rights of land. Team head Simon Care  has an 'excellent knowledge of dilapidations claims and defences' and is also regularly instructed by private individuals on rights of way disputes. Iwan Doull  is the other partner in the team and as well as his excellent track record for public sector clients across a range of property disputes, also excels at handling property-related professional negligence litigation.

Practice head(s):

Simon Care

Other key lawyers:

Iwan Doull; Jane Rees; Harry Moyle

Testimonials

The team delivers very competent, considered and responsive advice.

Simon Care has an excellent knowledge of dilapidations claims and defences.

Key clients

Welsh Government

ARAG Plc

Brian Beynon

Denbighshire County Council

VONE Developments LLP

Julian Hodge Bank Limited

Jacques de Wit

Gerald & Julia Jones

Sara & Sian Williams

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented the owners of a smallholding in Gloucestershire, on a rights of way dispute with their neighbours.
  • Defending the Welsh government in a claim brought by the owner of adjoining land that the Welsh government development work had caused flooding.
  • Represented Denbighshire County Council, the owner of Bodelwyddan Castle (a substantial Grade II listed property set in a 260-acre estate) in a claim brought  against a charitable trust, which was letting part of the castle, for alleged breaches of covenants.

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP's five-strong team is well-versed at advising landowners, tenants, developers and property companies across the spectrum of disputes, including on the enforcement of covenants, lease renewal proceedings, dilapidation claims and adverse possession matters. The team has strong visibility for its work in the public sector, and has recently defended the central government in numerous compulsory purchase order claims brought in relation to a new road scheme. Team head Sian Jones' diverse workload includes portfolio management for several large property companies (including contentious advice regarding break notices and the forfeiture of leases), social housing-related disputes and advice in relation to development overage litigation.

Practice head(s):

Siân Jones

Other key lawyers:

Adam Carbis; David George

Testimonials

‘Their attention and understanding of clients needs, their attention to detail and client focus.’

‘A good quality team, well lead and well supported.’

 

Key clients

Welsh Government

Canary Wharf Group

RPS Group

NHS England

Milford Haven Port Authority

Cardiff University

Cardiff Council

Swansea County Council

Eagle One Group

Royal National Institute for the Blind

Work highlights

  • Handling portfolio management for Canary Wharf Group, including CVA advice, forfeitures, telecommunications code and break notices.
  • Handling portfolio management for RNIB relating to its operational and residential estates, including claims for possession with complex issues on equality and reasonableness challenges.
  • Representing the Welsh government in claims arising from road schemes including CPO claims.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Led by Kathryn CookEversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's seven-strong team provides 'direct and effective advice' across a range of strategic risk management and contentious matters, for corporates, developers and public sector entities. As well as cultivating its own work, the team also forms a vital part of the firm's UK-wide offering servicing the strategic needs of institutional infrastructure and transport clients (including Thames Water Utilities and The Forestry Commission) in relation to their extensive property portfolios. The team also excels at handling property-related matters in the financial services space, including for SIPP providers.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Cook

Testimonials

The highly knowledge and experienced team provides pragmatic solutions.

The firm provides concise, direct and effective legal advice.

Key clients

Legal & General

Annington Property Limited

Thames Water Utilities Ltd

Highways England

RWE Generation UK

Associated British Ports

Transport for London

Cuadrilla Bowland Limited

Forestry Commission

HMV Retail Limited

Namulas Pension Trustees Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting as sole legal advisor to Thames Water Utilities Limited across its diverse portfolio dealing with all contentious property and property management issues including advising at a strategic level in relation to operations and dealing with all litigation arbitration and regulatory issues arising.
  • Represented Industrial Property Investment Fund Limited (a Legal & General managed fund) to act across the fund’s portfolio on contentious real estate matters.
  • Continuing to act as sole legal advisors to the Forestry Commission involving both business as usual and also strategic operation matters across its diverse portfolio.

Geldards LLP

Led by the 'very sensibleEd MeggittGeldards LLP's two-partner team has 'great depth and strength in all aspects of property litigation', encompassing matters relating to easements, restrictive covenants, and landlord and tenant issues. As well as handling ad-hoc property disputes for existing and standalone clients of the firm, the team also handles a considerable amount of portfolio management work, including on behalf of several large national retailers. The team has also developed niche expertise advising utility companies on property-related issues, and is particularly strong advising on issues arising in the water industry, including the protection of assets and infrastructure either using common law remedies or under the Water Industry Act 1991. Praised for her 'empathetic approach', Nicola Lawrence has an 'excellent grasp of the law and practice of real estate litigation' and has recently handled some important cases on rights of way and licences to occupy land.      

Practice head(s):

Ed Meggitt

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Lawrence

Testimonials

The team has great depth and strength in all aspects of litigation, particularly in the procedure and practice of the courts.

Ed Meggitt is very sensible.

Nicola Lawrence has an excellent grasp of the law and practice of real estate litigation. She is empathetic in her handling of clients, while also being a doughty fighter on their behalf.

Nicola Lawrence understands the broad-brush, commercial pillars of a case, aligning the legal arguments and focusing on the specific details

Key clients

Boots UK Limited

Peacocks Stores Limited / Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group

SA Brain & Co Ltd

Royal Voluntary Service

Principality Building Society

T. Land Limited

Christian Life Ministries

The Welsh Ministers / Welsh Government

St Modwen Developments Ltd / Coed D’Arcy Ltd

Western Power Distribution

EUI Limited / Admiral Group Plc

Arcadis

Chrysalis Supported Association Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Woden Park Limited in a High Court claim concerning the interpretation of a rent review provision in a lease.
  • Advising Boots in connection with court proceedings for damages for dilapidations in a claim in excess of £600,000.
  • Acting for the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group/Peacocks Stores concerning a range of issues on their portfolio including lease renewal proceedings under the 1954 Act.

Hugh James

The 'rounded and well-resourced' two-partner team at Hugh James represents private and public sector entities across a range of pure disputes work (including as it relates to rights of way and landlord and tenant law), in addition to strategic land management matters. 'Very sensible and thoughtful' team head Robert  Phillips is pivotal to the firm's success in the area, as a result of his vast experience across core property litigation, including residential leasehold disputes, as well as in more niche areas, including the defence of landowners in relation to the growing area of contested mineral rights ownership. The 'extremely hardworkingJo 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; James Hastings

Testimonials

It is a rounded and well-resourced practice.

Robert Phillips is very sensible and thoughtful.

Robert Phillips and James Hastings have provided excellent advice and support over the past 12 months on a particularly niche piece of property litigation. Their approachable style and detailed understanding of key issues and strategy has proved invaluable to date.

Jo Brown consistently goes above and beyond to deliver in excess of expectations. She is extremely hardworking, and is always prompt and concise in her communication.

Key clients

Natural Resources Wales

Welsh Government

Witham Town Council

AP Wireless II (UK) Limited

Trustees of the Hean Castle Estate

Cardiff YMCA

Stonewater Limited

Isle of Anglesey Council

Talbot Green Developments Ltd

Walters Group

Work highlights

  • Defending the Welsh Government and Talbot Green Developments against objections (through an application for the land to be registered as a Town and Village Green) brought in relation to the proposals for the development of 460 residential dwellings on land allocated for residential development at Miskin.
  • Defending Natural Resources Wales against claims relating to the ownership of mineral rights over large areas of forestry land in mid-Wales, involving questions of ancient land law dating back to the Norman Conquest and differing types of land tenure.
  • Representing Witham Town Council in a judicial review regarding its granting of permission for the construction of 78 dwellings on a parcel of land known as Gimsons.

Acuity Law

Despite the departure in March 2020 of former team head Clare Tregoning    to Llanelli-based firm Gomer Williams & CoAcuity Law remains a presence in the market, chiefly as a result of its recruitment in May 2019 of the 'wonderfulNeil Morgan  from Darwin Gray LLP. Although he handles a fairly broad spread of property litigation matters, Morgan's true strength lies in relation to social housing-related disputes, and his arrival has led to an influx of work from a number of major housing associations. Hugh Hitchcock heads up the firm's overarching dispute resolution group.    

Practice head(s):

Hugh Hitchcock

Other key lawyers:

Joy Barnett; Neil Morgan

Testimonials

The firm really understands the social housing sector, our needs, our requirements and it tailors its advice accordingly.

The fantastic Neil Morgan is really knowledgeable on his subject area and nothing is too much trouble. He is always contactable and able to put forward the information and advise so it is easily understood.

The wonderful Neil Morgan is in a league of his own.

Key clients

Unity Marketing Limited

Meridian Quay Limited

William Savage and Linda Savage

Barbican Triad Limited

PMG Development Limited

Desklodge Limited

Annette Nicholson

B.T.S Haulage Limited

Newton (Porthcawl) Estates Limited

Portman Healthcare Limited

Wales & West Housing Assocation

Coastal Housing Grwp

Tai Ceredigion Cyf

Work highlights

  • Advised commercial developer PMG Development Limited on a breach of a pre-emption agreement by a national housebuilder.
  • Advised the freeholder of the highest apartment building in South Wales on its claims for return of insurance certified by a national insurer
  • Represented two private individuals in a long standing boundary dispute including applications for interim injunctive relief and committal applications for breach.

Capital Law Limited

At Capital Law LimitedStephen Meade is a 'very experienced and skilful litigator', and regularly handles property disputes as part of his broad-ranging litigation practice. Meade regularly handles work for BMA members on property-related matters, including his ongoing representation for it and five test claimant GP practices, in a High Court claim against NHS Property Services Ltd challenging the basis of the calculation of their service charges.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Meade

Testimonials

Stephen Meade is a very experienced and skilful litigator.

Justin Mason is very experienced and knowledgeable.

Key clients

British Medical Association

Valleys to Coast Housing

Associated British Ports

Welsh Language Commissioner

Memoria Ltd

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Bridgend College

The Gambling Commission

Howard Tenens Group

Newydd Housing Association

BMA Law

Work highlights

  • Advises BMA members, which are GPs and GP partnerships on their complex property related disputes.
  • Advising logistics company, Howard Tenens, on its options as a landlord resulting from its tenant going into administration.
  • Representing the British Medical Association, and five test claimant GP practices in their High Court claim against NHS Property Services Ltd challenging the basis of the calculation of their service charges.

Darwin Gray LLP

At Darwin Gray LLP, commercial litigation head Rhodri Lewis regularly handles property litigation matters, including commercial landlord and tenant work, and dilapidations claims.

Practice head(s):

Rhodri Lewis

Dolmans

At DolmansPhilip Bradley  has built up a solid reputation for his competence across a range of contentious matters, including as it relates to boundary disputes and claims involving trespass and damage to property. Leveraging the firm's strong public sector relationships, the team has has also developed a niche advising local authorities responding to public nuisance claims arising from issues such as flooding, light pollution and Japanese Knotweed infestation.  

Practice head(s):

Philip Bradley

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

Douglas-Jones Mercer

Led by the 'excellentRussell Price, Swansea-based firm Douglas-Jones Mercer has a 'strong reputation' in the local market and beyond, across a wide range of property litigation, including boundary disputes, dilapidations, break notices and rights of way claims. Although Price receives some private sector instructions, he has developed particularly strong relationships within the public and quasi-public sectors, and regularly handles work for local authorities, health sector entities and housing associations.

Practice head(s):

Russell Price

Testimonials

The team has a strong reputation.

The excellent Russell Price is very reliable and good with clients.

Key clients

Welsh Government

Pembrokeshire County Council

Coastal Housing Group

Four Counties (Holdings) Ltd

JRT Holdings Ltd

Longford Investments (No.1) Ltd

Players Industrial Estate LLP

Knightsbridge Property Development Corporation (UK) Ltd

Estateways Plc

Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

Pobl Group (including Gwalia Housing Association)

Sanlam Life & Pensions UK Limited

Public Health Wales NHS Trust

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

Estateways Plc

JLT Group Plc

Toast Mail Order Limited

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Jehu Project Services Limited

John Weaver (Contractors) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Longford Investments on a £2m commercial dilapidations claim against a local authority.
  • Represented Pobl Group on a dispute with Vodafone regarding vacation of a £2m+ development site.
  • Advised Action for Children in relation to a number of applications to discharge restrictive covenants to facilitate the opening of homes for children.

JCP Solicitors

JCP Solicitors provides a 'professional and client-centric service' to south Wales-based commercial clients across a wide array of disputes, including rent recovery, business tenancy renewals and dilapidations. The team is also noted for its expertise in relation to residential property litigation, and regularly advises on service charge disputes and lease enfranchisement matters. 'Personable and friendly' team head Sarah Davies has been pivotal to the firm's growth in the area and is noted for her 'keen commercial eye in relation to litigation management'. Associate Jonathan Flynn 'appears to be an up-and-coming star of the firm' and is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Davies

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Flynn

Testimonials

The team provides a professional and client-centric service.

Sarah Davies is a good leader who has a conciliatory approach to litigation, but can also be firm and decisive when she needs to be.

Sarah Davies has a personable and friendly approach but with a keen commercial eye in relation to litigation management.

Jonathan Flynn appears to be an up-and-coming star in the firm; he is very organised and looks to have a bright future ahead of him.

Jonathan Flynn provides excellent value for money, has a great working knowledge of the area that he practices in and provides plain and clear advice to his clients.

 

Morgan LaRoche

Spearheaded by the 'very helpful' Jason Williams , from within the firm's wider commercial litigation group, Morgan LaRoche has a strong following among local businesses, private individuals and public/quasi public sector entities across a range of property disputes. Williams has developed a particularly strong reputation in relation to landlord and tenant disputes, including his involvement in a high-profile Supreme Court case regarding the interpretation of service charge clauses.

Practice head(s):

Jason Williams

Testimonials

The team is enthusiastic, friendly and responsive to clients’ needs.

Jason Williams is very helpful and friendly, and has a good manner with clients.