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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > West Midlands > Real estate > Property litigation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP ‘provides straightforward and clear advice and quickly assesses clients’ legal positions, often within constrained timescales’. Paul Moorcroft, who heads the firm’s national practice in this space from the Birmingham office, is ‘an affable solicitor who provides straightforward and clear real estate litigation advice’. He represents public bodies and private sector clients alike on matters including service charge disputes. Lisa Barge, who heads the West Midlands team specifically, is ‘a pleasure to work with, attentive and a great lateral thinker providing clear advice on complex real estate litigation disputes’; she acts for Waitrose on company guarantee matters, as well as handling other work concerning landlord and tenant issues, many of which involve agricultural elements. Solicitor advocate David Feist  is ‘sharp and to the point, always able to help assess legal issues at hand to quickly decide the best course of action’ – he advised National Grid Electricity Transmission on securing an injunction to gain access to farm land to inspect powerlines which trees were growing dangerously close to. Below partner level, senior associate Rob Holloway  represents Safestore in seeking to injunct a private road owner from interfering with a right to park outside Safestore’s Acton facility by maintaining segregated pedestrian walkways, and advises a Westfield-Hammerson joint venture regarding vacant possession to facilitate a redevelopment of the Whitgift Shopping Centre. Principal associate Arren Thornton advised United Utilities Water on a rating appeal of its entire network, securing a refund of £7m.

Pinsent Masons LLP ‘asks all the right questions and presents the advice in an understandable easy-to-read way’. Alicia Foo  provides ‘robust, sharp and straight advice, but is able to see the bigger picture and compromise when necessary’; she and senior associate Craig Downhill represent Arqiva in a range of litigation, including defending it against a vacant possession claim brought by an NHS trust, reinstating access to a broadcast tower which was blocked by a landlord, and various cases involving trespass by travellers. Downhill himself leads various mandates for Union Investments. Other clients include JD Wetherspoon (which the practice represents in lease renewal matters and break clause disputes), the University of Lincoln, and E.ON. The waste industry and rights to light matters are other strong suits.

Shoosmiths LLP’s team is ‘prompt, efficient, courteous and knowledgable’. National practice head Nick Shepherd  advised Student Castle on recovering possession of fifteen properties in order to redevelop a building into student accommodation, and continues to advise Tingdene Parks on an adverse possession claim regarding a strip of land connecting its caravan park to the foreshore. Paul Knight, who handles work concerning dilapidations claims and break notice disputes, heads the Birmingham property litigation team. The firm handles work regarding the real estate assets of insolvent companies: Kate McCall represented BDO as administrators of Seacourt Developments, seeking possession orders against the former directors of a company unlawfully occupying properties in Mayfair. Other clients include Central Midland Estates and Central England Co-operative, which Shepherd and Knight advise on dilapidations claims and lease renewals. Bukola Obadun-Craigs, whose practice crosses over with social housing, is a key senior associate.

Browne Jacobson LLP  handles a range of work this space, with a particular strength in dilapidations claims. Tim Rayner defended the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in a Technology and Construction Court case, succeeding at trial because the landlord failed to beat a Part 36 offer. He also represented EIRP, the landlord, concerning the termination of a lease against the backdrop of an alleged £1.2m of dilapidations. Pamela Shepherd  acts for retailers such as Walgreen Boots Alliance and institutional real estate investors. Other clients include Birmingham Properties Group, which Rayner advised on recovering a parade of shops in order to redevelop the site.

Gowling WLG's  Carole Peet continues to represent Persimmon Homes in litigation against Ashfield Provincial Properties concerning a failed joint venture to develop strategic land outside Bristol, and also acted for Crossrail in a settle claim brought by AG Thames Holdings for alleged negligent misstatement concerning land that could be affected by future upgrades to the eponymous railway. Other clients include Metropolitan Housing Trust, Bloor Homes, and CFNX, which owns the Custard Factory. Rob Bridgman is a key senior associate. Paul Kent has retired.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP 'provides excellent support, and is proactive, very responsive and understanding of clients’ economic needs’. Martin Edwards advises Workspace on terminating telecoms base station leases in order to redevelop a central London site for residential uses, and continues to handle all of Vision Express’ landlord and tenant disputes such as lease renewals and break notices. Mark English also handles heavyweight work. Associate partner James Fownes is ‘very service-oriented and looks for the best legal and pragmatic solutions’: he represented Farmfoods in a lease renewal case, in which the landlord reneged on an agreement for a ten year lease and insisted on rolling one-year terms. The firm also acts for Statera Energy.

Squire Patton Boggs, in addition to being ‘friendly and pleasant to deal with’, ‘shows great commercial understanding of the issues faced by its clients, who feel confident that the firm can progress matters autonomously’. Nick Green and senior associate Michelle Adams  (who ‘provides a great service to clients’) handle all issues concerning ITV and its subsidiaries’ property portfolios across England and Wales, including nuisance claims, dilapidations cases as both landlord and tenant, and covenant matters. In addition, the two represent Signet Group in a range of real estate litigation including contested lease renewals, dilapidation claims and covenant enforcement. Adams also represents Cancer Research UK. Other clients include sports teams, real estate investors, retailers, and the National Exhibition Centre, which the firm advised on the ejection of trespassers from the Genting Arena’s south car park.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP provides ‘friendly and efficient’ to a client base which includes a number of public sector heavyweights. Hilary Harrison advises Birmingham City Council on litigation concerning lease renewals and service charges for refrigerated counters in Birmingham Market prior to its redevelopment. Associate Cynyr Rhys is ‘helpful, attentive, and a source of practical advice’ – he advised The Peacocks Centre on a contested lease renewal. Other clients include the Birmingham Roman Catholic Diocesan Trustees.

Emms Gilmore Liberson has ‘a very good property team with a thorough knowledge of issues such as long leasehold rights, and provides excellent strategy in tackling the most difficult of cases’. Martyn Liberson represented cornerstone client Telereal Trillium in a dispute concerning the sale of a building used for religious purposes, and defended the same client in two dilapidations claims against its former landlords, one of which concerned a term of the lease rendered unenforceable by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927. Liberson also represented Craigard in a dilapidations claim brought against its tenant, McDonald’s. Associate director Helena Bannister  handles residential service charge disputes, while director Anna Albini handles heavyweight work for major public sector clients. Other clients include Corinthian and Burlington Estates.

Gateley Plc handles a range of work, with a particular strength in representing housebuilders. Legal director Iain Davies  handles seven-figure landlord and tenant disputes, while Peter Davies  handles disputes concerning construction and remedial works, as well as flood risk. Senior associate Phil Scully represented Bovis Homes, securing an injunction for the client to allow construction of a road to carry out works.

George Green LLP's workload covers possession claims, dilapidations litigation, boundary disputes and rights of way litigation. James Coles  represented Scrivens in a dilapidations dispute, arguing that a site would be redeveloped in to homes, rendering any dilapidation irrelevant. Coles' other highlights included represented Orton Group in a boundary and rights of way dispute. Other clients include West Bromwich Commercial, which the firm represents in various professional negligence claims against surveyors; and St Francis Group, which Coles represented in eviction proceedings against a large number of travellers encamped on one of its construction sites.

Higgs & Sons acts for a range of clients including occupiers, real estate investors and private individuals. Paul Barker  represents Bentley Designs, a new client, on litigation concerning a dilapidations claim and a conditional break clause it triggered as part of a move of its headquarters. He also advised Heritage Homes Associates on dealing with threats of injunctions over construction of a house over a purported right of way. Nyree Applegarth  represented Waynes Foods in a dispute against a landlord which withheld re-assignment of a lease, with quantum issues regarding the redundancy costs triggered by the closure of the store. Other clients include London and Cambridge Properties, for which the firm handles a range of litigation concerning lease renewals, service charges and other asset management issues.

At Stoke on Trent’s Beswicks Legal, Gareth Wilkinson , Karen Elder  and Stephen Taylor handle work such as boundary disputes, nuisance claims, misrepresentation of sales and trespass. Trusts of Land Appointment of Trustees Act cohabitation claims are another area of expertise.

Bevan Brittan LLP  ‘has good knowledge on complex areas of law’. Steven Eccles is ‘particularly helpful in property litigation regarding leases and service charges’ – he advised East Hampshire District Council on terminating a hotel lease after a number of health and safety failings, securing possession via court proceedings, and assisted the Canal & River Trust on recovering possession from commercial occupiers in order to covert the site in to residential properties. Mark Robertson , a new partner promotion, advises Rentokil Initial on a range of work. Other clients include Wycombe District Council, Places for People Homes, which Eccles represented in a dispute regarding if, as leaseholder, it was entitled to use the Leasehold Reform Act to acquire the freehold interest, and NHS Property Services, which the team represents in a panoply of cases.

At DWF in Birmingham, Michael Green has a track record of various commercial property management work. Nerissa Hatcher is a key associate.

Lodders Solicitors LLP in Stratford-upon-Avon handles a range of work concerning issues such as ground rent disputes, proprietary estoppel claims, contested rent reviews, option agreement litigation and rights of way. Jane Senior  is the key partner leading work, with senior associate Victoria Khandker , who joined in July 2017 from The Wilkes Partnership, also a key contact; she represented Stockfalcon Properties in a dispute as to the existence of a contact to sell a property to its tenant. Consultant Michael Orlik  handles matters concerning rights of way.

mfg Solicitors LLP has ‘very impressive knowledge and understanding of clients’ situations’. Harjie Singh Bindra  in Bromsgrove ‘is a very sincere and knowledgable person’ – he represented the defendant in Lea v Ward, a High Court case concerning the interpretation of a right of way over land as spelt out in a deed of gift. His other work concerns telecoms, alleged fraudulent transfers, among other matters. In Worcester, Kirsten Bridgewater  handles a number of cases concerning easements and land title, many of which with agricultural elements.

Mills & Reeve LLP  has ‘a breadth of knowledge to fit most scenarios – all in all, it is a very knowledgable team’. Principal associate Christopher Bartley advised LTE Group (which operates The Manchester College) on securing the removal of telecoms masts so it can redevelop its campus. Other work concerns sale and purchase disputes (an area in which senior associate Henry Mahalski  leads work) and dilapidations claims.

At Sydney Mitchell LLP, associate Sundeep Bilkhu handles a range of commercial property disputes, frequently acting for landlords. Highlights include representation of a landlord in a dispute over the unauthorised removal of a stud wall, which was initially thought to have caused £30,000 of damage but triggered a subsequent order from the local authority to demolish and replace the buildings. Other work concerns boundary restrictive covenant disputes and Party Wall Act matters. In Shirley, Kam Majevadia handles trespass to land matters concerning residential developments, including Court of Appeal cases.

Wright Hassall LLP in Leamington Spa handles a range of work concerning both residential and commercial property, acting for businesses, land owners and some residential clients. Dawn Reynolds  represented JCDecaux in litigation to remove a squatter, who claimed adverse possession, from one of its sites. Her other work concerns commercial lease disputes, trespass cases and dilapidations claims. Senior associate Tom Romecin  handles litigation concerning ground rents.

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