Property litigation in West Midlands
As one of the Midlands' pre-eminent practices, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP fields a highly respected team of litigators who represent leading landlords and commercial developers, retailers and banks in complex High Court cases and arbitration proceedings. The practice undertakes the full span of litigation including nuisance claims, dilapidations and development disputes, with a particularly strong focus on energy, utilities and agricultural work. Paul Moorcroft acts as head of the firm’s consumer sector group, and is accompanied by Lisa Barge and David Feist, who lead the international and Birmingham real estate disputes teams, respectfully. Principal associates Arren Thornton and Rob Holloway are also highly recommended.
Land Securities Plc
National Grid Plc
Mitchells & Butlers Plc
Severn Trent Plc
Taylor Wimpey Plc
- Acting for Government Property Unit in a strategically important opposed lease renewal of a £45m office building in St Phillips Square, Birmingham.
- Successfully acted for Liberty Wenlock Road in resolving a claim against its landlord relating to a significant property damaged by flooding.
- Appointed as sole adviser for Arcadis’ UK property portfolio and acting in a very significant dilapidation claim, including exit strategies and arguments regarding section 18 valuation, the lease renewal process and obtaining statutory compensation.
Gowling WLG has substantial experience representing residential developers, housebuilders and commercial occupiers in complex lease disputes, strategic land claims and high-value dilapidation claims. The group also bolstered its bench strength with the hire of former head of property litigation at Higgs & Sons, Paul Barker in early 2020; Barker brings his extensive experience in retail property disputes and anti-trespass and protester matters. Leading the Birmingham team, Carole Peet acts in dilapidation claims and disputes arising from break notices, lease renewals and rent reviews. Principal associate Rob Bridgman has an impressive housebuilder practice and 'consistently outperforms many a City partner with his development-related work'.
‘Gowling’s Birmingham office is the property litigation hub of the firm. It has a comprehensive offering at associate, senior associate, principal associate and partner level.’
‘Gowling is top of my list for real estate property litigation in the Midlands. They are in a class of their own. They act for a host of household name companies across the spectrum of property litigation issues. A wealth of experience from senior consultants, through the partners to incredibly strong senior associates.’
‘Rob Bridgman is cheery, even when under pressure, and works tirelessly to get the desired result. He stands out because he knows how to make good use of a team, which ensures his client is provided with a comprehensive (and cost effective) service. He must surely be a partner in the making, and seems set to remain a strong and respected presence in the market.’
‘Rob Bridgman is absolutely excellent: a real star. Focused, responsive, insightful, commercial and always a pleasure to work with. He consistently outperforms many a City partner with his development related work.’
Transport for London
- Acting for Transport for London in a dispute with Southwark and the City regarding the ownership of the main road network in London, and in particular the extent of property beyond the road surface itself transferred to TfL when the GLA was established.
- Represented Persimmon Homes in High Court litigation against Ashfield Provincial Properties Limited in respect of a collaboration agreement between the parties concerning strategic land outside Bristol.
- Acting for St Modwen Developments and its subsidiaries in a dispute with ARC Aggregates relating to the ownership of mines and minerals beneath a development site.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP fields a highly-regarded practice with 'wide experience across the real estate litigation spectrum', and particular depth in electronic communication issues, public real estate work and development constraints. Practice head Alicia Foo stands out for her strong practice representing clients in the telecoms infrastructure, education, energy and waste disposal sectors. Other key areas of expertise include vacant possessions, restrictive covenants and landlord and tenant claims. Alongside Foo, associates Sarah Campey and Ian Morgan and solicitor Pierre Smith stand out for their 'excellent knowledge and experience'.
‘Wide experience across the real estate litigation spectrum, with a particular expertise in the telecoms sector, where they are one of the key players. Well run and happy team.’
‘Alicia Foo is exceptionally sensible and wise; she is calm and has a great ability to cut through the “noise” and work out what is actually important and what the best strategy is to get there. She is also very pleasant to deal with, and ruthlessly efficient.’
‘Alicia Foo is a brilliant litigator and deserving of very high credit.’
‘Associates Sarah Campey, Pierre Smith and Ian Morgan are also stand out for their excellent knowledge and experience.’
London & Regional Properties Limited
Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited
London Boroughs of Brent, Croydon, Wandsworth & City of Westminster
Medway, South Tyneside and Lichfield Councils
- Representing Arqiva in a range of novel and complex disputes under the new Electronic Communications Code, including on matters relating to the roll out of 5G network.
- Acting for London & Regional in various claims in connection with landlord and tenant matters, dilapidation claims and rent reviews.
At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, Martin Edwards is involved at all court levels, acting in commercial, property management and development disputes across a range of sectors. The team is also at the forefront of novel issues in telecoms litigation, where it is representing landowners against major telecoms operators. Disputes arising from residential and commercial projects, energy litigation and higher education sector claims are other areas of speciality. James Fownes is recommended for landlord and tenant disputes involving lease forfeitures, dilapidations and lease renewals.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team are very strong team in Birmingham with a national reputation and reach. They are very good at servicing in-house teams, with a practical approach and a keen eye for costs issues.’
‘James Fownes – always professional. Very capable and reassuring to deal with.’
‘Martin Edwards – a national leader in property litigation known throughout the market in England and Wales. He provides clear and appropriate advice, and is outstanding at getting the resources in place to get the job done.’
‘James Fownes stands out as a rising star beyond Birmingham.’
Goldsmith’s, University of London
National Grid Plc
Workspace Group Plc
Blue Arrow Plc
Vision Express (UK) Ltd
- Acted for Goldsmiths, University of London in a High Court injunction to successfully end a well publicised sit-in protest by students at the university’s campus at Deptford.
- Successfully acted for Galliford Try Partnerships in relocating four telecoms operators from the site of a former greyhound stadium in Hall Green, Birmingham, where the building of a new residential scheme of over 200 homes was already underway.
- Acting for Blue Arrow plc in property management issues across its office portfolio, including numerous matters including lease terminations, wayleave agreements and resolving any disrepair claims.
Shoosmiths LLP is 'well placed to practice across the whole area' owing to its impressive client roster of leading developers and retailers. Nicholas Shepherd leads the UK-wide real estate practice; his practice spans adverse possession claims, dilapidation claims and disputed rent reviews. Kate McCall acts for institutional landlords, developers, investors and corporate occupiers across the entire property sector. Paul Knight's practice ranges from development disputes relating to protected tenancies, easements and claims concerning the obligations of parties under joint venture and land promotion agreements. Senior associate Elinor Sandbach is noted for retailer clients and disputes involving agricultural law.
‘Sizeable team of specialist property litigators, providing a specialist offering at all levels. The breadth of client base gives the team a wide experience across the full spectrum of property work. That makes the team well placed to practice across the whole area, not just landlord and tenant or residential work.’
‘Nicholas Shepherd, Head of the Property Litigation team, is a joy to work with. He has a wealth of experience, is commercially astute, and provides a calm and collected influence.’
‘Nick Shepherd is an astute and commercially minded lawyer with a good well rounded team around him. Shoosmiths as a whole are innovative in the systems they have available for the in-house property team and Nick is always open to new suggestions for ways to streamline their services and ensure their service is value for money.’
Brunswick Property Partners / House Owners Investments Limited
- Acted for Valero Energy in the negotiation of the settlement of a significant terminal dilapidation claim relating to premises in Canary Wharf.
- Continuing to advise Poundland Ltd on managing its portfolio which includes rent review issues, service charge work and dilapidation claims.
- Advising Arianda Properties on a 110 acre site close to Heathrow airport being developed to create a significant underground warehouse facility, including acting in a dispute over ownership of mines and minerals.
Browne Jacobson LLP has particular depth of experience acting for retailers in lease renewals and high-value dilapidation claims. The group also represents a number of developers, local authorities, public sector clients and insurers. Real estate litigation head James Coles joined from George Green LLP in summer 2020; he works with Pamela Shepherd, who focuses on commercial landlord and tenant work, and associate Bradley Roberts, who is recommended for lease renewal portfolio work and property management issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘Able to provide appropriate and proportionate advice and guidance to help solve a long-standing and challenging problem.’
‘Advice was given in helpful, friendly and straightforward manner.’
Cheshire East Borough Council
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
Walgreens Boots Alliance
London Borough of Croydon
Aggregate Industries UK Limited
- Acting for a local academy trust in dispute with its landlord over numerous issues including service charges; infringement of access rights and an injunction to prevent the landlord prohibiting access to common parts.
- Acted for a large national retailer in dispute with its landlord over the interim rent payable pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 over a six-month period relating to a high-profile London premises.
- Defended a charity in an adverse possession claim by an adjoining owner over valuable high-profile land owned by the charity.
Gateley Plc is noted for its strong practice representing developers and housebuilders in disputes arising from tenancy agreements, possession claims, enforcements of restrictive covenants and easement disputes. Peter Davis is the main partner handling claims involving developers, contractors, subcontractors and construction professionals. In the landlord and tenant space, the team recently recruited Dawn Reynolds from Wright Hassall LLP in early 2020; she also has experience in acting for landowners and developers in tenancy issues under the Agricultural Holdings Act. Iain Davies is the other key name to note.
‘This firm has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the housebuilding sector which is second to none. They are extremely effective litigators across the full-range of related work, including both property litigation and construction.’
Bovis Homes Limited
Bellway Homes Limited
- Representing a social housing provider in an ongoing expert determination dispute with a developer concerning the development of a site in central London.
- Acting for a housebuilder in a £2m dispute with a landowner in respect of a joint venture agreement to develop land in the southwest.
- Represented a housebuilder in defending a claim for damages for breach of a conditional contract for the sale and purchase of land valued at £2.4m.
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP focuses primarily on residential and commercial property litigation encompassing rent and service charge claims, rent reviews, dilapidation claims, development agreement disputes, easement issues and restrictive covenant matters. The practice also undertakes advocacy in judicial review proceedings relating to planning disputes. Helen Tucker and social housing specialist Baljit Basra co-head the team. Senior associate Philip Scully is a 'stand-out associate', acting for registered providers, charities and local authorities in a range of property-related disputes. Hilary Harrison retired in 2019.
‘Strong experience and technical knowledge in the property litigation field, coupled with the firm-wide social emphasis, working in sectors such as local government, housing, education, charities and social business.’
‘Jonathan Cox and Helen Tucker are stand-out partners. They both have great experience, knowledge and judgement and commitment to their clients.’
‘Phil Scully is that stand-out associate for Property Litigation. He has strong experience and technical knowledge in the field. He is a very reliable practitioner, who manages to combine straight-talking advice with a pleasant, personable manner.’
Birmingham City Council
Oxford City Council
Bromford Housing Group
Curo Places Limited
London & Quadrant
- Acting for a housing association in proceedings brought against it for collapse of a wall situated between the client’s land and land occupied by private owners, raising issues as to legal ownership of the wall, prescriptive rights, nuisance, negligence and party wall issues.
- Acting for Birmingham City Council issues relating to the redevelopment of a market site, including the management and renewal of multiple leases across the three existing market sites.
- Assisted Sovereign Housing Association with making an application for permission to issue a warrant for possession after Sovereign gathered evidence of multiple breaches of a suspended possession order.
At Knights plc, Martyn Liberson acts for government departments, professional services firms, landed estates and private clients in a range of disputes concerning rights of renewal, breach of covenant claims, landlord and tenant insolvencies and complex contested schedules of dilapidations. He also acts in property disputes arising from commercial contracts and professional negligence claims.
Squire Patton Boggs has a depth of experience in high-profile property portfolio management claims, as well as landlord and tenant issues, dilapidations and injunctive relief work. The team is led by senior associate Michelle Adams, who has a growing practice in telecoms litigation and also acts for retail, media, charity and logistics clients.
‘Michelle Adams did a great job for me. She exercised a calm and polite approach which was logical and easy to follow.’
Signet Group Limited
Cancer Research UK
Rexel UK Limited
G4 Pro Investments Limited
- Represented Cancer Research UK in considerable insurance and dilapidations claim as a result of substantive fire damage at prominent premises of the charity.
- Acting for Signet Group Limited on its retail property portfolio, which includes handling contested and uncontested lease renewals, defending dilapidations claims brought by landlords, enforcing landlord compliance with covenants and other issues.
- Representing Rexel Limited in the entirety of its contentious real estate needs, including lease renewals, break issues and dilapidation claims.
Wolverhampton-based George Green LLP provides expertise in property litigation work handling development agreement disputes, breach of user and dilapidation claims, Landlord and Tenant Act lease renewal disputes and adverse possession claims, among others. Litigation and dispute resolution Neil Williams and Susan Ford are the key figures.
Other key lawyers:
Calthorpe Estates Limited
Eriks Industrial Services Ltd
Sims Group UK Ltd
Telent Technology Services Ltd
- Acting for regional chain of pharmacists, C G Murray & Son Ltd, in a complex business lease renewal dispute under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.
- Acting for a landlord developer in a forfeiture application against a tenant that has committed breaches of its retail lease; breach of user covenant; unauthorised alterations; disrepair and illegal use.
- Representing Scrivens Ltd in the contentious aspects of lease renewals across its retail premises portfolio.
Lodders Solicitors LLP
At Lodders Solicitors LLP, Jane Senior has over 30 years experience acting for corporate and private clients in a range of contentious property issues encompassing landlord and tenant litigation, rights of way and rights to light disputes, overage issues, boundary litigation and claims to interests in land and property.
‘Practical and commercially aware. Full consideration of issues and likely outcomes.’
MFG Solicitors LLP
At MFG Solicitors LLP, Bromsgrove-based Harjie Singh Bindra has extensive experience in contentious commercial and residential tenancy law. Besides the core areas of land law, he is also an advocate in disputes over land ownership, claims involving proprietary estoppel, boundary disputes, trespass issues, nuisance claims, rights of way litigation and other disputes relating to privileges over land.
‘MFG Solicitors are a well-established and well-regarded firm in the Midlands. They have well-appointed offices across the region, each housing teams of well-regarded specialist lawyers and so are able to service a very large area.’
‘Very knowledgeable and informative, they are straight talking and put things in terms you can understand.’
Fogle Investments Limited
The Official Custodian for Charities on behalf of Burltons, Cookes & Sayers Almshouses
- Defended a private client in a right of way dispute in connection with a large redevelopment project.
- Representing a claimant in a High Court action for damages for fraudulent misrepresentation and professional negligence.
- Acting for a landlord in a business tenancy dispute over hostile ground for possession.
At Mills & Reeve LLP, principle associate Christopher Bartley has particular expertise in property disputes in the technology, education and healthcare sectors. Other key areas of work include commercial and residential landlord and tenant issues, nuisance claims, restrictive covenants, trespass disputes and claims under the Telecommunications Code.
‘Excellent specialist knowledge of property litigation and very experienced at running contentious disputes. They offer a broad service in that they are experienced at dealing with complex and high-value land disputes in the commercial sphere as well as disputes between neighbours.’
‘Christopher Bartley is very methodical with a good eye for detail. He will leave no stone unturned and has a calm and reassuring manner with clients.’
Countrywide Legal Indemnities Limited
Birmingham City University
Righton & Blackburns Limited
Stratford-upon-Avon Town Trust
Plumbing and Heating Infrastructure Limited
- Acting for South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust in securing possession in connection with the delivery of two new mental health hospitals in Tooting, London.
Sydney Mitchell LLP focuses on landlord and tenant disputes, which is a key area for real estate litigation associate Sundeep Bilkhu, who acts alongside Dean Parnell, who leads the wider dispute resolution practice. The duo handles claims relating to the termination of leases, dilapidation claims, adverse possession claims and boundary disputes. Bilkhu also acts for lenders and private clients in bringing professional negligence claims against surveyors and architects, as well as restrictive covenant disputes.
Other key lawyers:
‘I have dealt with a number of solicitors in the area over a considerable number of years and consistently found Sydney Mitchell to be the best. As a result, I have used them for matters relating to probate, conveyancing, employment advice, dispute resolution and the sale of businesses. They provide a broad range of specialist expertise under one roof.’
Trowers & Hamlins LLP handles the full range of contentious property issues, acting for developers, the NHS and other public sector clients and individuals in contentious issues arising from site acquisitions, commercial property portfolio management issues, boundary disputes and claims arising from sale and purchase agreements. Lead partner Michael Green is assisted by associate and 'rising star' Laura Vernon.
Other key lawyers:
‘A real national power in real estate – property litigation. They have been notable in recruiting talent from other firms. They are a pleasure to work for and with!’
‘Michael Green is assiduous in promoting his clients’ interests. He is personable and knows how to build and lead a team. Future managing partner material.’
‘Laura Vernon is a rising star, she is very good with clients from all backgrounds and has a great understanding of the pressures that social landlords work under. One to watch.’
‘Michael Green ‘leaves no stone unturned’ in ensuring our needs are met and our requirements fulfilled. Our organisation is a not-for-profit company and he understands our needs closely.’
‘Laura Vernon is in my view outstanding. For urgent matters she attends without delay and is extremely thorough. She has an excellent understanding of what we require and her communications are clear, concise and informative.‘
West Midlands Metropolitan Authorities Pension Fund
Westminster City Council (Investment Property)
Kings College Hospital
Mainstay Residential Limited
Workspace Group Plc
Paragon Asra Housing Limited
- Supporting the internal investment property division of a central London borough council in various contentious property matters arising across the portfolio of commercial properties.
- Represented a residential property developer in a boundary dispute with occupiers of neighbouring land, which threatened to jeopardise the client’s build programme and subsequent sales timetable.
- Acted for a private estate client in connection with issues concerning rights over private roads and the client’s ability to install gates and implement traffic management systems.