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Burges Salmon LLP

Living Wage
Work 0117 939 2000
Fax 0117 902 4400
Bristol, London

James Sutherland

Work 0117 307 6902
Burges Salmon LLP

Work Department

Dispute resolution/real estate disputes.


Specialises in real estate disputes and has particular expertise in advising banks, institutional and commercial landowners, and occupiers in relation to landlord/tenant disputes, real property disputes and property-related insolvency. Also has significant expertise in disputes arising out of residential portfolio security, sales and management. Important cases include: acting for The Crown Estate in relation to contested forfeiture proceedings in respect of commercial premises in central London; acting for Co-Operative Bank and directors of Grant Thornton in relation to proceedings challenging the appointment of BVI Administrative Receivers over London hotel premises; acting for Bristol Rovers Football Club in claim against Sainsbury’s Supermarkets relating to sale of its stadium in Bristol; advising an international merchant bank in relation to a significant dilapidations claim and several rent review arbitrations in respect of central London office premises; acting for Nationwide Building Society in disputed security enforcement action over significant mixed residential/commercial property portfolio; advising The Crown Estate and its managing agents in relation to various tenants entering into administration, liquidation/disclaimer and CVL procedures; advising DTZ (acting as Receivers) in relation to a complex residential and commercial service charge dispute; acting for JN Dairies Ltd, a national dairy distribution company, in breach of confidentiality proceedings against a competitor and former employee. This case went to the Court of Appeal and also involved separate proceedings relating to complex alternative funding arrangements.


Qualified into Property Litigation team at Bevan Brittan LLP in 2005. Moved to Burges Salmon LLP in July 2008. Promoted to Senior Associate in May 2011. Made partner in 2015.


Property Litigation Association, British Property Federation (associate member of Commercial Committee).


Attended Wellington School, Somerset (1990-97); St Edmund Hall, Oxford University 2(i) BA (Hons) Modern History and Economics, (1997-2000); College of Law (Store Street, London), GDL: Commendation (2000-01); College of Law (Store Street, London) – LPC: Commendation (2001-02).


Rugby, theatre, choral singing.

London: Real estate

Property litigation

Within: Property litigation

Burges Salmon LLPperforms strongly in this practice area’ and ‘provides high quality commercial guidance’. The team is acting for Virgin in lease renewal proceedings which also involve decant and dilapidations considerations at a 1.5-acre grade II listed roof garden. A further highlight included an instruction from the University of Bristol in relation to the purchase of its Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus. Practice head Richard Bedford is ‘excellent at working to resolve disputes without recourse to unnecessary litigation’. Partner James Sutherland provides ‘clear succinct commercial advice which is of high quality’. Sutherland is experienced in leasehold and insolvency disputes and has acted for clients including The Crown Estate and the National Trust. Lucy Redman has joined the firm from Linklaters LLP.

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South West: Finance

Insolvency and corporate recovery

Within: Insolvency and corporate recovery

Burges Salmon LLP’s corporate restructuring and insolvency team is ‘definitely a market leader outside of London’ and ‘can compete alongside most City firms’. Headed by the ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ Andrew Eaton, the department regularly handles international debt restructurings and is often involved in US-facing matters by way of its transatlantic restructuring and insolvency group. Eaton acted for Agent Provocateur and 17 of its international subsidiaries on the global bankruptcy and restructuring of its international business; this involved multiple wind-downs and a Chapter 11 process in the US. Eaton also advised a government department in relation to a distressed statutory service provider. Patrick Cook is providing English law advice to an Italian law firm in relation to the insolvency of an Italian client with an English subsidiary. Colin Ligman and James Sutherland are key figures in the real estate restructuring group. Senior associate Emily Scaife is noted as ‘a great up-and-coming restructuring lawyer’. Additional clients include PricewaterhouseCoopers, BDO, and Nationwide Building Society.

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South West: Real estate

Property litigation

Within: Property litigation

The team at Burges Salmon LLP is ‘very technically knowledgeable and brings a practical and commercial approach’ to a range of contentious property issues, including property insolvency, corporate lease disputes and landed estate matters. Department head Richard Bedford acted for Eden Investments and the LPA receivers in relation to a £6m damages claim against Sainsbury’s concerning a breach of covenant in its anchor tenant lease in a shopping mall. Bedford also provides ongoing contentious property advice to Waterstones Booksellers. James Sutherland advised Virgin Clubs on the lease renewal process relating to its Kensington Roof Gardens location; following the decision to terminate its lease, Sutherland continues to assist the client with decant and dilapidations analyses. Noted for providing ‘prompt responses and clear explanations’, senior associate Chris Preston advised the University of Bristol on issues such as removal of existing third-party rights arising from its purchase of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus. Senior associate David Benjamin is also highly recommended.

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Legal Developments by:
Burges Salmon LLP

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

    - Burges Salmon LLP

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