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Property Dispute Resolution

We have a leading reputation in property dispute resolution and our partners and teams are highly rated in the main directories. Their focus is on cost effective efficient service, avoiding and managing risk and on achieving successful outcomes in complex disputes.

"The team is among the best in the country”

"They're proactive, they get the job done and they tend to solve problems rather than make them."

"Very commercial with good market knowledge."

 "The team provides an excellent service – responsive, efficient and conscientious."

 “Accessible and focused"

 "Their strength comes from their depth of knowledge."

 "The advice is always consistent, commercially focused and cost-effective."

 Chambers 2018

Full UK Coverage - The only firm to field independently recognised expert property dispute resolution lawyers in all UK jurisdictions. Our team of 35 lawyers specialising exclusively in real estate disputes are ranked in the top tiers in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh and Northern Ireland in the leading independent legal directories.

Bespoke Solutions And Pro-Active Disputes Avoidance - We appreciate that disputes, although often inevitable, can be time consuming and an expensive distraction from our clients' core businesses.  We proactively seek to avoid disputes and provide training and solutions to avoid risk often being involved well before any dispute has arisen to provide advice and identify risks. As part of our commitment to identifying and managing risk for our clients we offer bespoke training. Full details of our training programme are available on request. We work hard to make our clients' lives easier and to add value to our service and have produced a number of fixed priced products designed to save our clients money or to enable us to provide an expert and cost effective service in specialist areas for example, rights of light, student accommodation or dealing with protestors.

Expertise in all forms of Dispute Resolution - Where disputes arise, our approach is to gain a firm grasp of the facts, drivers, risks and value involved and based on these to provide clear, practical and costed advice on the risks and options.  Our team includes qualified advocates and mediators and has expertise in negotiation, mediation, expert determination, arbitration and litigation to Supreme Court level. 

Costs Budgeting - We have extensive experience in complex high value disputes, the expertise to navigate a clear way through them thinking creatively about innovative solutions and the tools to provide you with maximum budget certainty. We will identify and adopt the best solution for your dispute and pursue that solution robustly and within a clear budget.

SMART delivery - Where the work involves more routine asset management we will use the range of efficient processes and cost controls we have worked hard to develop to provide maximum efficiency and value for money.

Legal Experts -: We are experts in all types of property disputes including:

  • Acquisition Disputes: Enforcing or avoiding sale contracts, options or pre-emption and advising on statutory restrictions affecting the sale of residential property sales and on enfranchisement.
  • Asset Management Disputes: Dealing with all landlord and tenant issues including commercial lease renewals (for example acting for the successful parties in Lay & Others (Trustees of Portman Estates v Drexler (2007) EWCA Civ 464 concerning changes to the 1954 Act), covenant enforcement (for example Crestfort v Tesco (2005) 3 EGLR25 concerning unlawful subletting), rent reviews, possession claims, landlord's consents, dilapidations and service charges. Our clients include landed estates, institutional investors, property companies and funds, national retailers and corporate occupiers.
  • Development Disputes: Disputes arising from joint ventures or development agreements (see for example Extra MSA Services v Accor (2011) EWCH 775) concerning unlawful termination of a Development Agreement).
  • Third Party Rights: Due diligence, advisory work and disputes arising from third party rights such as easements, (including rights of light) and covenants over development sites (including for example acting for the successful party in HXRUK (II) (CHC) Ltd v Marcus Heaney (2010)) the leading recent authority on rights of light and acting on the leading rights of light case  in CIP Property (AIPT) Ltd v TfL, London Underground and Derwent (2012) EWHC 259 and for the successful party in  89 Holland Park v Hicks (2013) EWCH 391, a leading case on restrictive covenants). We have a particular expertise in rights of light and partner Matthew Baker is an invited member of the Law Commission's review of this area of law.
  • Vacant Possession Strategies: Advising on and implementing strategies to secure vacant possession of development sites from all types of occupiers including protected commercial and residential tenants for many landed estates, institutional investors and property companies.
  • Protestors and Neighbour Disputes: Acting on disputes arising from the development process including dealing with protestors or claims by occupiers or adjoining owners for nuisance or breach of lease provisions (for example acting for the successful claimants in the leading cases of University of Sussex –v- Persons Unknown [ 2010] and [2013] and Tesco Stores Limited v Persons Unknown [2006] to secure the eviction of protesters).
  • Joint Venture Disputes: Advising on disputes arising between joint venture development partners.
  • Insolvency: Advising on and acting for property owners, occupiers and insolvency practitioners to resolve issues arising on landlord or tenant insolvency (for example acting in Sunberry v Innovate(2009) 1 BCLC 145 and advising on the insolvency of law firm Cobbetts).
  • Property related Professional negligence: Advising and acting on disputes against property professionals including for example for a leading residential developer in relations to rights of lights, for a claimant in a £30m claim for damages against their former solicitors in respect of a drafting error in an agreement for lease and lease and against a well known firm of agents for valuation advice given concerning a commercial retail development.
  • Rating Law: Advising on rates liability in general, empty property rates liability, the viability of projects to mitigate general rates liability and the application of various exemptions and reliefs, including advising upon legal issues, strategy and managing appeals from the Valuation Tribunal to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).
  •  Agricultural Law: Advising on the status of agricultural tenancies and allotments and providing strategic advice regarding the procedures, timescales and costs of clearance of the land in order to allow for residential and commercial development. Includes dealing with associated issues such as the payment of statutory compensation, succession rights and dilapidations. Helping clients to obtain best value from their agricultural land by advising on rent reviews, use of break options and drafting tenancy agreements which best suit their future needs.
  • Electronic Communications: Experienced in acting for and against electronic communications operators; acting for infrastructure providers and strategically devising and implementing vacant    possession strategies for landowner/developer clients with operators exercising Electronic Communications Code Rights. Alicia Foo co-presented a Blundell lecture on the Electronic Communications Code in 2011.
  • Judicial Review: Acting for both claimants and defendants in judicial reviews, statutory challenges and public inquiries relating to planning disputes and Town or Village Green applications.  For   example acting for the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate in respect of their successful planning appeal against Ryedale District Council’s refusal of planning consent for a food retail led town centre scheme and obtaining a substantial order for costs against Ryedale District Council for their unreasonable behaviour; acting in over 20 judicial review claims against Selby District Council and North Yorkshire County Council in respect of planning consents mainly affecting the Green Belt; acting for Scudamores Punting Company Limited in respect of various property and public law disputes with Cambridge City Council relating to the regulation and operation of punting businesses in Cambridge and acting in respect of challenges to the grant of planning consent for a regional airport.
  • Mines & Minerals: Devising strategies to assist infrastructure /energy providers and developers avoid and mitigate claims by landowners relying on mines and mineral rights. Alicia Foo has been regularly quoted in the press concerning fracking rights.

Sector Focus - As well as providing advice to many clients in the Real Estate sector, we have an understanding of and expertise in property related issues affecting the housing, retail, energy and infrastructure sectors borne from the involvement of the wider firm in these sectors.

For more information or to discuss our services please contact any of the partners listed.