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Emer Murphy

Call: 2009   

+44 (0)20 7306


Emer has a broad property practice encompassing both real property and landlord and tenant matters. Much of Emer’s property work is undertaken on her own account, although she also has considerable experience of acting as part of a large team on complex, long-running matters.

Emer is currently ranked as a Leading Junior in the Property Litigation field by The Legal 500 2017, which describes her as ‘Hardworking with an excellent grasp of detail’.  The Legal 500 2016 described her as: ‘One of the top juniors at the Chancery Bar; her attention to detail and rigorous analysis [are] particularly good’.

Emer is a member of the Property Bar Association.

Notable cases include the following:

Clutterbuck v Cleghorn [2015] EWHC 2558 (Ch), [2017] EWCA Civ 137, [2018] EWHC 2125 (Ch)

  • Emer represented the estate of a deceased businessman who is alleged to have been involved in various property joint ventures relating to exclusive properties in West London. The claimants claimed millions of pounds in damages for various alleged breaches of contract and misrepresentations.
  • This case followed the explosive Clutterbuck v Al Amoudi case brought by the same claimants (discussed below).
  • In Clutterbuck v Cleghorn, the defendant’s legal team (including Emer and Jonathan Seitler QC) had the majority of the claim struck out as an abuse of process relying on the principle in Aldi Stores [2008] 1 WLR 748, as the claimants had failed to bring their claim with other similar claims against Ms Al Amoudi. The Court of Appeal upheld the striking out of the majority of the claimants’ case in March 2017.
  • A three-week trial of the remaining elements of the claimants’ claim took place in the Chancery Division in June 2018, and raised issues of fraudulent misrepresentation, contractual interpretation, estoppel by convention and proof of loss.  Jonathan Seitler QC and Emer again emerged victorious, and the claimants’ claims were dismissed in their entirety.

Confidential (2018)

  • This dispute concerned a complex joint venture-style agreement between a landowner and a developer, in relation to a prominent development site in London.
  • Valuable planning permission was achieved for high-rise development on the site, and the land was sold with the benefit of this planning permission for more than £100m.
  • The landowner and developer then disagreed as to how the profit arising from this sale should be split, with the parties divided in various respects as to the proper interpretation of the complex (and repeatedly varied) agreement between them.
  • The case settled in 2018 following a successful mediation.
  • Emer acted a junior to Jonathan Seitler QC.

Cheshire West v Grandspan (2017)

  • Emer (acting on her own account) represented a landlord seeking to gain possession of business premises.
  • Representatives of the landlord and tenant agreed all the terms of new lease, but the tenant failed to ensure it was properly completed in time.
  • The landlord argued that the tenant had lost its right to protection as a business tenant under Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.
  • The matter settled shortly before trial.

Confidential (2017)

  • Emer advised a property developer in relation to dispute about the proper construction of an agreement assigning an option to purchase some development land.
  • The issue between the parties was whether or not the property developer was entitled to deduct sizeable Community Infrastructure Levy payments from sums otherwise payable to the claimants.
  • The matter settled shortly prior to the hearing of cross-summary judgment applications in the High Court.

Confidential (2017)

  • Emer represented the seller of a commercial property when the buyer thereof refused to complete a multi-million pound contract for sale.
  • The property had planning permission to be demolished and rebuilt as a large block of flats, and the seller argued that a condition precedent requiring demolition of the existing building prior to completion had not been met.
  • The matter settled at a successful mediation.

Confidential (2017)

  • This action related to a substantial mixed-use property in North London, held by a company which was jointly owned by two wealthy families and later sold.
  • Emer (acting as a junior to James Ayliffe QC) acted for a company associated with one of the families, alleging deceit and breach of fiduciary duty by the other family and its associated companies in relation to the sale of the property for several million pounds.

Clutterbuck v Al Amoudi [2014] EWHC 383 (Ch), [2015] EWCA Civ 1593, [2017] EWHC 1127 (Ch)

  • Emer successfully represented Sarah Al Amoudi, dubbed ‘the Vamp in the Veil’ by the Daily Mail, against two property developers who alleged that Ms Amoudi duped them out of millions of pounds of cash and property.
  • Emer acted as a junior to Jonathan Seitler QC at a four-week trial in the Chancery Division involving over 30 witnesses. The case concerned alleged property joint ventures, and raised issues of fraud and misrepresentation.
  • In October 2015, the claimants said they had new evidence that proved that Ms Al Amoudi was an imposter. Emer and Jonathan successfully represented Ms Al Amoudi in the Court of Appeal, where the applications to rely on this evidence and for permission to appeal were refused.
  • In February 2017, acting on her own account, Emer successfully represented Ms Al Amoudi in resisting the Claimants’ application to vary or revoke the substantial costs award made against them, sought on the basis of further evidence allegedly casting doubt on Ms Al Amoudi’s background. The application was dismissed in its entirety.

Confidential (2016)

  • Emer acted for a property development company in this dispute relating to a large mixed-use development in the South of England.
  • The developers had entered into a conditional contract to sell certain land to a supermarket chain once planning consent was obtained.
  • The supermarket chain argued that the planning consent obtained was not compliant with the requirements of the contract, and thus it refused to purchase the land.
  • Emer acted with Jonathan Seitler QC against Joanne Wicks QC in a hotly-disputed expert determination in 2016.

Neil John Biggs v Countryside Properties (Bicester) Limited (2016)

  • Emer represented a property developer that allegedly breached its obligation to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to obtain planning permission, thereby reducing the overage amounts payable to previous landowners.
  • Emer acted as a junior to Jonathan Seitler QC at a trial in the High Court in London in May 2016. The case settled during the trial.

Confidential (2016)

  • Acting on her own account, Emer successfully represented a developer at a mediation.
  • Following substantial completion of a residential development, owners of the neighbouring property alleged that the developers had no right of way over the only means of access.
  • The dispute was resolved with the neighbours agreeing to grant access rights.

Transport for London v JB Riney & Co Limited (2013)

  • This case concerned a strategically important piece of land registered to TFL and occupied by a large civil engineering company, JB Riney & Co Limited.
  • It raised issues of trespass, compulsory purchase and squatters’ rights.

Confidential: Various

  • Emer has advised and acted in relation to various disputes arising out of Part II the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, for both landlords and tenants.
  • These cases have raised various issues including questions of validity of s. 25 notices, whether a lease is protected by the 1954 Act, whether a new lease can be resisted on the various statutory grounds, statutory compensation and estoppel.