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John Furber QC

Call: 1973    QC: 1995

+44 (0)20 7306 0102jfurber@wilberforce.co.uk

Practice Overview

John is a specialist in all areas of real property law and litigation, with particular emphasis on commercial leases and issues related to property development. He also has many years of experience in the law and practice of town planning and compulsory acquisition of land. He accepts instructions to act as an independent expert and as a legal assessor in arbitrations.

John’s practice is both advisory and litigious. The advisory work often relates to development projects and possible impediments to them (for example, restrictive covenants and easements), where a robust and reliable view is needed. Some recent decided cases will provide an impression of John’s litigious work. In Cosmichome Ltd v. Southampton City Council [2013] 1 WLR 2436, John established that a restrictive covenant relating to broadcasting studios was not enforceable because it was not intended to protect the amenity or value of the covenantee’s land. Mount Eden Land Ltd v. Bolsover Investments Ltd [2014] EWHC 3523 (Ch) concerned a landlord’s objection to the development of commercial premises to provide flats, on the grounds that future lessees of the flats might enjoy rights of enfranchisement; John established that, in the circumstances of the case, such an objection did not provide a reasonable ground for refusing consent to the proposed alterations. Stadium Capital (No. 2) Ltd v. St Marylebone Property Company Ltd [2012] 1 EGLR 103 was, as Vos J put it, “the third instalment of a long-running battle concerning an advertising hoarding on the west side of the Finchley Road, projecting into the airspace of a cleared development site”. In the “first instalment” John had established that his developer client was entitled to damages for trespass and the decision of Vos J is now one of the leading cases on the method of assessment of such damages.

Examples of cases in which John has been instructed in 2018 are as follows:

  • advising government departments as to complex property documents and in relation to a multi-million pound claim for an “overage” payment
  • advising a pub owning business in relation to various issues arising out of the Pubs Code, including a successful application for permission to appeal against an arbitration award; also appearing in an arbitration relating to an issue of principle concerning the interpretation of the Code
  • advising as to possible defences against claims for interim injunctions relating to alleged trespass to land and alleged unlawful eviction
  • advising developers (and landowners intending to sell to developers) in relation to easements, restrictive covenants and other legal issues affecting proposed property development

In The Legal 500 2017, it is stated that “his advice is direct, balanced and always clear” and the following comments are recorded in Chambers UK 2018:
John’s advice, both orally and in writing, is excellent, focused, to the point and commendably concise.
and
Very good and very thorough, he gives very considered opinions and doesn’t miss a trick.

Chambers & Partners 2016 records that he frequently advises on landlord and tenant issues and is well versed in the areas of commercial property and development projects. “He is hugely experienced and very effective. His approach and manner make him a great choice for any solicitor and client.”

In Who’s Who Legal 2016, he “is commended for his ‘sharp mind’ and ‘quick and decisive nature’ which has garnered him a ‘brilliant reputation’ among clients.”

In The Legal 500 2016, he is described as providing “strong legal analytical skills and practical advice, especially regarding tactics.”