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Our Property Group advises about all aspects of land law and we act in all types of property litigation. The core themes are:

  1. Commercial landlord and tenant: rent reviews, contested and uncontested renewals, covenants and consents, forfeiture and relief, dilapidations;
  2. Development: options, pre-emption and contracts for sale, joint ventures and overage, planning agreements, daylight and ways, cables, pipes and drains, demolition and construction, injunctions and specific performance, possession and orders for sale, compulsory purchase;
  3. Mortgages, charges and security: receivership, possession and sale, disputed validity and priority;
  4. Residential landlord and tenant: statutory, assured and secure tenancies, enfranchisement and service charge, enforcement of covenants;
  5. Rural economy: agricultural holdings and farm business tenancies, commons and village greens, mines and minerals, sporting rights, wayleaves and waterways; and
  6. Title: land registration, rectification and priorities, trusts and beneficial ownership, boundaries and easements, restrictive covenants, adverse possession, overriding interests, unregistered land.

Most members of our Property Group are also members of other groups in chambers, such as those dealing with Insolvency or Professional Liability or Trusts, Tax, Probate and Estates. We recognise that property problems do not always come neatly packaged, and sometimes require a breadth of knowledge and experience, transcending the traditional boundaries of conveyancing and land law. One of our strengths is that we can provide people at all levels of seniority who have the cross-disciplinary expertise to deal with the whole problem, and not just the property parts of it. Yet we also have experts in some of the narrowest niches of property law, such as art, cultural property and heirlooms, drones and air rights, manors and inclosure, oil, gas and fracking, strict settlements and perpetuities, and telecommunications. No matter how esoteric or difficult the property problem, we probably have someone who already knows about it, and who has helped to solve it before.

Although we are primarily advocates, not all of our work is contentious. When required, we can also advise upon the appropriate structures, and help to draft the necessary instruments, to solve complex transactional problems; something that will work for all parties to the deal. Nor is our work confined to this jurisdiction. The legacy of the British Empire means that English land law still has a surprisingly long reach. In addition to appearing in the Privy Council members of the group also sometimes advise upon the law in, and travel to, Bermuda and the Caribbean, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.




Rankings and recognition

The Legal 500 UK Awards 2020:

Winner of Real Estate Set of the Year

Joanne Wicks QC – Winner of Real Estate Silk of the Year

Chambers Bar Awards 2019:

Joanne Wicks QC – Winner of Real Estate Silk of the Year

The Lawyer Awards 2019:

Joanne Wicks QC – Shortlisted for Barrister of the Year

Chambers Bar Awards 2018:

Winner of Real Estate Set of the Year

Chambers UK 2021:

Wilberforce Chambers is a highly reputable set with “excellent people” and “lots of strength in depth.” Sources appreciate that it is “equipped to deal with anything in the property litigation domain.” Barristers here act in a wide range of property matters, including both residential and commercial landlord and tenant cases, development disputes, title disputes and agricultural property cases. Members appear frequently in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, including in high-profile cases such as Canary Wharf v European Medicines Agency and Duval v 11-13 Randolph Crescent, a Supreme Court appeal dealing with the question of whether covenants in flat leases prevent the landlord giving one leaseholder consent for works to their flat without the permission of all other leaseholders in the block.

The Legal 500 UK 2021:

Wilberforce Chambers is considered a ‘pre-eminent set for property litigation with huge strength in depth at both silk and junior level’. Active on a broad array of property-related litigation, its key strengths lie in commercial and residential landlord and tenant, title and development disputes, in addition to disputes pertaining to mortgages, charges, and security. Tiffany Scott QC and Charlotte Black recently appeared in the Supreme Court in the case of Sequent Nominees Ltd v Hautford Ltd; they successfully represented the tenant in overturning a previous decision that the landlord has reasonably withheld permission to use the upper floors of the leased property as flats. In a further highlight, Jonathan Seitler QC was engaged in the case of University of London v Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited, a highly significant mandate as it was the first case held before the Court of Appeal to relate to interim and temporary rights under the new Telecommunications Code.

Chambers UK 2020: Wilberforce Chambers is respected as a “heavyweight property set” by instructing solicitors and is home to a number of well-known property experts. The set’s property group is widely regarded for its interdisciplinary approach, with many of its silks and juniors handling a range of complementary commercial and chancery work. Members are praised for their performance on cases regarding landlord and tenant matters and enfranchisement claims, as well as other development and title matters.

The Legal 500 UK 2020: Wilberforce Chambers provides ‘strength at all levels’ with a ‘strong stable of leading names’. The set is adept on all land law fronts though it boasts specific expertise on commercial and residential landlord and tenant, development, mortgage, and title matters.  Joanne Wicks QC and Jonathan Chew recently acted against Jonathan Seitler QC and Emer Murphy in the leading case of Canary Wharf Group v European Medicines Agency which considered whether Brexit constituted a frustration of a long-term lease. A further inter-chambers battle saw Seitler QC face Martin Hutchings QC in No 1 West India Quay Residential Ltd v East Tower Apartments Ltd, the first long lease case under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1988 to reach the Court of Appeal.



Members of the Property Group are often involved in high-profile reported cases, sometimes on opposite sides. Recent examples include:

  • Bath Rugby Ltd v Greenwood & Ors v Bath Recreation Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 1927
  • Wynne-Finch & Ors v. Natural Resources Body for Wales [2021] EWCA Civ 1473
  • Capitol Park Leeds v Global Radio Services [2021] EWCA CIV 995
  • TFS Stores Ltd v Designer Retail Outlet (Mansfield) General Partner Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 688
  • Fishbourne Developments Limited v Stephens [2020] EWCA Civ 1704
  • Alexander Devine Children’s Cancer Trust v Housing Solutions Ltd [2020] UKSC 45
  • TFS Stores Ltd v BMG (Ashford) Ltd & Ors [2020] EWCA Civ 833
  • Duval v 11-13 Randolph Crescent Ltd [2020] UKSC 18
  • University of London v Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited [2019] EWCA Civ 2075
  • Sequent Nominees Ltd v Hautford Ltd [2019] UKSC 47
  • Great Dunmow Estates Limited v Crest Nicholson Operations Ltd & Ors [2019] EWCA Civ 1683
  • Cuadrilla v Persons Unknown
  • Gaia v Abbeygate Helical [2019] EWCA Civ 823
  • Churston Golf Club v Richard Haddock [2019] EWCA Civ 544
  • Canary Wharf v European Medicines Agency [2019] EWHC 335 (Ch)
  • S Franses v The Cavendish Hotel [2018] UKSC 62
  • Clutterbuck & Paton v Cleghorn [2018] EWHC 2125 (Ch) (after a three-week trial the High Court dismissed the Claimants’ claims for fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of a property joint venture agreement)
  • No.1 West India Quay v East Tower Apartments [2018] EWCA Civ 250
  • Sackville v Robertson Taylor [2018] EWHC 122 (Ch)
  • Orientfield Holdings Ltd v Bird & Bird [2017] EWCA Civ 348
  • Clutterbuck v Cleghorn [2017] EWCA Civ 137 (the Court of Appeal considered the correct approach to cases of alleged abuse of process comprising a failure to follow the guidelines in relation to overlapping claims set out in Aldi Stores [2008] 1 WLR 748)
  • Wensley v Persons Unknown [2017] EWHC 872 (Ch)
  • Vivienne Westwood v Conduit Street Devpts [2017] EWHC 350 (Ch)
  • Acredart & Car Giant v London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham [2017] EWHC 197 (TCC)
  • Twin Benefits v Barker [2017] EWHC 177 (Ch)
  • Matchmove v Dowding [2016] EWCA Civ 1233
  • Catalyst Housing Limited v Martin [2016] EWCA Civ 1156
  • Watts v Stewart [2016] EWCA Civ 1247
  • SEPT v Laindon [2016] EWCA Civ 377
  • Bryant Homes Southern Ltd v Stein Management Ltd [2016] EWHC 2435 (Ch)
  • Goldcrest Distribution v McCole [2016] EWHC 1571(Ch)
  • Perenco v Bond [2016] EWHC 1498 (TCC)
  • Timothy Taylor v Mayfair House [2016] EWHC 1075 (Ch)
  • Mortgage Agency Services No.1 v Cripps Harries [2016] EWHC 2483 (Ch)
  • The Manchester Ship Canal Company Limited v United Utilities Water Limited [2016] EWHC 259 (Ch)
  • Greenridge Luton One Ltd v Kempton Investments Ltd [2016] EWHC 91 (Ch)