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James McCreath

Call: 2009   

+44 (0)20 7306


James has a substantial and wide-ranging property practice which encompasses all aspects of real property and landlord and tenant related litigation and advice. He is regularly instructed on disputes in the County Court, High Court and property Tribunals.

James’ landlord and tenant practice includes residential and business tenancies, service charge disputes, terminal dilapidation claims and disputes with managing agents.

Real property related cases in which he has been involved include:

  • Easements
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Boundary disputes
  • Town and Village Greens
  • Adverse possession
  • Mortgages
  • Nuisance
  • Land registration issues

His recent cases include:

  • Acting for the tenants of a City wine bar in complex proceedings including a contested 1954 Act renewal claim, a claim for adverse possession, and a claim for rectification of the register.  James acted unled against Martin Hutchings QC in a number of interim hearings, and was led by Kirk Reynolds QC for the trial (the matter settled very shortly before the trial was due to begin).
  • Acting in the First-Tier Tribunal for an applicant to be registered as proprietor of an estate on the basis of adverse possession.  Prior to James’ instruction, the matter had gone to the Court of Appeal, which had held that the criminalisation of squatting did not prevent title from being acquired through adverse possession (R(on the application of Best) v Chief Land Registrar [2015] EWCA Civ 17, [2016] QB 23).
  • Acting for United Utilities (as junior to Jonathan Karas QC and Julian Greenhill) in defending a claim brought by the Manchester Ship Canal Company about the lawfulness of the use of a very substantial amount of infrastructure. Among the issues raised by the case are questions relating to statutory authorisation, construction of local statutory provisions, compulsory purchase powers and compensation, and issues under the 1954 Act. James was part of the successful team in UU’s successful appeal to the Supreme Court on its summary judgment application ([2014] UKSC 40, [2014] I WLR 2576), and its recent successful opposition to the claimant’s attempt to amend its pleadings to avoid the consequences of that judgment ([2016] EWHC 259 (Ch)).
  • Acting (as junior to Jonathan Karas QC) successfully resisting an application to register part of the grounds of the University of Kent as a town or village green.
  • Acting and advising in a considerable number of matters concerning the powers and duties of various statutory undertakers, including in particular sewerage and water undertakers.
  • Acting (as junior to Ian Croxford QC) in the re-trial of Barr v Biffa Waste Services, a group litigation claim alleging that odours from a landfill site constituted a nuisance.
  • Acting in a number of disputes relating to the construction of development agreements.
  • Acting (as junior to Martin Hutchings QC) in a claim for breach of contract and for breaches of duty of confidence arising out of a bid for a development site.
  • Acting (as junior to Joanna Smith QC) for the claimant in a multi-million pound claim against solicitors for allegedly negligent drafting and advice in relation to the overage provisions in an agreement for the purchase of a substantial London office building.