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Call: 1973    QC: 1995

+44 (0)20 7306

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 the first half of 2022 are as follows:

  • advising the owners of a block of flats as to the impact of proposals for the development of adjoining commercial property on their rights of way
  • advising as to the effect of Part 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 in relation to a reorganisation of corporate property interests
  • advising as to whether a landlord’s refusal to consent to a change of use of a building from offices to flats was unreasonable
  • advising on a landlord’s ability to oppose the grant of new tenancies of public houses pursuant to Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 on the grounds of the landlord’s intention to occupy for its own business
  • advising on the possible acquisition of public rights of way over private roads by long user, having regard to section 31 of the Highways Act 1980

In the Legal 500 2021 he is described as follows: “He never sits on the fence, always giving his views on an issue; his written advice is exceptionally clear”.

In Chambers UK 2020 it is stated that he is “user-friendly, very well regarded and impresses with his strategic advice”.

In The Legal 500 2019, he is described as “good technically, very approachable and clear with clients”

In Chambers UK 2019, he is described as “very detailed, hugely experienced and enormously well respected”.

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.
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.”