Practice overview

Martin has a broad property litigation practice also covering professional liability in related areas. He has acted in many recent high-profile cases covering all aspects of property litigation. Martin is known for his ability to understand clients’ commercial objectives and for providing rapid and practical advice. He has particular experience in commercial landlord and tenant matters including business tenancies, dilapidations; insolvency-related lease issues, and consent for alienation. Martin also regularly appears in and advises on real property cases particularly relating to the development of land. He has a wealth of recent reported cases. They concern such diverse areas as restrictive covenants; development agreements; easements; commercial lease interpretation and land registration.

Martin is involved in many aspects of alternative dispute resolution including acting in mediations and as an adviser to arbitrators and experts and as an expert in his own right.

A previous winner of Chambers & Partners’ Real Estate ‘Silk of the Year’ award, Martin is ranked as a Band 1 property silk in Chambers & Partners and in The Legal 500 (Band 2). He is also listed in Who’s Who Legal for Real Estate, where he is described as one of the ‘most highly regarded barristers in this area.

Martin's expertise

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Property

Martin regularly appears in court in all matters relating to commercial and residential property. He has an outstanding record of success at all levels and is recommended as a leading silk for property matters in all leading directories.

His expertise includes the following property-related matters:

  • Building Safety Act 2022 and cladding remediation and service charge recovery.
  • Commercial leases – advice to landlords and tenants, regarding serious structural failure resulting from the use of RAAC and other unsuitable materials (Including advising on BSA 2022 implications).
  • Commercial leases –dilapidations; break clauses; renewal, rent review; tenant insolvency; keep open covenants; rent claims; frustration; failure of consideration.
  • Development contracts – overage disputes; construction, drafting; registration of interests; highways.
  • Contracts of sale – specific performance; rescission, fraud, injunctions and other interim remedies.
  • Arbitration/Expert Determination – challenges, injunctions.
  • Joint ventures – negligent drafting, enforceability, damages for breach.
  • Easements – rights of light and air, rights of way, drainage rights.
  • Restrictive covenants – modification, construction, enforceability.
  • Land registration – mortgages, fraud, adjudication claims.
  • Mines and Minerals – meaning of easement and other freehold mineral rights, registration, whether leases are mining leases.
  • Nuisance – noise and odours, animals, neighbour disputes.
  • Trespass – remedies including negotiating damages.
  • Trusts of land and Proprietary Estoppel – claims to beneficial interests.
  • Party Walls – challenges, statutory interpretation, appeals.
  • Compulsory Purchase – advising on compensation levels relating to HS2.
  • Property related professional negligence – valuers, surveyors and solicitors.

Martin’s recent cases of particular note include:

  • Restrictive Covenants – acting for the appellant in the Supreme Court in Housing Solutions Ltd v Alexander Devine Cancer Trust [2020] (the first case under s.84(1) to reach the highest court).
  • Restrictive Covenants – acting in the Court of Appeal for one of the appellants in Bath Rugby v Greenwood and others [2021] (a leading modern annexation case).
  • Restrictive Covenants – acting in the Court of Appeal for successful appellants in Birdlip v Hunter [2016], the leading modern building scheme case, as well as for successful respondents in a case turning on s.56(1) of the Law of Property Act 1925: Kensell v Khoury [2020].
  • Modification of Restrictive Covenants – acting for successful objectors in the Upper Tribunal, regarding a development of flats, based on ‘thin end of the wedge’ arguments: Morris v Brookmans Park Roads Ltd [2021]. Other recent reported modification cases in which Martin has acted for intended developers include: Signature of St Albans (Guernsey) Ltd v Wragg [2019] and Re O’Byrne’s Application [2018]. He also appeared for the applicant in the Upper Tribunal decisions in Re: Barrowsfield [2022] and Re Great Jackson Street [2023].
  • Commercial leases – acting for Manchester Airport (landlord) in successful claim against tenants for the recovery of substantial electricity and gas supply charges arising from private utility networks: Manchester Airport Plc v Radisson Hotel Ltd [2021].
  • Commercial leases – acting for successful local authority landlord in claim for termination of building lease for non-fulfilment of conditions subsequent; Wigan BC v Scullindale [2021]. He is also presently acting for Plymouth Council in relation to a forfeiture issue regarding leases of Plymouth Airport.
  • Commercial leases – renewal of leases and the effect of the pandemic: acting in multiple renewals of Boots’ leases, raising substantial issues including concerning term length and rental levels in the post pandemic market: HPUT Trustee No 1 Ltd v Boots UK Ltd [2021].
  • Commercial leases – acting for major supermarket chain in claims to acquire freehold reversion pursuant to lease option.
  • Commercial leases – Sunlife v Tiger [2014]. Successfully acting for a landlord in the Court of Appeal in a ground-breaking dilapidations claim in which the tenant had claimed that a refurbishment meant that the claim was negated by supersession. (The leading modern case on the principle of supersession). He is also presently instructed in a dilapidations claim for the landlord against HSBC, with a claim value of over £15M; and recently, was involved in the settlement of a claim for a tenant which concerned the lease of a former London hospital, where the original claim was said to be worth over £30M.
  • Commercial leases – Heysham Port v Peterson [2021] acting for landlord in claim against tenant pursuant to Jervis v Harris notice.
  • Commercial leases – acting for owner of Brunswick Centre in dilapidations claim against LB Camden.
  • Commercial leases – breach of tenant’s easements by landlord; rights and remedies: Brothers Enterprises v New World [2019].
  • Easements – appearing in the Court of Appeal for the successful respondent in Elwood v Goodman [2013] (registration; and benefit and burden (enforceability of positive covenants)).
  • Mineral leases – advising on the effect of grant and reservations of mineral rights.
  • Development agreements – Dorchester v BNP Paribas [2013] successful appeal to the Court of Appeal relating to the construction of a confidentiality agreement concerning property deal and breaches of confidence.
  • Trusts of land – Williams v Lemas/Sealy [2013]. Successful resistance to appeal regarding the Henderson and issue estoppel in a trust of land.
  • Expert determination – acting for a landowner in dispute regarding the developer’s best endeavours obligations in the development Acting as independent expert in determination of dispute regarding management of multiple properties.
  • Party Walls – interpretation of statute; appeals – Kaye v Lawrence [2011]. Also appeared for the successful respondent in the first case under the Party Walls (Etc) Act 1996 to reach the Court of Appeal (Zissis v Lukomski [2006]).
  • Commercial leases – acting for landlord/developer in claims against tenants for failing to fit out premises and open for trade, and defending supermarkets in ‘keep open’ covenant disputes.
  • Residential leases – acting for tenant claiming a binding residential tenancy agreement and repayment of sums on the basis of unjust enrichment: Publity AG v Chesterhill Properties [2016].
  • Mineral leases – advising landlords and adjoining owners (developers) regarding the effect of mineral leases and easement rights.
  • Property-related insolvency – acting for a foreign property owner in dispute with a liquidator as to the ownership of valuable residential properties in London. He has also acted for landlords in relation to both the Paperchase CVA and the Poundstretcher CVA.
  • Commercial and residential (mixed use) buildings – Martin has acted and advised on numerous Building Safety Act 2022 matters including:
    • Advising commercial landlords regarding recovery for cladding and non -cladding remediation work potentially caught by the BSA 2022, in relation to mixed use buildings; and issues relating to recovery of service charges.
    • Advising residential tenants and landlords (including Almacantar) relating to the definitions and meaning of terms contained in the BSA 2022.
    • Acting for Almacantar in claims for curtain wall remediation works at Centre Point House including advising on the implications of the Building Safety Act 2022 (due for hearing in January 2022).

Download Property CV

  • Quote symbolThe breadth of Martin's knowledge of real estate litigation is astonishing.

    Chambers & Partners 2023

  • Quote symbolIf you want calm and measured advice on a real estate litigation matter then Martin is who you should instruct.

    The Legal 500 2024

  • Quote symbolMartin is the go-to KC for restrictive covenant claims where his experience is second to none. He is easy to deal with, knowledgeable and a fantastically calm advocate.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolThe quality of his legal opinions is second to none.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolHe is technically brilliant but also so great at teasing out the arguments in court to bring the judge around to his way of thinking.

    The Legal 500 2024

Property insights & events View all thought leadership View all events

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    Articles

    Green, brown and grey belts: modifying restrictive covenants, and the Upper Tribunal’s Discretion

    Article by Martin Hutchings KC, 20th May 2024 To read or download this article as a PDF, please click here. Introduction Why s.84(1) powers of the Upper Tribunal matter. The powers of the UT are important to developers because they are... Read more

    By Martin Hutchings KC
    Monday 20 May 2024

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    External Conferences

    White Paper’s Commercial Property Leases Conference

    Thursday 16th May 2024
    The Caledonian Club, London

    Speakers:
    Martin Hutchings KC

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    News

    Wilberforce features in two of Estates Gazette’s Top 10 Cases of 2022

    EG (Estates Gazette) has released its annual podcast, discussing the most significant property law cases of the past year, and we are pleased to announce that Wilberforce members appear in case number 1 and case number 3 on the 2022... Read more

    Friday 6 January 2023

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    External Conferences

    Property Litigation Association Autumn Training Day 2022

    Tuesday 29th November 2022
    The Royal Society of Medicine, London

    Speakers:
    Martin Hutchings KC | James McCreath

    View more

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Professional liability

Martin acts in professional liability matters relating to property professionals including valuers, solicitors and barristers. Martin is involved in numerous claims both for and against property professionals including valuers, managing agents, solicitors and barristers.

He acted for successful claimants suing a fraudulent solicitor regarding property purchases including in LIV Bridging Finance Ltd v EAD Solicitors LLP [2020]; a claim for equitable compensation against the solicitor.

He is acting in a claim for a property company against solicitors relating to the negligent service of property notices, inhibiting the successful rescission of property sale contracts.

He acted for claimants who recovered substantial damages arising from a surveyor’s negligent failure to advise on time limits for the issuing of a compulsory purchase compensation claim.

Martin is involved in a number of substantial property-related professional negligence claims including:

  • Acting for a high street bank in several lenders’ claims against a variety of valuers.
  • Defending a national firm of solicitors in relation to allegations concerning the wrongful appointment of a property receiver.
  • Acting for the claimant in claims against a solicitor for negligence involving title issues regarding a high-profile residential development.
  • Acting for the claimant in a claim against managing agents for negligence in the management of several blocks of flats.
  • Acting for claimants in claim against solicitors relating to advice given and notices served pursuant to the Telecoms Code(s) old and new.
  • Acting for developer claimants against 3 sets of solicitors, regarding alleged negligence in relation to (i) service of completion notices (ii) the conduct of subsequent litigation relating to the notces and (iii) failed schemes devised by solicitors seeking to avoid the effects of unilateral notices.
  • Acting for a property developer in relation to a claim against solicitors for negligent failure to draw attention to easement rights that affected the developer’s prospects of successfully developing land that the developer had purchased.
  • Successfully striking out a claim against a barrister for alleged negligence in advice given relating to a profit a prendre (fishing rights).
  • Defending solicitors in a claim relating to leasehold enfranchisement proceedings (Katchukian v Kosky Seal [2010]).
  • Defending lawyers in a claim arising from advice given as to the enforceability of development agreements (Ridgewood v Kilpatrick Stockton LLP and Otters [2014]).
  • Acting for claimants regarding negligent advice relating to negligent drafting of easements, restrictive covenants and pre-emption agreements.
  • Acting for solicitor defendants regarding potentially negligent drafting of reserved mining rights.

Download Professional liability CV

  • Quote symbolThe quality of his legal opinions is second to none.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolHe is technically brilliant but also so great at teasing out the arguments in court to bring the judge around to his way of thinking.

    The Legal 500 2024

  • Quote symbolHis advice is always produced with an understanding of the commercial position of the client and a view to the strategy needed to succeed.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolHe is easy to deal with, knowledgeable and a fantastically calm advocate.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolHe is pre-eminent in his field, a phenomenal asset... He is also great with clients.

    Chambers & Partners 2023

Professional liability insights & events View all thought leadership View all events

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    Events / Webinars

    Professional Liability Conference 2019

    Thursday 31 January 2019 | 8.30am - 1.00pm followed by lunch
    One Moorgate Place, Chartered Accountants Hall, London EC2R 6EA

    £75 + VAT | 3.0 CPD

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Domestic arbitration

Martin acts frequently in property-related arbitrations and expert determinations.

He has recently acted:

  • For a landowner in an expert determination relating to a failure by a developer to use best endeavours to secure planning permission.
  • For an arbitrator, providing advice regarding the construction of lease repairing provisions.
  • In an arbitration for a landowner bringing claims against public utilities.
  • In the Court of Appeal resisting a challenge to an expert determination under a mining lease – Homepace v SITA [2008].

Download Domestic arbitration CV

  • Quote symbolThe quality of his legal opinions is second to none.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolHe is technically brilliant but also so great at teasing out the arguments in court to bring the judge around to his way of thinking.

    The Legal 500 2024

  • Quote symbolHis advice is always produced with an understanding of the commercial position of the client and a view to the strategy needed to succeed.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolHe is easy to deal with, knowledgeable and a fantastically calm advocate.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolHe is pre-eminent in his field, a phenomenal asset... He is also great with clients.

    Chambers & Partners 2023

Martin's Details

BSB/VAT information

Registered name: Martin Anthony Hutchings KC
VAT number: 440532385

Privacy Notice pdf

Qualifications and Appointments

  • MA (Oxon) Modern History

Memberships

  • Property Bar Association
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • Pro Bono Unit panel

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