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Zoë Barton

Call: 2003   

+44 (0)20 7306


Zoë’s property practice encompasses all aspects of disputes related to property, ranging from landlord and tenant and real property, to general commercial chancery disputes with a tangential property angle, such as property frauds and failed joint ventures. Her clients include major infrastructure providers such as Network Rail, utility companies, government departments, commercial investors, high street retailers, developers, lenders, liquidators and administrators and even a sovereign state.

Zoë regularly accepts invitations to speak to the Property Litigation Association, both regionally and at the annual conference in Oxford, and has also spoken to the RICS Dilapidations Forum.

Examples of Zoë’s related work includes:

  • Acting in a claim regarding an alleged trespass in connection with the construction of a development on a constrained site where the extent of a right of way and the basis of calculation of negotiating damages is in dispute
  • Acting in a multi-party dispute as to the ownership of bearer shares in offshore corporations that own London properties and which includes various alleged frauds and a derivative action for breach of fiduciary duty in respect of a purported sale at less than the best price reasonably obtainable
  • Advising against the background of a conflict of interests in respect of a property collective investment scheme operated via a limited partnership as to the duties of good faith owed by limited partners and the general partner
  • Acting for trustees in respect of claims relating to property, including as to possible s.423 claims
  • Defending in three-week Chancery division trial of two competing proprietary estoppel claims in respect of land in Berkshire, settled after cross-examination of both claimants’ cases
  • Advising as to beneficial ownership and/or equities which arise by reason of constructive trust, proprietary estoppel, including in respect of failed joint ventures in a commercial context
  • Acting in High Court proceedings for the registered proprietor of a charge securing sums advanced for a property development venture after the charge was fraudulently removed from the register. Issues of voidable transactions, tacking on, priority and the availability of subrogation to earlier charges
  • Acting in claims for indemnities from the Land Registry
  • Acting in proceedings concerning sale and purchase agreements, including where breach of warranty and fraudulent misrepresentation/deceit are alleged
  •  Acting in proceedings for rectification of registered titles by reason of mistake and the associated proper construction, alternatively rectification of conveyances by which land was ‘double-conveyed’
  • Advising as to the effect on enforcement of a transfer of a registered charge from a sole proprietor to joint ones where those parties treated the underlying debt as assigned in shares between them
  • Acting for claimant in respect of claims in negligence, nuisance and the rule in Rylands v Fletcher arising from chemical pollution that emanated from neighbouring land
  • Advising as to the proper construction of provisions related to practical completion, development agreements, options, overage and clawback payments and their protection
  • Obtaining judgment for defendant wife whose marital home had been charged as security for repayment of sums by husband who had guaranteed a company’s borrowing facility where the land was held by the couple on trust, the transaction was void by reason of a presented bankruptcy petition and / or voidable by reason of undue influence (Goldcrest Distribution v McCole [2016] EWHC 1571 Ch)
  • Mortgage fraud cases, including for a Premiership and England international footballer, typically involving forged documents often by a husband or father
  • Advising as to the exercise of break notices and rent review provisions and their construction, disrepair claims and other landlord and tenant covenants
  •  1954 Act claims, both opposed and unopposed, frequently in connection with break clauses and ground (f)
  • Obtaining first registration before First Tier Tribunal of farmland with significant development potential where the legal and beneficial ownership was disputed and there were allegations of forgery in respect of a conveyance and declaration of trust and assertions of adverse possession (Caston v Farnese [2015] UKFTT 0629 (PC))
  • Advising and appearing for and against receivers and insolvency practitioners in respect of vesting orders, disclaimers, disputes as to the beneficial ownership of property, void property dispositions, shams, transactions to prejudice creditors, property expenses as
    administrations expenses, the proper execution of deeds for sale of land
  • Obtaining possession in ‘difficult’ cases, such as of a crack whore house in a suspected case of cuckooing of the tenant who had resided since the 1940s and in cases, often in the High Court, where there are safety or public order concerns
  • Mercantile Court trial for a claim in contract and quantum meruit for a brokerage fee arising out of the introduction of a lender to a large property development project in Oxfordshire
  •  High Court trial for the successful claimant in a dilapidations claim concerning industrial premises affected by the Buncefield oil depot explosion (Twinmar Holdings Limited v Klarius UK Limited [2013] EWHC 944 (TCC))
  • Advising and appearing at trial in claims concerning FSMA regulated activities (such as regulated mortgage contracts) and permission of the Court to enforce where the lender is not an authorised person
  • Claims concerning trespass and / or adverse possession
  • Claims for accounts and related equitable remedies in cases of breach of trust or fiduciary duty in the context of property ownership e.g. in cases of joint ownership and in relationships of landlord and agent
  • Seeking vesting orders and appointment of trustees in respect of land
  •  Advising in respect of claim against concerning the enforcement by a lender of security over land in Dubai raising issues as to conflict of laws and the application of Golden Victory to the assessment of damages, assertions ranging between nominal and $2billion
  • Acting for Network Rail in proceedings concerning various easements at Manchester Piccadilly and issues of excessive user in the context of redevelopment at and around the site
  •  Acting for an investment vehicle in dispute with a US Court appointed receiver in respect of the control of investment fund monies paid into Court in England against the backdrop of allegations of fraud and an investigation by the US Commodity Futures Trading
  • Claims with allegations of sham trusts and void dispositions
  • Claims concerning the enforceability of charges and personal guarantees, including successfully resisting summary judgment on the basis of prima facie evidence of fraud affecting another agreement entered into at a similar time by the same parties, which required the further investigation of the court (a rare application of Miles v Bull)
  • Acting for claimant in the recovery of a central London property he had transferred to a blackmailer who had threatened to reveal their homosexual relationship to the claimant’s family and prominent members of his religious community; importantly, anonymity was maintained for the claimant, his name not appearing even on the face of proceedings