Tanfield Chambers – Chambers UK 2022

21st October 2021

Tanfield Chambers have confirmed their position amongst the top property sets, being recognised by Chambers UK as a leading set for real estate litigation, ranked in Band 2.

The directory which ranks the top UK sets and barristers in their area of specialism has reported:

Tanfield Chambers is highlighted for the expertise of its members in landlord and tenant disputes. Recent matters handled by barristers at Tanfield have involved lease disputes, restrictive covenants and development issues. The team has a strong knowledge of enfranchisement and members have recently been instructed in numerous high-profile cases including Hope Community Church (Wymondham) v Phelan, the second case in 100 years on qualification under the Places for Worship (Enfranchisement) Act 1920. One source says that the set shows “outstanding professionalism”, and another notes that it has “impressive barristers.”

They also highlighted the client service and senior practice managers, stating:

Billy Forecast, Richard Powell and Alex Southern are the senior practice managers. “Without exaggerating, the clerking team at Tanfield, and Alex Southern in particular, lead the field in London.” “We always receive excellent service from the set including the clerks and in particular Billy Forecast. There is always someone available to assist even at short notice.” “The clerks are incredibly helpful and know exactly how to match a barrister with a piece of work.”

Full results can be found here or on the individual barrister profiles.

Real Estate Litigation

Ranked Senior Barristers

Continues to be regarded as one of the Bar’s finest property silks and has an excellent reputation for his enfranchisement work. His practice is also centred on expert determination, fraud claims and easements. He serves as head of Tanfield Chambers. He is experienced in all manner of landlord and tenant matters and is an advocate for reform of the law in this area.

Strengths: “He is a cool, calm and collected advocate who is able to adeptly think on his feet in the face of extremely complicated and unique points of law.”

“He is an absolute expert in enfranchisement.”

Recent work: Instructed by a group of leaseholders in a successful second appeal seeking to exercise the right to collective enfranchisement of a block of flats, as well as trying to acquire interests in the basement, the subsoil beneath the block and the airspace above it, which had been let on long leases.

Kerry Bretherton QC is an accomplished silk with a wealth of expertise in real estate litigation. Her cases include complex rights of way and boundary matters, as well as option and forfeiture issues.

Strengths: “She is thorough, incredibly astute, generous with her time and of course her knowledge speaks for itself.”

“She is highly efficient and takes time to talk through her views and ensure that her advice has been understood.”

Recent work: Successfully acted for the owners of a house in a right of way case concerning a driveway that provided access to a house and a cottage. The case gained the attention of the press as the claimant was an Olympic athlete and the defendant was a sports reporter.

Christopher Heather QC handles cases concerning easements, boundaries and a wide range of other property disputes. He is especially noted for his enfranchisement work, and he frequently works with leading instructing solicitors. His clients include property companies and both commercial and residential landlords and tenants.

Strengths: “I respect his judgement and his advocacy is absolutely top-notch, as was his guidance during a case.”

“He knows the field well and is astute in his analysis.”

Recent work: Continued to act for Wagamama in defence of a claim brought by the developers of the Eastbourne Arndale Centre to enforce an agreement that Wagamama would take a lease of premises being constructed in the extension to the centre.

Timothy Polli QC is particularly noted for his strong practice in matters relating to mortgage law and other securities over land. He also advises on service charge disputes, rights to light and party wall issues, among other cases.

Strengths: “He is extremely approachable and has a very good ability to look at any angle and prepares the client as a consequence of that.”

“He has excellent attention to detail and is meticulous in his preparation and research, whilst providing practical, commercial advice.”

Recent work: Acted for Barclays Bank in a mortgage fraud case heard in the Court of Appeal. The case included consideration of issues of land registration.

Andrew Butler QC handles both mainstream property rights disputes and commercial real estate cases. He is particularly adept at tackling the company law issues which often arise in these matters. He regularly appears in all levels of court, including the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

Strengths: “He’s an excellent counsel and the pleadings he drafts are top-notch. He cuts through the paperwork.”

“He is great with clients.”

Recent work: Instructed in Tulsa Settlement v Cocks, a neighbour boundary dispute concerning the meaning of an original settlement and whether the Party Wall Act 1996 applied.

Nicholas Isaac QC is an authority on the full range of issues arising in disputes involving party walls. He has authored an important legal textbook on the subject. His real estate practice also incorporates easement and boundary matters.

Strengths: “He is very accessible and unfazed by things and that gives you massive confidence working with him.”

“He is considered, focused and approachable.”

Recent work: Acted in a boundary dispute between two commercial property owners.

Ranked Junior Barristers

Mark Loveday is best known as an expert in high-value enfranchisement matters. He has also acted on multiple dilapidations cases, as well as contentious rent reviews, forfeitures and service charge disputes. He edits a textbook on the law surrounding service charges and regularly contributes to articles and journals.

Strengths: “He gives clear and pragmatic advice and is an excellent tribunal advocate.”

Recent work: Acted in Dell v 89 Holland Park Management, an application for determination that the landlord wrongfully demanded legal costs for the 89 Holland Park Management Ltd v Hicks case through its service charges.

Michael Buckpitt is a prominent property junior with a practice that focuses on landlord and tenant law. He is further noted for his dedication to leasehold enfranchisement and his representation of retailers in protest cases. Buckpitt represents developer clients in relation to commercial property matters. He is also known for his work in non-contentious matters with a focus on development sites.

Strengths: “Michael is very versatile and he is persuasive and tenacious.”

“A tough operator who gives very thorough opinions, rolls his sleeves up and roughs it out in court.”

Recent work: Acted for Canada Goose UK Retail in a case concerned with injunctions against unknown protestors at retail settings.

Daniel Dovar has a diverse commercial and residential property practice, specialising in contentious landlord and tenant matters. He is frequently sought out by clients for guidance on leasehold disputes, as well as conveyancing disputes and professional negligence matters. Dovar also has significant niche expertise in work relating to hotels and shopping centres.

Strengths: “Daniel is an undeniable authority on possession claims and is well known for his approachability. He can be called on to assist with any property litigation matter, such is the breadth of his knowledge.”

“He is commercially minded and cuts through the issues to find a practical solution for the client.”

Recent work: Acted in a large compensation case in the Upper Tribunal with compensation claimed of around £450 million following a compulsory purchase order.

James Fieldsend offers pragmatic advice to his clients regarding service charge disputes and leasehold enfranchisement. He also handles matters relating to boundaries and easements. Fieldsend is a published author who is known for his work applying human rights conventions to property disputes.

Strengths: “He is an impressive advocate at trial.”

“James has an excellent grasp of technical matters and arguments.”

“His attention to detail is phenomenal and he can hold his own against QCs.”

Recent work: Acted for the landlord in a service charge dispute concerning a luxury development. It raised questions over the relationship between the service charge provisions in a lease, the statutory protections given to leaseholders under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and consumer protection legislation.

Nicola Muir focuses her practice on residential and commercial landlord and tenant disputes, and has significant experience in the Court of Appeal. She is known for her work on leasehold enfranchisement and service charge cases.

Strengths: “Nicola works exceedingly well with our clients and consistently obtains exceptional results.”

“She is very solid and experienced.”

Recent work: Acted for the tenant in Capital Direct Company v Fuller, an appeal regarding whether the right to forfeit had been waived by the respondent.

Ellodie Gibbons is a widely respected property junior known for advising on commercial and residential landlord disputes. Her practice includes service and administration charge issues, right to manage cases and enfranchisement claims.

Strengths: “She gives very good practical advice on the complexities of leasehold enfranchisement.”

“She is very approachable and easy to work with.”

Recent work: Acted for the freeholder in an application brought on behalf of leaseholders of 19 flats. The leaseholders challenged the cost of works, service charges and alleged breaches of the freeholder’s repairing obligations.

Marc Glover regularly handles cases involving easements, boundary disputes and property development, including those with many millions of pounds at stake. Glover has handled cases in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. His clients range from high net worth individuals to oil companies.

Strengths: “He is commercial and he keeps that in his mind during the case. His best attribute is that he understands the client’s business.”

“He is a born advocate.”

Recent work: Instructed by the London Mayor’s Office in a claim for possession of Paddington Green Police Station against political trespassers.

Rebecca Cattermole is an established barrister with a strong reputation for residential, commercial and agricultural real estate work. She is highly experienced in matters involving service charge disputes and dilapidations, and is very strong on the interrelationship of human rights with landlord and tenant law.

Strengths: “She is excellent at getting to grips with the technicalities.”

“Her knowledge is very impressive. Her written work is concise and powerful.”

Recent work: Instructed in Spencer v Ministry of Defence, an agricultural tenant’s challenge to a notice to quit concerning whether a tenant can rely on an equitable set-off of unliquidated claims for damages in order to invalidate a notice to pay rent and in turn render a notice to quit invalid.

Carl Fain is a talented property barrister with expertise in business tenancy renewals, service charge disputes and dilapidation claims. His practice also takes in landlord and tenant matters, mortgage-related claims and property-related professional negligence cases. He has experience in significant possession disputes.

Strengths: “He provides clear and concise opinions and is also a tenacious advocate.”

“He has a flexible approach and grasps the commercial drivers of any particular matter.”

Recent work: Acted for Queen Court Freehold in a second appeal as to whether the leases of airspace, basement and subsoil are common parts that could be acquired by the nominee purchaser by collective enfranchisement.

Jonathan Upton regularly handles matters concerning high-value properties and is an expert in such areas as tenants’ rights of first refusal, right to manage and enfranchisement. Commentators note that he really comes into his own in cases concerning service charges.

Strengths: “He is a very good technical specialist on service charge disputes.”

“He is an absolute master of the First-tier Tribunal.”

“His written arguments are spot-on and convincing.”

Recent work: Acted for the lessees in a dispute over whether payment under a management order is a service charge under Section 18 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

Amanda Gourlay is particularly recognised for her expertise in the field of service charges. Gourlay is regularly instructed by lessees on a public access basis. She also regularly handles the full range of landlord and tenant law matters, as well as those relating to trusts of land and co-ownership disputes.

Strengths: “A real specialist in service charge work.”

Michael Walsh acts for landlords, developers, local government bodies and large institutional lenders in a broad range of property-related cases. He regularly handles matters concerning development issues, agricultural land and commercial property, and often acts in urgent hearings concerning the repossession of land. He is a visiting lecturer in property law at King’s College London.

Strengths: “He had an ability to think on his feet and creatively problem-solve.”

“He is user-friendly, responsive and a strong advocate.”

Recent work: Acted in Arkin v Marshall & Lord Chancellor, the first case to reach the Court of Appeal concerning the Covid-19 legislation related to possession actions.

Piers Harrison is a technical and creative junior who is known for his exceptional command of leasehold matters, and enfranchisement in particular.

Strengths: “Piers is excellent on his feet and is always able to effectively read a tribunal or court to obtain the best result for a client. He is exceptionally skilled at dealing with difficult parties.”

“His written advice is always well considered, comprehensive and practical.”

“He has an innovative and creative approach to enfranchisement issues.”

Recent work: Instructed in a three-day trial concerning the validity of notices in the enfranchisement field.

Social Housing

Ranked Junior Barristers

Rebecca Cattermole is a landlord and tenant specialist with an enviable understanding of the property aspects of social housing law, as well as anti-social behaviour and housing management issues. She has handled cases right up to the Supreme Court, and is further noted for her expertise in leasehold disputes.

Strengths: “She is a knowledgeable counsel who is particularly good for complex cases involving Equality Act issues.”

“She’s impressive, straightforward and has a good sense of strategy.”

Sam Madge-Wyld regularly represents both tenants and landlords, including a variety of local authorities, housing associations and applicants. He acts in a wide range of social housing disputes, and has particular experience of appearing in judicial reviews and real estate litigation. His considerable knowledge of immigration law complements his social housing work. Madge-Wyld also has notable experience of handling service charge disputes.

Strengths: “He is very good at finding public law points in otherwise normal cases and grasps the depth of issues involved in these sorts of cases.”

Recent work: Represented LMSL Property Management in appeals against the imposition of many civil penalties totalling over £200,000.

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

Ranked Junior Barristers

Rebecca Cattermole is an experienced real property junior with a growing agriculture and rural affairs practice. She is particularly well known for her work on landlord and tenant matters, as well as boundary disputes.

Strengths: “She is excellent at getting to grips with the technicalities.”

Recent work: Continued to act in Spencer v Ministry of Defence, a case concerning an agricultural tenant’s challenge to a notice to quit.

Karen Jones is a well-known rights of way specialist with a rural focus to her practice. She regularly acts in town and village green applications for local authorities and landowners. Her clients also include agents, developers, estates and parish councils.

Strengths: “She is really good on rights of way and access matters.”

Matrimonial Finance

Ranked Junior Barristers

Matrimonial finance junior who handles all manner of proceedings following relationship dissolution, including those relating to TOLATA and complex assets. She is committed to providing an affordable service to a wide range of clients with middle to high net worth.

Strengths: “She’s well prepared, empathetic and someone with good negotiation skills.”

Focuses his practice on family and property law, and is a true expert in the financial aspects of relationship dissolution. His practice covers cases which have tax, asset and jurisdictional angles to them. Wilson is particularly highly regarded for his expertise in matters involving same-sex couples.

Strengths: “There is nothing he does not know, but he is so down-to-earth that he puts anyone at ease. Gerald is unerringly calm, reassuring and authoritative. His personable manner and pragmatic approach make him a firm favourite with clients, opponents and judges alike.”

“He is good at handling complex cases for vulnerable, often elderly clients.”

Information Technology – Scotland (Bar)

Ranked Senior Barristers

Iain Mitchell QC is highly regarded for his expert handling of complex matters across the IT law spectrum. He has deep experience in such areas as data protection, commercial contracts and software licensing. He is a member of the CCBE’s IT law committee.

Strengths: “His knowledge of IT law is just great, and it’s not just fun but also fulfilling from a legal perspective to work with Iain.”

Recent work: Advised Open UK on lobbying and consultations in relation to open standards and the public procurement of IT software and hardware.

Intellectual Property – Scotland (Bar)

Iain Mitchell QC is a seasoned advocate with experience across the full spectrum of IP disputes. He is noted for his complementary expertise in IT and technology law and is routinely called on to tackle complex litigation relating to IP licences and other commercial agreements.

Commercial Dispute Resolution – Scotland (Bar)

Iain Mitchell QC is a member of both the Scottish and English Bars. His varied commercial practice takes in contract disputes as well as wider issues including finance services regulation. He is particularly experienced in banking and commercial property matters. He is also an accredited mediator in both Scotland and Ireland.

Strengths: “He has a first-rate mind and is an original thinker. He is an excellent collaborator who is utterly charming.”

Recent work: Acted for the Colstoun Trust and two other commercial pursuers in three linked claims against the Scottish Ministers. The claims alleged infringement of the ECHR relating to the rights of landlords and members of limited partnerships.




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