John commenced his practice at 9 Old Square in March 1985 merging with Maitland in 2004. The majority of his work is and always has been litigation and other forms of dispute resolution including mediation (he is a CEDR accredited mediator) and arbitration. He is a member of the Civil Procedure Rules Committee.
John is known for dealing with disputes which cross-over a variety of areas of law, although his main work specialisms are across the commercial chancery and real estate fields. John is always willing to travel out of chambers, and historically a substantial element of his practice has been located in the North-West. He also writes articles (most recently on the Courts’ developing approaches to mediation) and gives seminars. He is willing to consider acting under conditional fee agreements. John’s personal interests include family, church, contract bridge and real tennis. He also sits as a Deputy District Judge (Civil, including Chancery, Companies and Bankruptcy, and some Family).
Recently John has been concerned with:
- The question of whether or not the benefit of an agricultural restrictive covenant could be annexed to relevant land where it had been taken contemporaneously with a development overage agreement, and so as to potentially affect a major development opportunity. John appeared for one of the successful parties in Bryant and others v Stein and others  EWHC 2435
- Professional Negligence disputes including resolving claims to recover substantial losses arising from offshore investments being lost in a major Ponzi Scheme
- Proprietary tracing claims and personal claims arising from director’s breaches of fiduciary duty
- Whether or not a company is charitable and consequential restructuring
- Litigation in the Administrative Court contesting HMRC’s attempts to implement recent retrospective accelerated tax recovery legislation
- Land Registration indemnity and possession claims seeking to recover in respect of liabilities for care home accommodation fees; acting for a local authority
- Nuisance and negligence claims in relation to flooding of a residential development from a public park; acting against a local authority
- Claims between homeowners and a statutory authority regarding boundaries, adverse possession, rights of way and light and other easements
- Whether a solicitor loses a right to fees against a first client as a result of acting second client when they had agreed with the first client not to act for that second client
- Landlord and tenant covenants, rent reviews and break clauses.
Areas of Practice
John has acted in numerous fraud (and negligent misrepresentation) claims both for claimants and defendants, and on both liability, proprietary and personal remedy, and quantum issues. This has extended to claims of dishonesty and deliberate breach of duty on the part of directors and professionals as well as senior employees. John has also dealt with claims for consequential enforcement against pension funds.
Real Estate and other Property Litigation
John has acted across the real estate field. He has been instructed in many cases for and against developers and in particular with regard to sale, trespass, adverse possession, restrictive and other covenant, rights of way and light and other easements, disputes. He has various reported cases in relation to access and ransom strips. He also acts in relation to sale and conveyancing, mortgages and security interests, landlord and tenant (commercial and residential, and including rent and rent review, service charge, repaid and dilapidations, user, alteration and alienation covenants, break clauses, and related insolvency). He has a particular interest in registered land and claims for rectification and indemnity, including where transfers have been forged and related professional negligence, and has been a main contributor to the Chancery Bar Association response to the recent Land Registration consultation. He also deals with general landowner disputes including boundaries, subsoil, hedges, nuisance and negligence.
Company, Partnership, LLP, Insolvency and Restructuring
John has acted in numerous joint venture and related fiduciary matters including: companies (including derivative claims, unfair prejudice petitions, shareholder agreements, fiduciary duty and senior employee contract claims, charitable status, and corporate restructuring); partnerships (and their dissolution, retirements, winding-up, accounts and liabilities); and limited liability partnerships. He has also acted for and against liquidators, administrators and bankruptcy trustees, and insolvents, at various stages in insolvency processes including in relation to: petitions and injunctions to restrain presentation; asset, transaction at an undervalue and preference claims; and also directors’ disqualification.
Lending Transactions and Securities
John has been involved in many banking (including banker-customer as well as mortgage, security and property related matters) and guarantee (in Hampton v Minns he acted for the successful claimant in what remains a leading case on claims between co-sureties) cases.
John has acted in many pure commercial disputes (including in recent years a multi-million pound bankruptcy regarding the finance of international clothing supplies), and insurance (most recently a contested claim for third party indemnity arising out of a gliding accident) cases, involving business contracts, torts and agency; and whether or not they have some fiduciary or other commercial chancery element.
John has acted in various claims for and against local authorities which have required substantial investigation of local government law, including pension schemes, corporate governance, housing and recovery of care home fees. He is experienced in digging down into the relevant statutes and regulations, and administrative law aspects, even if the claim is ostensibly located in a more commercial chancery area of the law.
John has acted in numerous professional negligence cases, mainly involving barristers, solicitors, accountants, surveyors and valuers, mostly for claimants but on occasion for defendants. Often these cases have had a property or finance connection.
Wills, Trusts and Estates
John has significant experience of contentious probate and estates work. He acted in Re: K with regard to the distribution of a sizeable estate notwithstanding the presence of potential creditors; and has in the past acted in a number of Inheritance Act disputes (Re: Robinson still being a leading case with regard to minor children).
While not a tax barrister, John has been involved in cases against the Revenue in relation to vat, income tax and retrospective accelerated payment tax legislation in both the Tax Tribunal and the Administrative Court, and in tax-related professional negligence.
Estates Gazette (27.10.2014) article (with Beverley Vara) on the Courts’ approaches to Mediation and ADR - “PGV and OMFS : Have les autres been encouraged?”
Legal News TV (College of Law) Interview (published on DVD in January 2015) on Recent Case-Law relating to Mediation and Costs
Chancery Bar Association, Commercial Bar Association, Parliamentary Bar Mess, Professional Negligence Bar Association
BA (Oxon) Jurisprudence – 1st Class; Bachelor of Civil Law
CEDR Accredited Mediator
Deputy District Judge (Civil)
Member of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee (2016-)