Tim has more than fifteen years’ experience providing advice and advocacy across the full range of commercial-chancery litigation. He has appeared in courts at all levels, including in the Supreme Court and in the Court of Appeal on many occasions.
Tim frequently appears in applications for urgent interim relief, including for injunctions and freezing and search orders, often at very short notice.
The directories report him to be a “superb advocate”, with “an amazing legal brain that can unlock even the trickiest legal problems”, who “impresses peers and clients alike with his unflappable presence in court” and who is “detailed, clever and tough when he needs to be”.
Sources say “he is just very good to work with. Whatever you give him he takes on with such enthusiasm”; he is “very approachable, commercial and great with clients” and “he is capable of picking up a case at very short notice and knowing it inside out and back to front in no time”.
Areas of practice
Tim has extensive experience of most kinds of real property litigation, including title to land, rights over land, property-related torts and issues surrounding development and property finance. He has particular experience of fisheries and rights over the seashore. His clients range from large developers, estates and property funds to individual owners. Recent cases include:
- Advising a large developer on rights of way serving a development site
- Advising a landowner on the construction of an overage agreement
- Representing the owner of an ancient landed estate in an appeal to the Supreme Court concerning the seaward extent of his private fishery on the seashore
Landlord and Tenant
All kinds of commercial and residential landlord and tenant litigation. His commercial experience covers the whole range of disputes, including contested lease renewals, dilapidations, rent review arbitrations. He has particular interest in the complex issues arising out of tenant insolvency (especially in the retail context); Tim is general editor of Butterworth’s Property Insolvency. Recent experience:
- Representing a national developer in a contested lease renewal relating to a prominent building beside the Thames in London
- Advising a company that acquired the business of a national retailer in administration on the forefeiture of a lease of a major trading site
- Advising a commercial tenant on the efficacy of a defective break notice
Tim’s resi experience covers both long-lease issues – e.g. service charges, enfranchisement, management issues – and those arising from residential tenancies, including protected, statutory, secure and assured tenancies. Clients include large London estates, and registered providers of social housing. Recent cases:
- Advising the freeholder of a prestigious central-London block of flats on applications to the FTT to vary leases so as to allow compliance with the Heat Network Regulations 2015
- Representing a large London landowner in a claim for possession of a prime central London property subject to a statutory tenancy under the Rent Act
Tim also has experience of acting for both landowners and operators in disputes under the Electronic Communications Code, e.g.:
- Representing a local authority in a claim to remove a telecommunications mast from a site earmarked for the development of a new school
- Representing a higher education college and a national developer in a claim to remove a mast from the college’s former premises that was to undergo a major residential development
Mortgage, banking and financial disputes
Tim frequently acts in claims for and against banks. He has a specialism in mortgage litigation, including the creation, construction, priority and enforcement of mortgages, as well as mortgage fraud and mortgage regulation.
- Representing a private bank in a priority dispute in which a subsequent mortgagee alleged misconduct on the part of the bank
- Representing the purchaser of a substantial central London property in a dispute about whether the sale by a mortgagee bank had passed good title in circumstances where the borrower disputed the bank’s right to sell
He has particular experience of acting for receivers and has spoken at the annual conference of the Non-Administrative Receivers Association. Examples:
- Advising a major high-street bank on its procedures for appointing fixed-charge receivers
- Defending receivers in a borrower’s claim that they sold charged property at an undervalue
- Resisting applications for injunctions restraining receivers from dealing with charged property
- Advising on the appointment of receivers by way of equitable execution against a world-famous private art collection
Tim also acts in more general banking disputes, including guarantees, security over chattels and choses in action, asset finance and receivables finance, promissory notes, performance bonds, failure-to-lend cases, misselling of complex financial products and regulation under the FCA Handbook, e.g.:
- Representing a bank in a substantial claim for damages by a business customer for the bank’s allegedly wrongful failure to lend it money
- Representing a bank in a claim for damages by a business customer for the bank’s allegedly negligent operation of its loan-facility account
- Advising a high-net-worth customer on claims against a bank for misselling a complex foreign-currency denominated loan product
Extensive experience of both corporate and personal insolvency. Tim’s experience covers every stage of the insolvency process, including contested petitions and administration applications, contested VAs, proof of claims, directions applications for creditors and office-holders, priority issues between secured creditors and claims relating to antecedent transactions, misfeasance and wrongful and fraudulent trading. Tim has a particular interest in property insolvency.
- Advising liquidators on misfeasance and S.423 claims available following a company’s use of aggressive tax-avoidance schemes that subsequently failed
- Representing the liquidators of a finance company in TUV and preference claims arising out of the restructuring of a major finance group
- Representing a trustee in bankruptcy in a long-running claim to recover a property that was subject to an IVA trust and that had been the subject of orders in matrimonial proceedings between the bankrupt and his wife
Commercial disputes and asset recovery
Tim has substantial experience of business to business disputes in a wide range of contexts and is able to bring his broad knowledge to find creative ways of approaching such litigation. Examples include:
- A substantial claim by a finance house against a train manufacturer relating to the manufacture of train seats
- A claim relating to defective property arising out of a fraudulently procured insurance policy
- A claim to recover assets for a victim of a fraudulent forex-trading Ponzi scheme
Company and Partnership
Every kind of internal company and partnership dispute, including disputes between shareholders and between partners, claims against directors and partners, derivative claims, minority shareholders’ claims, partnership accounts.
Experience of claims against professionals relating to his main areas of practice (both claimant and defendant), including against solicitors (especially in property-related claims), accountants (especially in tax-related claims), receivers, valuers and architects.
He also represents clients in disputes concerning the construction of wills, the appointment and removal of trustees and executors, in contentious probate matters and in cases concerning vulnerable elderly clients.
Notable cases include
Banwaitt v Dewji  EWHC 3441 (Ch); overreaching of equitable charge on sale of beneficial interest in property
Jones v Longley  EWHC 3362 (Ch); removal of executors
Virdi v RK Joinery Ltd  EWHC 3492 (Ch);  All ER(D) 318; third party costs order against witness whose evidence was rejected at trial
Redd Factors Ltd v Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd  EWHC 3138 (QB);  All ER(D) 250; substantial commercial case about manufacturing train seats
Loose v Lynn Shellfish Ltd  EWCA Civ 846;  2 WLR 643; effect of accretion to foreshore on several fishery
Gardner v Clydesdale Bank Plc  EWHC 4356 (Ch); defending claim against bank by developer after failed property development
Smeaton v Equifax Plc  EWCA Civ 108;  2 All ER 959;  Info TLR 1;  BPIR 231; duty owed by credit reference agencies, in tort and under Data Protection Act
Brune v Perkins  EWHC 2977 (QB),  All ER(D) 147; substantial case concerning defective property and fraudulently procured insurance policy
Rubin v Dweck  BPIR 854, represented trustee in bankruptcy in claim to set aside a property transfer under S.423 IA 1986
McGuinness v Norwich & Peterborough BS  EWCA 1286;  2 All ER (Comm) 265;  2 BCLC 233;  BPIR 145; whether a creditor was entitled to present a bankruptcy petition based on a guarantee liability that was actionable in damages only
Clark v Clark  EWHC 2746 (Ch); dispute over testamentary option
Messih v McMillan Williams & Ors  EWCA 844;  CPRep 41;  6 Costs LR 914; costs on discontinuance of professional negligence claim where one defendant had settled whole liability
Re Capitol Films Ltd  EWHC 2240 (Ch); contested asset sale in administration
QFS Scaffolding Ltd v Sable  EWCA Civ 682;  L&TR 30; surrender of lease by operation of law where tenant in administration
Irish Reel Productions Ltd v Capitol Films Ltd  EWHC 180 (Ch);  BusLR 854;  BCC 588; costs of winding-up petition as administration expense
Omotajo v Omotajo  All ER(D)156; occupation rights under TOLATA
Clark v Clark  All ER(D) 186; construction of will
Williamson v Governor & Company of the Bank of Scotland  EWHC 1289 (Ch);  BPIR 1085; applicability of UTCCR 1999 to personal guarantee given by member of LLP to bank
Southwark LBC v Mohammed  EWHC 305 (Ch);  All ER(D) 77; bankruptcy and council-tax liability orders
Coulter v Chief of Dorset Police (No.2)  EWCA Civ 1113;  BPIR 10; abuse of process and relitigation of issues in bankruptcy
Coulter v Chief of Dorset Police  EWCA Civ 1259;  1 WLR 130;  BPIR 62; bankruptcy and assignment of choses in action
Sadrolashrafi v Marvel International Food Logistics Ltd  EWHC 777 (Ch);  BPIR 834; fresh evidence in bankruptcy appeal
Career, publications and memberships
Tim graduated from UCL with a first in philosophy. He was a Hardwicke, Sir Thomas More and Megarry scholar at Lincoln’s Inn and was called to the bar in 1999. He is a member of the Bar Council’s Law Reform Committee.
He is general editor of Butterworth’s Property Insolvency (2015), a new textbook produced by a team of barristers and by lawyers and other professionals from Pinsent Masons LLP and Grant Thornton UK LLP.
Tim has also contributed to property and equity topics in Jowitt’s Dictionary of English Law (3rd edition, Sweet & Maxwell)), and to The Landlord and Tenant Factbook (Sweet & Maxwell) and Annotated Guide to Insolvency Legislation and Practice (Butterworths). He regularly writes articles and has recently written for Estates Gazette, Journal of International Financial and Banking Law, Practical Law Company and R3’s Recovery magazine.
Chancery Bar Association
Insolvency Lawyers Association
Property Bar Association