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Maxim Cardew

Call 2012


Maxim practises in all areas of commercial chancery litigation, with a particular emphasis on property, company and insolvency, and the law of charities.

He is frequently instructed in the High Court and the County Court and is an experienced trial advocate in cases from the small claims track to the multi-track.  He is a member of the Chancery Bar Association, the Property Bar Association, the Contentious Trusts Association, and the Charity Law Association.  He is on the Committee of the Property Bar Association.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Maxim read Philosophy and Theology at Oriel College, Oxford.  He was awarded the Top First in his year and a Gibbs Prize for outstanding performance in Philosophy.  He subsequently obtained a Distinction on his MA in Philosophy from King's College London and was a recipient of the Simon Dally Book Award.

At City University Law School, Maxim received a Distinction in his Graduate Diploma in Law and was marked Outstanding on the Bar Course.  He received scholarships from Gray’s Inn for both of these – including a Bedingfield Scholarship, the highest scholarship awarded by Gray’s Inn, for the Bar Course.

Maxim is a member of the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel. 

Examples of Maxim’s recent work are listed below.


Maxim has an extensive practice in all areas of property litigation, from acting for the claimant in a substantial fraudulent misrepresentation claim relating to prime advertising real estate in London, to advising the Competition and Markets Authority in its review of the potential mis-selling of leasehold property.   He has recently appeared (with John McGhee QC) for the successful defendant in the case of EMI Group Ltd v Prudential Assurance Co Ltd [2020] EWHC 2061 (Ch), which concerned the lease of valuable retail premises on Oxford Street formerly let by HMV, and the construction and validity of guarantees of authorised guarantee agreements. 

Mortgage litigation

  • Instructed on behalf of a major bank which was a Part 20 defendant (together with the Crown Prosecution Service) to proceedings concerning beneficial ownership of property which was subject to a confiscation order.
  • Represented the defendant (Chief Executive of a major bank) at an application to strike out a claim brought by the “trustee” of one of the bank’s customers.  Drafted written submissions for the claimant’s application for permission to appeal.
  • Appeared on behalf of a respondent to an application for permission to appeal in respect of mortgage possession order which had been executed shortly before the hearing.  The applicant was the son of a borrower who, following execution of the possession order, was found to lack capacity.
  • Instructed to represent the respondent to an application for permission to appeal a refusal to grant permission to amend a statement of case. Following refusal of permission, instructed to represent the respondent at a further application by the claimant for permission to amend.
  • Instructed in an application to obtain a final charging order.
  • Maxim is also frequently instructed to represent banks at mortgage possession proceedings.


  • Cravecrest Limited v Sixth Duke of Westminster
    Instructed on behalf of one of the respondents in an appeal to the Supreme Court from [2013] EWCA Civ 731; [2014] Ch 301. The appeal concerned a point of general public importance concerning the principles of valuation in enfranchisement cases arising from the construction of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. The case settled shortly before it was due to be heard in the Supreme Court. Led by Timothy Dutton QC, with whom Maxim subsequently co-authored two articles for the Estates Gazette on the subject-matter of the case.

Professional negligence

  • Advised and drafted the defence in a professional negligence action against solicitors concerning a failure to enter a notice/restriction on the Land Register.
  • Advised and drafted the response to a letter before claim in a professional negligence action against solicitors concerning failure to sever a joint tenancy in accordance with the client’s instructions.

General real estate

  • Advised a property developer on various matters in respect of varying a covenant limiting the use of land to light industrial use, including how to deal with (i) a public highway over unregistered land and (ii) service of proceedings to vary a restrictive covenant benefiting a nation state which was going to use neighbouring land for its new embassy.

Landlord and tenant

Non-residential landlord and tenant

  • Represented the defendant at the hearing of her claim for relief from forfeiture; negotiated a consent order granting relief with opposing counsel. Advised on a complex scenario concerning obligations to repair/contribute to repairs on a site which had been sold-off to various parties on a piecemeal basis.
  • Instructed on behalf of a state entity to advise on rights and remedies against a country which uses state land for its embassy and consulate. Maxim’s primary focus was on the issues surrounding state and diplomatic immunity raised by the case.
  • Appeared on behalf of a local authority in Landlord and Tenant 1954 Act proceedings concerning termination of a tenancy and intention to redevelop, in respect of land used by the Secretary of State for the local Job Centre.  Instructed for the costs and case management conference and subsequent telephone directions hearing.
  • Advised on whether a landlord was out of time in respect of a rent review clause.
  • Represented the claimant landlord at a possession claim based on forfeiture for breach of covenant in a commercial property.
  • Instructed to appear at the hearing of a possession claim against trespassers in an abandoned commercial property. Obtained the order and negotiated with the persons unknown when they arrived at court.

Residential landlord and tenant

  • Maxim is regularly instructed to advise on the construction of leases, and is frequently instructed by landlords in possession proceedings, service charge and disrepair disputes.  Maxim has also been instructed by tenants in residential possession proceedings.
  • Represented the claimants at the fast-track trial of a claim for possession involving an “old” (pre-1997) assured shorthold tenancy.  Led pre-trial conferences with the clients and represented them in procedural hearings including an application to amend.
  • Represented the defendant, a major national landlord, at the hearing of a claim for disrepair.

Company and Insolvency

Maxim has a huge amount of experience in all aspects of company and insolvency law, both from his private practice and as counsel for HMRC, the Secretary of State for Business, and the Official Receiver, and he frequently appears in the High Court and County Court as sole advocate and as a junior on such matters.

He has particular experience in the following:

  • Contested winding-up and bankruptcy petitions
  • Directors disqualification and breaches of duty by company officers
  • Unfair prejudice petitions and other shareholder disputes
  • A wide range of company and insolvency interlocutory applications, including in relation to the appointment of administrators

Maxim’s notable cases include Re TPD Investments Ltd (also known as Destiny Investments (1993) Ltd and Another v TH Holdings Ltd and Others) [2016] EWHC 657 (Ch) (led by Catherine Newman QC), multi-million pound unfair prejudice proceedings against the majority shareholder and directors of a property investment company that owned three of the largest hotels in Europe.

He is also currently instructed in one of the most significant corporate insolvencies of the last decade. 


  • Maria Galazi and Another v Christopher Christoforou and Others and Wellsford Securities Ltd and Another v Christopher Christoforou and Others [2019] EWHC 670 (Ch).  A substantial multi-party dispute between high net worth members of a Greek-Cypriot family and connected UK and offshore companies, worth approximately £7.5 million.  The case has led, at an interlocutory stage, to a significant judgment by Chief Master Marsh on the Civil Procedure Rules relating to discontinuance and indemnity costs.  Reported on Lawtel (LTL 27/3/2019) and discussed on Practical Law’s dispute resolution blog and Lexis Nexis PSL.
  • John Kent v William Paterson-Brown and Another [2018] EWHC 2830 (Ch), and [2018] EWHC 2008 (Ch); [2018] Cost LR 1289.  Claim for an account by a high net worth UK businessman (based in Geneva) against two brothers, also high net worth individuals, who had promoted investments in a range of start-up and technology businesses, all of which subsequently collapsed in value.  The claim was worth approximately £10 million.  In addition to the main decision of Zacaroli J, which addressed important questions relating to the conflict of laws, the duty to account, and knowing receipt, the consequentials decision is a significant decision in relation to the rate of interest applicable to costs.  Mr Justice Zacaroli’s consequentials judgment was reported in the Costs Law Reports at [2018] Cost LR 1289 and is also discussed in the Association of Costs Lawyers news
  • Khouj v Acropolis Capital Partners Limited [2015] EWHC 224 (Comm)
    Instructed by the defendants in their application to strike-out a claim for an account brought by the executors of the will of a prominent, deceased Saudi Arabian government official.


Maxim has acted, both as the sole counsel and as a junior, in a wide range of charity matters, including:

  • Advising a charitable incorporated organisation on the rules about distribution of assets in the event of insolvency.
  • Appearing for current/former charity trustees in an urgent application in the Applications Court for an injunction in relation to elections to the board of trustees.  Following a contested hearing that included issues relating to whether permission was required for the application and substantive submissions relating to the injunction sought, the application was resolved in his clients’ favour by way of undertakings.  Led by Amanda Tipples QC.
  • Appearing for current/former charity trustees at the return date of a without-notice application for an injunction preventing his clients from attending the charity premises.  Maxim successfully had the injunction discharged on the return date.
  • Advising a senior figure in a major, well-known charity in relation to a potential application for disclosure regarding allegations of breach of trust made against him by an anonymous complainant.
  • Advising a large national charity on the rule against charities with a political purpose.
  • Advising on a range of matters relating to the School Sites Act 1841, the Reverter of Sites Act 1987, and other acts
  • Advising on the possible legal structures for a charity to adopt in order to make social investments in businesses run by beneficiaries of the charity.
  • Advising on the principles relating to ethical investment set out in the Bishop of Oxford case.  Led by Edward Cumming QC.

Other interests

Outside the law, Maxim’s hobbies include running, cycling, music, and a continuing academic interest in philosophy and theology.

The clerks are happy to discuss the basis on which Maxim will act in any given matter. In the absence of express written agreement otherwise, the terms under which Maxim accepts instructions are The Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services By Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012 (as updated from time to time) referred to in the BSB Handbook.