Partner – Real Estate
James’s practice covers all the issues that arise in property related work in both commercial and residential situations.
James has over 35 years’ experience practising as a real estate lawyer including at a leading London mid-town firm and City firm Cubism Law.
James has particular expertise in acting for a groups of owners of flats within a newly built block in recovering for the costs of correcting inherent defects. This involves the bringing of combined claims under the original purchase agreements for those owners who have been original purchasers and under the Defective Premises Act 1972 on behalf of all current owners, typically through the means of a “Representation Order” pursuant to CPR. Part 19.6. James acted for owners in a widely reported case on this point and obtained recovery for those owners from the developer and one of its consultants.
- Re-structuring of buildings to accommodate changes of use and new boundaries for flats/units.
- Contested applications for consents under leases and restrictive covenants.
- Drafting and advising upon Heads of Terms in order to minimise Stamp Duty Land Tax and exposure to commercial and legal risks.
- The termination and renewal of leases of business premises.
- Leasehold enfranchisement, rights of first refusal, appointment of manager, Right to Manage and related issues.
- Boundary disagreements and deeds.
- Party Wall Act 1996 issues.
- Access and Scaffolding Licences.
- Transfers and mortgages.
- Insolvency issues affecting leases and property ownership.
- Converting a money judgment to a charging order and then an order for sale.
- Applications to Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) for release or discharge of a covenant.
- Possession proceedings, all notices leading up to them and the accelerated procedure.
- Claims in nuisance and trespass, including against ‘persons unknown’.
- Ransom strips and ‘Stokes v Cambridge’ apportionments.
What James says...
“Property ownership for most people weighs heavily on their sense of themselves. If their property holdings and dealings are going well, they feel satisfied. But if they don’t go well and, as can happen, if an opposing party frustrates their plans, clients need a lot of advice and reality checking support so that they take their best possible decisions.
I bring learning, mindfulness, views from all angles and distance and awareness of matters that will arise if they have not done so already. Gathering and reviewing of all relevant information, the earlier the better, is key to success – and then retaining a flexibility to review stances when new facts emerge.
The standard precedents and the pathways such as the Conveyancing Protocol, the Pre-Action Protocol and notices that lead to Court and Tribunal procedures are what I handle and advise on daily.
Being courteous and considerate to the opposing party’s representative is essential to how I work. I am often opposed by two lawyers, one a conveyancer and the other a general litigator, so that the opposing party’s costs are greater than those of my client.
I use the shortest, most pithy means to show my client’s case, such as a schedule of defects or a position statement. In more complex situations I help the client to have the best possible presentation of their case, whether this means verifying the evidence, interviewing possible experts and choosing specialist counsel. I try not to use legal jargon unnecessarily, preferring the plainest of English.
Once a deal is reached, I document it from the Heads of Terms through to post-completion Stamp Duty return and Land Registry application.”
"They thank me for my patience, insight, good humour and expertise.
Most of all they are very glad to achieve their desired outcomes within an affordable budget."
"Thank you all for your persistence and thank you James for excellent work which resulted in this positive outcome."
Property transactions, advice and disputes.
- Cubism Law