The broad focuses of Anthony’s practice are real property litigation and landlord and tenant disputes, with professional negligence and partnership claims undertaken in that context. Anthony appears regularly in the higher courts, including trials up to 12 day’s duration, but has broad experience in the County Court (where he also sits as a Recorder) and in references to the Land Registry division of the Property Chamber (where he also sits as a Judge). In property litigation highlights have been Court of Appeal cases regarding restrictive covenants boundaries and adverse possession, and High Court proceedings on matters as diverse as enforcing a Deed relating to Knightsbridge flats, a solicitors undertaking in respect of a mortgage and construing the terms of a contract of sale. Landlord and tenant work can be equally varied, with High Court cases dealing with disrepair to Grade II listed buildings, the installation of beer flow monitoring equipment, the terms of a business renewal, and the consequences of forfeiture and surrender.
The value of these cases can run from millions of pounds (the operation of a break clause in offices at Heathrow) down to the desire to preserve one’s home (the loss of part of a front garden): Anthony recognises that every case is important to the litigants. Some cases can be very urgent, like the expulsion of protesting students from an unsuitable building to the keeping open of a market for its traders when strike action threatens. A willingness to commit at short notice to getting the desired result is essential in such matters. When property deals and relationships go wrong, litigants often look for a party at fault, and Anthony has a specialist professional negligence practice dealing primarily with matters like conveyancing errors, incompetent drafting, and the missing of break options. The holding of property by partners can also generate specialist work with particular problems. Anthony is always keen to establish a strong rapport with profession clients (who include surveyors and other property professionals as well as solicitors) and with lay clients. In many cases, site views are essential and he is a willing traveller.
Anthony’s recent experience includes successful appellate cases concerning:
- The proper interpretation of extrinsic evidence relating to registered land, in particular the survey conducted on behalf of HM Land Registry: Durden v Aston  EWCA Civ 636.
- The introduction of newly acquired evidence at appeal in justification of a retrial: Balevents v Sartori  EWCA Civ 1508.
It also includes significant cases at first instance:
- Grayburn v Griffiths  EWHC 1109 Ch (Vos, Chancellor of the high Court) Successful resistance of an appeal concerning the construction of a conveyance and the determination of the boundary
- Validity of a Deed and rights in Knightsbridge properties, litigated over 13 days in the High Court and including a worldwide freezing order: Yedina v Yedin EWHC 3319 (Ch)
- Committal of Landlord and Company Director in case concerning failure to insure commercial property: Monopro Ltd v Central Hall Developments Ltd  EWHC 1509 (TCC)
- The power of local authority market operator to terminate licences: R. (on the application of Aryubi) v Birmingham City Council  EWHC 1972 (Admin)
- The power of landlords to install beer flow monitoring equipment in leasehold properties: Unique Pub Properties v (1) Broad Green Tavern Ltd (2) Dempsey  EWHC 2154 (Ch);  2 P&CR 17.
- Proceedings to determine whether a headlease was forfeited or surrendered, essential to the security of tenure of an underlessee renting a car park at £200k per year.
- Urgent injunctive relief to protect university facilities from sit ins (University of Birmingham v Persons Unknown in 2011) and to keep open markets for trading (Birmingham (Wholesale) Fresh Produce Association v Birmingham City Council in 2011).
Recent cases include considering lease provisions in respect of a development with “Sick Building Syndrome”, achieving a settlement of a Land Registry indemnity case for a six-figure sum and a trial before a High Court judge of issues relating to boundaries and adverse possession in the Cotswolds (Harrison v Brading  EWHC 3267 (Ch)).
Anthony has represented claimants and defendants in professional negligence claims for almost 20 years. As his practice has focused on Property and Landlord and Tenant disputes, so most of the disputes he now advises upon and presents relate to those areas. He therefore brings years of experience and specialist knowledge to bear on some of the most complicated problems regularly to come before the Courts.
Anthony recognises that, whether you are the professional facing criticism or the dissatisfied client, you will want an approachable barrister with whom you can establish a rapport. In many disputes that have at their core a property transaction, site views can be of use, and Anthony is always willing to attend and meet the clients.
Anthony has experience in property disputes at all levels, from the falling out of neighbours over boundaries and easements litigated in the County Court, to a commercial concern seeking to protect its frontage before the Court of Appeal. When not dealing with the physical arrangement of land itself, Anthony is often dealing with the contracts which govern its transmission (including the developing field of co-operation agreements) and the control of developed land (for example, in advising upon and litigating restrictive covenants). Trusts of land are also a specialism, which has seen Anthony as Counsel in the Court of Appeal and advocate in mediation. In all such disputes, land registration presents particular issues and Anthony has considerable experience of such matters, whether relating to notices, restrictions or charges (including legal mortgages and equitable charges). He regularly appears in references to the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber Land Registration Division (where he also sits as a Tribunal Judge).
Anthony recognises the unique significance of land to many litigants and has received instructions not only from some of the foremost solicitors’ firms in real property litigation, but also from surveyors and property companies. He is always willing to visit the land in question to aid understanding the dispute and to meet there the individuals most closely involved with it.
Bryant Homes Ltd v Stein Management Ltd EWHC 2435 (Ch);  1 P. & C.R. 6: Restrictive covenants and money payment obligations
Unique Pub Properties v (1) Broad Green Tavern Ltd (2) Dempsey  EWHC 2154 (Ch);  2 P&CR 17 – Construction of lease and beer flow monitoring
Wickens v Cheval Property Developments Ltd  EWHC 2249 (Ch);  1 P. & C.R. DG9 – Obligations and passing of risk in fixtures and fittings in contract for the sale of land
Balevents v Sartori  EWHC 2437 (Ch);  All ER (D) 148 (Sep) – Adverse possession and fiduciary duties
Brooker v Unique Pub Properties Ltd  EWHC 2599 (Ch);  3 E.G.L.R. 59;  49 E.G. 72 – Lease renewal and valuing licensed premises
Hyett v Stanley  EWCA Civ 942;  1 F.L.R. 394;  3 F.C.R. 253;  W.T.L.R. 1269;  Fam. Law 23 – Constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel
Stafford Borough Council v Haynes  EWCA Civ 159;  H.L.R. 46 – Committal in social housing context
Appointments and Memberships
Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese of Lichfield (2019)
ADR Group Accredited mediator
Recorder (Civil) 2009
Deputy Adjudicator to HM Land Registry 2008
Lawyer Chairman in Residential Property Tribunal Service 2006
Member of Birmingham Law Society Property and Development Committee
Recorder (Private Family 2013 and Public Law 2017)
Tribunal Judge, First Tier Tribunal, Property Chamber (Land Registration and Residential Property divisions) 2013
Property Bar Association
Midland Chancery and Commercial Bar Association
Birmingham Law Society