Gavin McLeod

Call 2010

Introduction

Gavin joined Chambers in 2014 after completion of his pupillage. He is a specialist in Chancery proceedings, especially real property (including as regards TOLATA, mortgages, and landlord and tenant), trusts, contentious probate/inheritance disputes, and related matters. Beyond this, he undertakes contract, commercial and tort cases raising various issues. These  often include questions which overlap with his core areas of practice, such as regards fiduciary duties and nuisance or negligence  in the context of property ownership. He is also instructed in matters concerning professional negligence, including notably allegations against solicitors undertaking real estate and private client work.

Additionally, Gavin acts in areas of administrative and local government law. Most particularly in that regard, he undertakes cases both for and against local authorities in rating disputes.

Gavin appears regularly in the Business and Property Courts and County Court, and has experience of other tribunals (notably the magistrates’ court and divisions of the First-tier and Upper Tribunal). He also regularly represents parties in mediations and during other attempts at dispute resolution. As well as his work on his own account, he has been instructed as junior counsel both in the Court of Appeal and in complex and high-value High Court proceedings.

Beyond practice, he has taught Equity and Trusts to undergraduates at Nottingham University, and has authored articles on judgments appearing in his fields of work. He often conducts seminars for solicitors, and especially in areas of property, probate and trusts law.

Gavin’s work makes him a data controller for the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018, both for his clients and others. Gavin’s Privacy Notice and Privacy and Data-Handling Policy, which govern his approach to data protection issues, are attached.

Notable and Reported Cases:

  • Gavriel v Davis [2019] EWHC 2446 (Ch.), cited in the White Book 2020; and [2020] EWHC 395 (Ch.): remuneration of executors/summary determination of Part 8 claims.
  • Ardawa v Uppal (Costs) [2019] EWHC 1663 (Ch.); [2019] Bus. L.R. 1943: bankruptcy expenses as litigation costs.
  • R. (Clarke) v Birmingham City Council [2019] EWHC 1728 (Admin.): successful defence of a judicial review application concerning allocation of funds for sprinkler works in tower blocks. Questions arose as to the correct test for showing that relevant considerations were omitted from the reviewed decision.
  • Smith v Smith (2017), unrep. HHJ Worster sitting as a judge of the High Court, cited in Lindley and Banks on Partnership: junior in a dispute as to appropriate relief in the winding-up of a farming partnership following its dissolution.
  • Takhar v Gracefield Developments Ltd. [2017] EWCA Civ. 147; [2018] Ch. 1: junior in the Court of Appeal – setting aside of judgments on grounds of fraud.
  • Bibby v Coventry City Council [2016] EWHC 2554 (Admin.); [2017] RVR 4, cited in the Encyclopaedia of Rating and Local Taxation: successful resistance to an appeal by Case Stated against the imposition of a liability order by magistrates.
  • Davis v Wiggett [2016] UKUT 358 (TCC); [2016] WTLR 1563: successful Upper Tribunal appeal following a constructive trust trial in the Land Registration Division of the First-tier Tribunal, with a particular focus on new evidence and the rule in Ladd v Marshall.

Publications

  • The traditional concept hits the bunker: easements after Regency Villas Title Ltd v Diamond Resorts (Europe) Ltd.” – Conveyancer and Property Lawyer (2019) 3, 250 – 273

Banking & Financial Services

Gavin undertakes a significant amount of work in the context of secured lending. He has appeared on a number of contested applications for charging orders and orders for sale. In undertaking mortgage work, he has advised upon and argued points concerning overriding interests and questions of priority, as well as enforceability having regard to consumer and regulatory protections (under the 2000 Act, 2001 Regulations, the Mortgages Directive, etc.).

Gavin has experience of arguments under the Consumer Credit Act 1974, including those alleging an unfair relationship. He has acted successfully for lenders at trials defending possession or when attempts were made to have guarantees set-aside, having regard to pleas of unenforceability, undue influence and similar.

Commercial Fraud & Asset Tracing

Gavin has experience of commercial fraud cases, including those involving complex allegations of breach of trust and of fiduciary duty, with the various considerations as to personal and proprietary remedies which result. His academic and wider Chancery background assists in enabling the search for remedial solutions in the corporate and commercial context. He has relevant knowledge in areas of equity, trusts and restitution, amongst others. He has experience of pleading cases of fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty, and has advised where corporate veil issues have been prominent.

He has acted as junior to Avtar Khangure QC on a number of occasions, including in multi-million pound proceedings in which allegations of breach of directors’ duties were at the heart, as well as claims of conspiracy/economic torts against related third parties.

Contentious Wills, Trusts & Probate

Gavin regularly advises on the operation and construction of trusts (both in real property, testamentary instances and otherwise), and as to the effectiveness of various attempted dispositions. Recent considerations have included protective trusts and the effect of s.33, Trustee Act 1925, as well as the true extent of powers of advancement in a trust instrument.

Gavin has a specialist contentious probate and Inheritance Act practice. He advises, pleads and appears on and in all manner of cases in this area. These span from Inheritance Act proceedings brought by various types of claimant (and often when eligibility, conduct and like issues are very much in play), to those concerning breaches of duty by executors and trustees, testamentary proprietary estoppel claims, disputed lifetime dispositions, will challenges, s.50 removals, and Part 64 directions requests (Re: Beddoe, etc.). Of the last few years his work in this discipline – one which is particular, complex and often arcane – has become a mainstay of his practice.

Gavin regularly deals with will validity claims. This can often involve difficult questions, such as of mutual wills, or of the developing case law on memory loss in capacity challenges. He often advises on such validity issues, as well as on construction questions.

In court, he has, for example, secured the striking-out and dismissal of proceedings brought against an executor on account of their legally misconceived grounding – hence showing the practical utility of insight into the legally complex principles alive in this area. He is also regularly instructed at mediation, especially as regards the many Inheritance Act claims he handles.

Insolvency & Restructuring

Gavin’s work is typically in personal insolvency, and he has had dealings with such matters at appellate level.  His work can often involve enquiries as to the realities of property ownership, and as respects other nuanced means by which debts or bankruptcies are disputed. It can also involve consideration of contentious transactions and transfers. Gavin brings his knowledge of relevant areas of law to such matters. His work thus especially involves consideration of trust concepts, both as asserted by creditors (Quistclose, etc.) and by debtors/bankrupts and their family members. In the corporate context, his knowledge of equitable principles would extend to the assessment of the actions of director fiduciaries, and of any constructive trusts to be imposed against the proceeds of equitable wrongdoing.

Professional Liability

Gavin has particular experience of advising in respect of claims against solicitors (most especially in the property, trusts and probate fields). Cases of this kind provide for a significant complement to his core practice. He brings his knowledge of the law in those areas into the consideration of potential failings by lawyers, including having regard to risks of conflict and breaches of fiduciary duty.

Real Estate

Property law in various respects is a mainstay of Gavin’s practice, for which he has received recommendation in professional directories. Cases he advises, pleads and appears on and in regularly include those concerning disputed land registration questions (e.g. priority, rectification and HMLR indemnity), TOLATA/co-ownership, easements (express, implied and prescriptive), as well as forfeiture and other landlord and tenant matters. He deals with related issues, such as of trespass, boundaries and nuisance – including in difficult neighbour litigation. He appears in courts and property tribunals. In trusts of land work, he regularly considers the application of the 1996 Act and other issues, such as of equitable accounting/compensation.

In landlord and tenant work, Gavin is often concerned with questions arising in respect of business leases, such as contested claims to 1954 Act protection. He will also regularly consider such matters as the legal consequences of informal arrangements (including for possession purposes – implied surrender, etc). In court, he has experience of possession actions, rent arrear and service charge claims, forfeiture proceedings and those for breach of covenant – including breach of quiet enjoyment obligations, and regarding terminal dilapidations.

In the case of Wellington Pub Company Plc v Hannan (CC at Bristol, December 2019), Gavin successfully demonstrated at trial why the Claimant (a leading national pub chain) had failed in its purported attempt at excluding 1954 Act protection.

Gavin undertakes regular work in the arena of local government rating, in which his property expertise often proves of considerable utility.

Reported Cases

Education

2011: LL.M. Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge (First Class in Public Law dissertation and the Law of Restitution)
2010: Bar Vocational Course (Outstanding): Lord Justice Holker scholar, Gray’s Inn; Beloff Q.C. Public Law Essay Prize Winner, Gray’s Inn
2009: LL.B. (Hons), First Class, University of Nottingham

Testimonials

"Combines a fantastic analytical brain with attention to detail and an ability to think beyond the confines of the presented case to reach innovative solutions" Legal 500 - 2021
"Consistently delivers both advice and representation of the very highest order, with an in-depth and far-reaching knowledge of the law" Legal 500 - 2021
"He is confident, enthusiastic and genuinely takes ownership of the dispute. His written work is punchy and very well prepared and put together" Chambers UK Guide 2021
"Outstandingly smart" Chambers UK Guide 2021