Introduction

John’s practice encompasses a very broad range of chancery and commercial work. His aim is to provide clear, reliable advice and provide a user-friendly service. He undertakes a certain amount of work on a conditional fee basis. In his spare time, John enjoys sport (especially rugby), non-fiction and shouting at the television news.


Banking & Financial Services

John is regularly instructed to advise banks, building societies, finance companies and their customers.  He has considerable experience in matters which concern mortgages, guarantee and indemnity agreements, hire-purchase agreements, leasing agreements and conditional sale agreements.   He is also very familiar with the intricacies of consumer law, being regularly instructed to act on behalf of Jaguar Land Rover and its dealers.

Recent Cases:

  • John recently appeared for a lender as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal. It sought to recover the losses it sustained in a re-mortgage transaction by means of a breach of trust claim against its solicitor.
  • John is currently advising a SME in relation to its efforts to extricate itself from an interest rate swap agreement which it was obliged to enter into by its bank.
  • John appeared for the same lender as junior counsel in a case in the High Court in which it proved that a guarantee and sundry personal loans were enforceable notwithstanding the guarantor / borrower’s allegation that her consent to enter into them had been procured by undue influence.
  • John appeared as junior counsel on behalf of a SME in a high profile case in which the Office of Fair Trading sought, amongst other things, to prove that gym membership contracts were subject to the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Commercial Fraud & Asset Tracing

John’s reputation in the field of commercial fraud is based upon the experience he gained in the Crown Court in the early days of his practice and the breadth of his civil litigation practice. He seeks to combine an understanding of human nature and knowledge of the technical requirements of the law. He is often instructed in cases that feature death or insolvency. He has a particular interest in claims involving allegations of breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty and undue influence.

Recent Cases:

  • John recently appeared for a lender as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal. It sought to recover the losses it sustained in a re-mortgage transaction by means of a breach of trust claim against its solicitor.
  • John appeared for the same lender as junior counsel in a case in the High Court in which it proved that a guarantee and sundry personal loan agreements were enforceable notwithstanding the guarantor / borrower’s allegation that her consent to enter into it had been procured by undue influence.
  • John successfully invoked section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 in a High Court case in order to unravel a transaction that had been entered into shortly before an earlier case between the same parties came on for trial in order to place property beyond the claimant’s reach.
  • John appeared as junior counsel on behalf of a SME in which the Office of Fair Trading sought, amongst other things, to restrain certain unfair commercial practices and to obtain a declaratory ruling as to the enforceability of long-term gym membership contracts.

Contentious Wills, Trusts & Probate

John accepts instructions in both non-contentious and contentious probate matters. He has acted in cases in which the capacity of the testator, the validity of the will and the administration of the estate have been in dispute. He has made and resisted applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. John accepts instructions in both non-contentious and contentious trust matters. He is regularly instructed in disputes over the beneficial ownership of property allegedly held on trust. He has a particular interest in cases that concern allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of trust, knowing assistance and receipt, tracing, rectification and mistake.

Recent Cases:

  • John recently appeared for a lender as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal. It sought to recover the losses it sustained in a re-mortgage transaction by means of a breach of trust claim against its former conveyancing solicitors.
  • John was recently instructed to obtain emergency interim relief to prevent the misapplication of trust property controlled by the executors of an estate.

Professional Liability

John regularly acts for claimants seeking to prosecute professional negligence claims against solicitors, surveyors and valuers. He also acts in cases against other professionals such as accountants, architects, barristers, consulting engineers and financial advisors. John is happy to accept instructions to defend allegations of professional negligence. He has been instructed in the past to represent a firm of solicitors and an in-house surveyor employed by a High Street bank. John undertakes a certain amount of such work on a conditional fee basis.

Recent Cases:

  • John recently appeared in the Court of Appeal in a case in which his client, a lender, sought to recover £3.3 million from its solicitor following its negligent conduct during the course of a re-mortgage transaction.
  • John was recently successful in a claim against a solicitor for breach of fiduciary duty in the County Court.
  • John is currently advising and acting on behalf of the claimants in a number of professional negligence cases including: a farmer in a case against an architect arising from the collapse of a barn roof; a SME in a case against a barrister and a solicitor arising from the misconduct of litigation against two separate finance companies in related disputes; a trustee in bankruptcy in a case against a solicitor arising from the misconduct of litigation against a financial advisor; and another trustee in bankruptcy in a case against a solicitor arising from the misconduct of a commercial property transaction.

Real Estate

John is regularly instructed in real property disputes including, in particular, disputes over the ownership of the quasi-matrimonial home, easements, restrictive covenants, adverse possession claims, boundary disputes and Party Wall Etc Act 1996 claims. John has considerable experience in the construction of sale and purchase agreements, development agreements and overage agreements. His practice encompasses cases in the High Court, the County Court and proceedings before the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry.

Recent Cases:

  • John recently appeared on appeal on behalf of the successful party in a boundary dispute in which he was able to persuade the Court of Appeal to reverse the costs order made at first instance.

Restraint of Trade & Confidentiality

John has regularly been instructed to prosecute or defend claims in which a former employer seeks to enforce post-contractual restrictions against a former employee. John is also regularly instructed to appear in analogous cases in the High Court and County Court such as claims in which a purchaser seeks to enforce post-contractual restrictions against a vendor of a business; claims to enforce duties of confidentiality; claims in which a company to enforce a former director’s fiduciary duties; and claims under the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993. He is conscious of the need to act swiftly when applications for interim injunctive relief are sought pending trial and is prepared to work intensively at short notice in order to do so.

Recent Cases:

  • John appeared in the High Court on behalf of a SME at an interim hearing at which he obtained an injunction to prevent its former managing director from soliciting its customers pending trial.
  • John obtained summary judgment in the County Court against the vendor of a business to enforce the terms of a share purchase agreement in which he agreed not to exploit the business’ trading name in conjunction with a competing business.
  • John is currently acting on behalf of a SME in on-going litigation in the High Court in which it is seeking to reverse a transaction whereby its agent diverted business to a third party with which she was associated in breach of her fiduciary duties.
  • John is currently advising a SME in relation to a claim under the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993.
  • John appeared in the High Court on behalf of a SME at an interim hearing at which he obtained springboard relief to protect it from unfair competition from its former employees pending trial.
  • John obtained judgment in the High Court on behalf of a SME for a substantial sum pursuant to the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993.

Published Journals

Banking & Financial Services

Zvonko Bulic v (1) Harwoods (2) Santander Consumer (UK) Plc (3) Jaguar Cars Ltd [2012] EWHC 3657 (QB) – Civil Procedure (expert evidence; single joint experts)

AIB Group (UK) Plc v Mark Redler & Co (A Firm) – [2012] EWHC 35 (Ch); [2012] P.N.L.R. 16 – Professional Negligence (breach of trust; undue influence; mortgages; solicitors’ powers and duties)

Davies v AIB Group (UK) Plc [2012] EWHC 2178 (Ch); [2012] 2 P. & C.R. 19 – Banking (Guarantee agreements; Loan agreements; Undue influence)

Office of Fair Trading v Ashbourne Management Services Ltd [2011] EWHC 1237 (Ch); [2011] E.C.C. 31; [2011] C.T.L.C. 237 – Consumer Law (Consumer credit agreements; consumer protection; credit reference agencies; unfair commercial practices; unfair contract terms)

Toor v State Bank of India [2010] EWHC 1097 (Ch) – Banking, Real Property: (Mortgagors’ rights; residential property; possession orders)

AIB Group (UK) Plc (formerly Allied Irish Banks Plc and AIB Finance Ltd) v Martin [2001] UKHL 63; [2002] 1 W.L.R. 94; [2002] 1 All E.R. 353; [2002] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 209; [2002] 1 E.G. 75 (C.S.); (2002) 99(7) L.S.G. 34; (2002) 146 S.J.L.B. 13; [2001] N.P.C. 183; Times, December 17, 2001; Independent, February 4, 2002 – Banking (mortgage terms; joint and several liability; partners’ liabilities)

Commercial Fraud & Asset Tracing

AIB Group (UK) Plc v Mark Redler & Co (A Firm) – [2012] EWHC 35 (Ch); [2012] P.N.L.R. 16 – Professional Negligence (breach of trust; undue influence; mortgages; solicitors’ powers and duties)

Davies v AIB Group (UK) Plc [2012] EWHC 2178 (Ch); [2012] 2 P. & C.R. 19 – Banking (Guarantee agreements; Loan agreements; Undue influence)

Office of Fair Trading v Ashbourne Management Services Ltd [2011] EWHC 1237 (Ch); [2011] E.C.C. 31; [2011] C.T.L.C. 237 – Consumer Law (Consumer credit agreements; consumer protection; credit reference agencies; unfair commercial practices; unfair contract terms).

Kelly v Hussain [[2008] EWHC 1117 (Ch) – Company Law (Conduct; directors; Dismissal; Exclusion; Petitions; Shareholders; Unfairly prejudicial conduct)

Micro Design Group Ltd v Norwich Union Insurance Ltd [2005] EWHC 3093 (TCC); [2006] Lloyd’s Rep. I.R. 235 – Insurance (fraud)

Knight v Haynes Duffell Kentish & Co [2003] EWCA Civ 223 – Professional Negligence; Equity (breach of trust; interest)

Contentious Wills, Trusts & Probate

AIB Group (UK) Plc v Mark Redler & Co (A Firm) [2012] EWHC 35 (Ch); [2012] P.N.L.R. 16 – Professional Negligence (breach of trust; undue influence; mortgages; solicitors’ powers and duties)

Walsh v Singh [2009] EWHC 3219 (Ch); [2010] 1 F.L.R. 1658; [2010] 1 F.C.R. 177; [2010] W.T.L.R. 1061; [2010] Fam. Law 247 – Real property; Equity (Constructive trusts; estoppel; quantum meruit)

Morgan (Deceased), Re [2008] W.T.L.R. 73 – Probate (attestation; knowledge and approval; undue influence)

Knight v Haynes Duffell Kentish & Co [2003] EWCA Civ 223 – Professional Negligence; Equity (breach of trust; interest)

Professional Liability

AIB Group (UK) Plc v Mark Redler & Co (A Firm) – [2012] EWHC 35 (Ch); [2012] P.N.L.R. 16 – Professional Negligence; Banking (breach of trust; mortgages; solicitors’ powers and duties)

Knight v Haynes Duffell Kentish & Co [2003] EWCA Civ 223 – Professional Negligence; Equity (breach of trust; share purchase transaction; solicitor’s powers and duties; interest)

Real Estate

Hutchinson v Neale [2012] EWCA Civ 345; [2012] 5 Costs L.O. 588; [2012] 2 P. & C.R. DG1 – Boundary Dispute; Costs (dishonesty)

Walsh v Singh [2009] EWHC 3219 (Ch); [2010] 1 F.L.R. 1658; [2010] 1 F.C.R. 177; [2010] W.T.L.R. 1061; [2010] Fam. Law 247 – Real property; Equity (Constructive trusts; estoppel; quantum meruit)

 

Education

MA, Oxon (Modern History, First Class)
MA (Oxon)
Mansfield Scholar, Lincoln's Inn

Appointments and Memberships

Chancery Bar Association
Midland Chancery and Commercial Bar Association

Testimonials

"Highly intelligent, diligent and intuitive." Legal 500 2020
"He's very pleasant, very conscientious and amazingly thorough." Chambers UK
"His advice is good and frank; he isn't afraid to give his clients a realistic assessment." Chambers UK
"Provides clear, authoritative advice and is always well prepared." Chambers UK
"He is very thorough, detailed and able to cut straight to the heart of the problem. He's also very easy to deal with and is very good with clients." Chambers UK
"Very responsive and tremendous client-handling skills." "He completely throws himself into a case and has an enormous depth of knowledge." Chambers UK
"He's very diligent, hard-working, no-nonsense, good on his feet and knows the field in which he practises exceptionally well." Chambers UK
"He cuts to the core of matters and is very good with clients." "A very good court advocate." Chambers UK
"He's very, very clever, agreeable and pleasant. A future silk if there ever was one." Chambers UK
"He is able to deal with very complex matters and get right to the heart of the issue. He's very good with clients and is able to explain complex matters in an easily understandable way." Chambers UK
"He has a very good court manner, a very extensive vocabulary and a very good turn of phrase. He is a natural on his feet. His advocacy makes him stand out; he's got this sort of common touch and has the ability to spin a perfect phrase to sum up a case." Chambers UK
“He communicates well with clients.” Legal 500
"John's very solid and very experienced; sort of the ultimate safe pair of hands. He's a strong intellectual lawyer." Chambers UK
"He's very intelligent, methodical, thorough and charming, as well as being a persuasive and determined advocate." Chambers UK
"He's extremely thorough and very helpful, while being very responsive and always making himself available. His knowledge of the law is remarkable at times and he is always very clear and precise in his position." Chambers UK
“A strong and determined negotiator.” Legal 500
"Excellent, incredibly intelligent, he gets straight to the point and gives you straightforward advice." Chambers UK
“He has a great bedside manner with clients.” Legal 500
"He is not someone who will back down or give guarded opinions and is very good with difficult cases." Chambers UK