Gavin McLeod

Gavin McLeod

Gavin McLeod


Gavin McLeod is a Chancery practitioner who specialises in contentious trusts and probate/inheritance disputes and real property claims (TOLATA, mortgages, landlord and tenant, boundaries, easements, covenants and nuisance). Beyond this, he undertakes commercial cases raising various issues, often overlapping with his core areas of practice, such as respects directors’ duties or the enforceability of guarantees and securities. He is also instructed in professional negligence matters. These particularly relate to allegations against solicitors undertaking real estate and private client work.

Additionally, Gavin acts in areas of administrative and local government law (including judicial review claims). In this respect, he has been instructed in several rating cases, both for and against local authorities.

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 has been led in a number of Court of Appeal and complex High Court cases, including at trial.

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. He has passed the necessary assessments for Associate Membership of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP), with his essay on Letters of Wishes obtaining a Distinction in the mark of 80% or above.

Gavin is regularly listed in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners publications for his areas of work at the Midlands Bar.


Chancery Bar Association

Midlands Chancery and Commercial Bar Association

Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP) (Associate Member)


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:

  • Pollock v Burnett [2023] 4 WLUK 204, CC at Birmingham, February 2023 (HHJ Emma Kelly): successful defence of a trespass claim on grounds of ‘new style’ adverse possession under the Land Registration Act 2002 and by reference to an established proprietary estoppel – each entitling the defendants to the relevant land.
  • Cotes v Cotes (2022), HHJ Mitchell as Deputy Judge: successful appearance in a High Court Inheritance Act trial which limited a widow claimant’s capital provision in the estate to 20% (as opposed to the 100% sought).
  • Colbourne v Cooke (Estate of Collier-White) [2022] EWHC 3029 (Ch), [2023] WTLR 43, cited in Francis, Inheritance Act Claims: a s.4 application for extension of time in Inheritance Act proceedings. In a subsequent hearing, Gavin secured an order that the claimant’s solicitors, who had failed to issue the claim on time, should bear his client’s costs of resisting permission.
  • Fairpark Estates Ltd v Heals Property Developments Ltd [2022] EWHC 496 (Ch), [2022] 1 WLR 3931, cited in the White Book and Chitty on Contract: appeal on the effect of s.9(3), Arbitration Act 1996. Gavin successfully submitted that it is possible to obtain a stay of only part of the proceedings, in that the Act does not require that all of the proceedings be stayed or else no part of them. This was a novel argument, accepted for the first time.
  • Preece v Lawley [2021] 2 WLUK 750, CC at Hereford, February 2021 (HHJ Tindal): appearance in a neighbour dispute establishing trespass (with the right to aggravated damages), and various interferences with a right of way. Gavin demonstrated, amongst other things, interferences with his clients’ ‘secondary easement’ (in the form of the right to maintain the servient tenement for their use and requirements).
  • Beriwala v Woodstone Properties (Birmingham) Ltd. [2021] EWHC 609 (Ch), [2022] 4 WLR 71, cited in the White Book: judicial discretion to withdraw a draft judgment and not hand it down, further to a settlement between the parties. Gavin was led at trial and in post-trial developments by John Randall KC.
  • Gavriel v Davis [2019] EWHC 2446 (Ch); [2022] WTLR 943, cited in the White Book and Lewin on Trusts: a reported case concerning the law as to the entitlement of executors to remuneration (including by exceptional equitable allowances) and the summary determination of Part 8 claims.
  • R. (Clarke) v Birmingham City Council [2019] EWHC 1728 (Admin); and [2020] EWCA Civ 1466; [2021] HLR 27, cited in de Smith’s Judicial Review and Cross on Local Government Law: successful defence of a judicial review application concerning funding of sprinkler works in tower blocks. Questions arose concerning the ‘relevant considerations’ test and the ‘fiduciary duty’ of authorities to ratepayers. Gavin successfully appeared as sole counsel at first instance and was led in the Court of Appeal.
  • Smith v Smith (2017), unrep. HHJ Worster as Deputy Judge, cited in Lindley and Banks on Partnership – questions 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 FtT, with a particular focus on new evidence and the rule in Ladd v Marshall.


  • 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. Gavin’s article has been cited in Megarry and Wade, The Law of Real Property, 10th ed. (2024)

Banking & Financial Services

Gavin has experience of a number of cases dealing with charges and securities. He has variously advised upon and argued points concerning overriding interests and priority, as well as enforceability having regard to consumer and regulatory protections (under the 2000 Act, 2001 Regulations and the Mortgages Directive).

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 where possession was defended or attempts were made to have guarantees set-aside, having regard to pleas of unenforceability, undue influence and similar.

Commercial Fraud & Asset Tracing

Gavin has been involved in a number of cases raising considerations of breach of trust and 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 acted as junior to Avtar Khangure KC on a number of occasions, including in multi-million pound proceedings in which allegations of breach of directors’ duties were at the heart.

Contentious Wills, Trusts & Probate

This area typically represents the majority of Gavin’s workload. He is an Associate member of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners and is noted for his work in the field.

In reflection of this, he regularly advises on the operation and construction of trusts (both in real property, testamentary instances and otherwise). He also appears in a wide range of relevant cases. These span from Inheritance Act proceedings brought by various types of claimant, to those concerning breaches of duty by executors/ trustees, testamentary proprietary estoppel claims, disputed lifetime dispositions, will challenges, s.50 removals, and Part 64 directions claims. A number of his cases have been reported in the specialist reports for wills, trusts and probate – notably Gavriel and Collier-White.

Insolvency & Restructuring

Gavin’s work in insolvency fields (especially bankruptcy) typically arises where there is overlap with core areas of his practice.  His work often involves enquiries as to the realities of property ownership, and as respects contentious transactions and transfers. It thus includes 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’s work in this discipline usually involves advising on 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 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. His cases regularly include (non-exhaustively) questions of disputed land registration (e.g. priority, rectification and HMLR indemnity), TOLATA/co-ownership, adverse possession, boundaries, easements (express, implied and prescriptive), as well as forfeiture and other landlord and tenant matters. 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 cases, Gavin is often concerned with matters arising in respect of business leases, such as contested claims to 1954 Act protection. In court, he has experience of possession actions, forfeiture proceedings and those for breach of covenant.

In 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. Other significant results at trial are listed in his “notable and reported cases” section.


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


“Gavin is an excellent communicator and relates well to clients. His expertise in property litigation is extensive and his range of knowledge is impressive. He is very impressive on his feet, direct and on point.” Chambers and Partners 2024

“It’s not just that Gavin works hard, it’s that he is so conscientious and so technically gifted that his clients receive a level of service that they might only hope to expect from far more senior counsel.” Chambers and Partners 2024

“He’s got great attention to detail, really thinks through the cases several steps ahead and is reliable, user-friendly and a technical barrister.” Chambers and Partners 2024

“Gavin is meticulous in his attention to detail. His advice is well-thought-out and substantiated by the most up-to-date authorities, whilst being clear and readily understandable to the client. He is extremely well-prepared when approaching trial and presents each case with clarity and persuasion.” Legal 500 2024

“Gavin is meticulous in his drafting and has a thorough working knowledge of property related issues and the law surrounding these. He is impressive on his feet, unflustered and thoroughly prepared for the advocacy in respect of which he is instructed. He is extremely personable and enjoys a good working relationship with clients from all walks of life. He is conscientious and goes the extra mile to consider the position before him and advise clients on how best to proceed.” Legal 500 2023

“His knowledge of the law in this area is outstanding and his attention to detail, with his advice and thorough consideration of the papers, goes above and beyond.” Chambers & Partners 2023

“Gavin is a very bright individual who takes great delight in finding a solution for the client by digging deep into legislation and case law.” Chambers & Partners 2023

“He is very able intellectually on complex areas of law.” Chambers & Partners 2023

“Gavin is extremely diligent, and he will properly consider everything and do a thorough and well-considered job. He is also very bright and wonderfully personable. He is an excellent and user-friendly barrister all round.” Legal 500 2023

“His knowledge of the law is extensive, but he is able to relate to the clients in his advices, which are clear, detailed and logical.” Chambers UK 2022

“Very thorough, organised and hard-working. Clients feel at ease and that their concerns are being taken on board.” Chambers UK 2022

“Good on his feet and with a disarming advocacy style. Excellent with lay clients, especially when dealing with difficult or emotive issues arising in the course of Chancery work.” Legal 500 2022

“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 2021

“Outstandingly smart” Chambers UK 2021



Gavin McLeod

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