John Aldis has a first-class degree from the University of Cambridge. He achieved an Outstanding at Bar School and a Distinction for the GDL. He has won numerous scholarships and awards, including the Louis Gluckstein Advocacy Prize.
Before coming to the Bar, John worked as a Church of England minster. He became accomplished at public speaking in a variety of settings and he now brings this wealth of experience to his courtroom advocacy.
He is married with a young daughter. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf and the piano badly and walking in the Worcestershire countryside. He speaks French.
- Louis Gluckstein Advocacy Prize – Lincoln’s Inn
- Buchannan Prize – Lincoln’s Inn
- Tancred Studentship – Lincoln’s Inn
- Excellence Award – BPP University
- Lord Brougham Scholarship – Lincoln’s Inn
- Hardwicke Entrance Award – Lincoln’s Inn
- Wordsworth MPhil Grant – Cambridge Divinity Faculty
- 1912 Senior Scholarship – Cambridge University
- Nick Clarke Prize – Cambridge University
Contentious Wills, Trust and Probate
John frequently acts in claims where a will is challenged on the grounds of incapacity, undue influence or fraudulent calumny. He has resolved numerous probate, TOLATA, Inheritance Act and proprietary estoppel claims at trial and mediation. He enjoys advising on obscure points of law relating to mutual wills, secret trusts, purpose trusts, cy-près, perpetuity periods and the remoteness of vesting.
John’s recent experience includes:
- Settling an Inheritance Act 1975 brought on behalf of a protected party at an FDR.
- Baker v Hewston  EWHC 1145 (Ch): Obtaining a pronouncement for a will in solemn form which was challenged on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity.
- Settling a farming partnership dispute at mediation on behalf of an executrix (which required the parties to determine which plots of land were partnership property and which debts the partnership was liable for).
- Settling a professional negligence claim against a conveyancing solicitor on loss of a chance principles at a mediation on behalf of the deceased’s executor.
- Settling a “mutual wills” claim at a mediation on behalf of the children of the deceased’s late spouse, who had received nothing from their step-father’s will.
- Obtaining Cobden-Ramsay and Benjamin orders that the executors were at liberty to distribute the estate in accordance with the will unless the defendant issued his proposed claims within 28 days.
John often acts in TOLATA, proprietary estoppel and possession claims. He particularly enjoys dealing with disputes over boundaries, adverse possession, rights of way and prescription. He is experienced in drafting Particulars of Claim, Details of Claim, First-Tier Tribunal Statements of Case and witness statements.
John’s recent experience includes:
- Liddle v The Incumbent of the Ashfords Benefice REF/2022/0368: Successfully defended an adverse possession in relation to part of a churchyard by relying on the incumbent priest’s own possessory title and the 30-year limitation period enjoyed by spiritual corporations sole.
- Drafting settlement agreements for 4 claims which involved complex disputes over rights of way, boundaries and/or adverse possession.
- (1) Venn; (2) Venn -v- (1) Hopkins; (2) McVea: Obtained (a) a declaration of the paper title boundary of the Claimants’ front garden; (b) an order requiring a fence erected by the defendant neighbours to be removed; and (c) damages in lieu of an injunction in respect of certain expropriated land. Successfully defended the Defendants’ adverse possession defence save in respect of a small section of the boundary.
- City & Country Properties Ltd v Birmingham City Council REF/2020/0209: Successfully defended an adverse possession application in respect of a carpark adjoining the Applicant’s commercial property. One of the Respondent’s grounds of opposition was that the disputed land became a highway maintainable at public expense in the 1930’s either by statute or by dedication and acceptance at common law. The application was dismissed at a preliminary issue trial.
- Javan Global One Ltd v (1) Amir; (3) Sepehrdar; (4) V. Morton & Sons Limited: Successfully defended an additional claim by a sub-tenant at will to: (a) a declaration that a lease had been assigned to him; (b) damages for misrepresentation; (c) compensation for unauthorised renovation works on the grounds of proprietary estoppel; and (d) restitution on the grounds of unjust enrichment. The trial and submissions were heard over 11 days.
Commercial and Chancery Litigation
John expertise extends from simple debt recovery to disputes over actual and apparent authority, incorporation and construction of terms, exclusion clauses, unfair contract terms, misrepresentation, limitation and restitution. He also has experience of partnership claims for accounts & enquiries, dissolution and winding up.
John’s recent experience includes:
- Successfully opposing an application to discharge a limited civil restraint order.
- Euro Securities and Finance Ltd v Barrett  EWHC 51 (Ch): Obtained a declaration that a guarantee had been properly attested as a deed for the purposes of s.1 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 (such that the limitation period for recovering a substantial debt was 12 years rather than 6). The court also gave authoritative obiter guidance on what was meant by the phrase “in the presence of a witness” and “attests” in s.1(3)(a).
Insolvency and Restructuring
John is experienced in claims at the intersection between property and insolvency. This includes obtaining orders for sale of residential land under s.335A of the Insolvency Act and advising on CVAs, forfeiture and relief from forfeiture in respect of commercial property.
John has also obtained numerous orders in relation to breach of directors’ duties, misfeasance, transactions at an undervalue and unlawful dividends.
- Baker v Hewston  EWHC 1145 (Ch) (contains a detailed re-examination of the relationship between Banks v Goodfellow and the Mental Capacity Act 2005).
- Euro Securities and Finance Ltd v Barrett  EWHC 51 (Ch) (contains significant obiter guidance on the meaning of “in the presence of a witness” and “attests” in s.1(3)(a) LP(MP)A 1989).
- Khan v Mahmood  EWHC 597 (Ch) (a notable decision on the perfection of imperfect gifts)
- (1) Kirkbright; (2) Kirkbright v Toseva  EWHC 2320 (TCC) (proprietary estoppel and contracts for the sale of land)
- Quadro Services Limited v Creagh Concrete Products Limited  EWHC 2637 (TCC)
First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) cases:
- Liddle v The Incumbent of the Ashfords BeneficeREF/2022/0368 (the 30-year limitation period enjoyed by spiritual corporations sole under s.15(7) Limitation Act 1980 was applied to defeat an adverse possession claim to part of a churchyard)
- City & Country Properties Ltd v Birmingham City Council REF/2020/0209 (the defence of “highway maintainable at public expense” was raised to defeat an adverse possession claim)
- (1) Tucker; (2) Hill v (1) Campbell; (2) Campbell REF/2020/0309 (boundary dispute & adverse possession)
- ANG Properties Limited v Boston REF/2019/0780
- Greenbelt Group Limited v (1) Lane; (2) Bourne BIR/OOCS/LIS/2018/0028
- Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding) – BPP
- Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction) – BPP
- MPhil Philosophy of Religion & Ethics – University of Cambridge
- BA Theology (1st) – University of Cambridge
- BA Law (2:1) – University of Oxford
Professional development courses:
- STEP Advanced Certificate in Administration of Estates (2023)
- Certificate in Insolvency Law (2017)
Appomitments and Memberships
Affiliate member of STEP
Member of MCCBA
Worcester Law Society member
“John is very thorough and well-reasoned. He is a careful and effective advocate with in-depth knowledge of the relevant evidence and applicable law.” Legal 500 2024
“John has an excellent, analytical mind, with a calm and measured demeanour. He patiently and skilfully deals with witnesses who ramble in evidence and adroitly reveals the flaws in that evidence.” Legal 500 2023