Michelle Caney was called to the Bar in 2004 and has been consistently recommended in the legal directories since 2010, ranking in the top band in both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.
As an accomplished real estate and commercial property litigator, Michelle is regularly trusted with cases of the utmost complexity. She also has extensive experience and a national reputation in the field of social housing, being a recognised leader in both fields.
Michelle is highly regarded as an advocate, both in court and on paper, and has experience of being a leading junior, as well as being led in cases across all levels of court. She has a reputation for combining exceptional technical knowledge and meticulous attention to detail with a personable approach and always striving to achieve her client’s objectives.
In addition to her property practice, Michelle has notable expertise in professional negligence claims involving a property element, along with experience concerning company and partnership disputes and mortgages and guarantees. Michelle is also adept at handling matters involving issues of fraud and forged documents, and cases in which capacity issues arise.
Current notable work includes a landmark Supreme Court appeal concerning the nature and extent of the court’s jurisdiction to grant injunctions against Persons Unknown and an appeal to the Court of Appeal which has the potential to change the law of succession. Michelle recently acted as the leading junior in group litigation arising out of the urgent evacuation of a high-rise block in London.
Michelle is recognised as a Notable Practitioner and is ranked in Band 1 for Real Estate Litigation in Chambers and Partners and Tier 1 for Property and Construction in Legal 500.
Michelle is a leading real estate and commercial property litigator with extensive experience who can be trusted with cases of the utmost complexity. She is highly regarded as an advocate, both in court and on paper. As Legal 500 2023 edition for Property and Construction commented: “Michelle is an exceptional barrister. Her attention to detail and knowledge of the law is second to none. Her advocacy is strong and effective. Her manner with clients is always good.”
Michelle is particularly sought after for her ability to grapple with niche areas of property law and willingness to go the extra mile to achieve the best possible results for her clients.
Michelle’s busy real property practice includes:
In her commercial landlord and tenant practice, Michelle regularly deals with:
In the residential landlord and tenant sphere, Michelle advises on and represents clients in disputes relating to enforcement of covenants, possession claims, service charge and management disputes and issues arising from enfranchisement and leasehold extension.
Michelle often advises in respect of the construction of complex or poorly drafted provisions in commercial or residential property contracts, and litigation arising therefrom. Michelle has notable expertise in professional negligence claims involving a property element.
In addition to her property practice, Michelle has experience concerning company and partnership disputes and mortgages and guarantees. Michelle is adept at handling matters involving issues of fraud and forged documents, and cases in which capacity issues arise.
Michelle has a national reputation and extensive expertise in the field of social housing. She is ranked in Band 1 in Chambers and Partners and Tier 1 in Legal 500 for Social Housing.
Michelle prides herself on providing an excellent service and maintaining a personable, client-focused approach at all times. As Chambers and Partners 2023 states: “Michelle Caney is extremely thorough, analytical and well read. Her drafting is excellent and she is extremely personable. Michelle is vastly knowledgeable about a great many areas of law.”
Michelle’s expertise covers the full range of housing litigation. She is instructed in matters ranging from complex possession/injunction claims, right to buy and succession disputes to service charge/rent review disputes and judicial review claims. Michelle is particularly sought after for her experience in cases involving disability, mental capacity, public law challenges and human rights issues. She is also adept at handling issues of fraud.
Michelle’s particular areas of expertise include:
In addition to her busy court practice, Michelle regularly advises on matters of policy and strategic issues facing local authorities and registered providers of social housing. Recent instructions include advising on gypsy and traveller policy, allocations, mutual exchanges and succession.
Current notable work includes a landmark Supreme Court appeal concerning the nature and extent of the court’s jurisdiction to grant injunctions against Persons Unknown and an appeal to the Court of Appeal involving a challenge to the succession legislation under Article 14 of the ECHR. Both cases have the potential to make significant changes to the law.
Michelle has a wealth of experience dealing with professional liability actions involving property transactions, including claims against solicitors, surveyors, valuers, and architects. Michelle appreciates the reputational implications of such claims and is adept at advising on strategy and navigating a claim or defence towards a swift and successful conclusion.
Michelle is particularly sought after for her technical knowledge drawn from her real estate and commercial property practice, which provides a solid foundation for assessing whether a professional has fallen below the requisite standard. She has extensive expertise in dealing with complex causation issues and loss of chance claims and advising accurately on quantum.
Michelle regularly advises on the interpretation of contractual documents which has equipped her with the expertise to advise comprehensively on poorly drafted documents. Her experience extends to dealing with cases involving fraud and forged documents in which allegations of dishonesty are made against the professionals involved in the transaction.
Current notable work involves a claim concerning a bridging loan procured as part of a sophisticated fraud in which the professionals have been implicated in the wrongdoing.
Michelle Caney’s commercial and chancery practice covers a range of disputes which complement her core real estate practice. Her broad experience includes business and contractual disputes, mortgages and guarantees, disputed trusts and contested wills. Michelle also has experience of dealing with complex shareholder and partnership disputes and is adept at handling cases in which issues of capacity to contract arise.
Michelle appreciates the financial pressures and stresses of litigation and always endeavours to provide pragmatic and strategic advice with her client’s objectives at the forefront of her mind. She is particularly sought after for her ability to grapple with technical issues of law on which there is no settled precedent and her forensic preparation when matters come to trial.
Michelle’s analytical mind and attention to detail mean that she is well-equipped to dissect a difficult legal problem and devise a route to success. As Chambers UK recently observed: “Michelle Caney’s ability to dissect a case factually and legally, provide straightforward and understandable advice in the most complex cases, whilst simultaneously advancing extremely sophisticated legal submissions, sets her apart from the rest.”
Interesting recent instructions include advising on whether the principle of donatio mortis causa (deathbed gift) was capable of overriding a testator’s will.
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and Others v Persons Unknown  EWCA Civ 13 (CA). Landmark appeal concerning the scope of the court’s jurisdiction to grant injunctions against Persons Unknown. Second appeal heard in the Supreme Court in February 2023 – judgment awaited.
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council v Mailley  EWHC 2328 (QB). Important High Court possession claim dealing with a trio of defences: public law defence, Article 8 proportionality and Article 14 incompatibility. Appeal to the Court of Appeal pending – to be heard in October 2023.
Northamber Plc v (1) Genee World Ltd (In Liquidation) (2) Ranjit Singh (3) Interactive Education Solutions Ltd  EWHC 31. 5 day trial of a commercial committal application in the High Court. Guidance given on when a company director may be guilty of contempt for the company’s default.
Wolverhampton City Council v Persons Unknown  EWHC 2280 (QB). Review hearing of an injunction granted against Persons Unknown. The High Court concluded that the Council had complied with guidance given by the Court of Appeal in Bromley LBC v Persons Unknown  EWCA Civ 12.
Wolverhampton City Council v Persons Unknown  EWHC 3777 (QB). High profile claim concerning the politically sensitive issue of dealing with unauthorised traveller encampments. Michelle secured an injunction to protect 60 sites in Wolverhampton, subject to a 12 month review.
In the Matter of an Application to Register as a Town or Village Green Land known as Rokeby Playing Fields, Rugby, Warwickshire (Application Reference 300/159). Village Green Inquiry at which Michelle acted as the Independent Inspector to determine whether land had become a village green. A copy of her Inspector’s Report can be viewed at: https://api.warwickshire.gov.uk/documents/WCCC-743-213
Shakilal Abdur Rehman and Anor v Mohammed Ali and Ors  EWHC 4056 (Ch). 17 day trial in the High Court concerning whether a Mosque was held upon trust for the local community.
Wolverhampton City Council v Shuttleworth  LTL 13/12/2013. High Court appeal raising a novel point of law concerning the validity of a notice served to determine an introductory tenancy.
Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association v Vertigan  EWCA Civ 1583 (CA). Court of Appeal decision giving guidance on the interplay between undertakings and suspended possession orders.
Tackling a trio of defences to a possession claim (14 November 2022, Local Government Lawyer)
The revival of injunctions against persons unknown (11 February 2022, Local Government Lawyer)
Housing allocation schemes: indirect discrimination (26 April 2019, Local Government Lawyer)
The ‘Right to Rent’ checks and human rights (28 March 2019, Local Government Lawyer)
Service Charges in Commercial Leases: Key Principles of Construction and Operation (21 August 2017, Property Litigation Association)
Permission for warrants of possession (13 October 2016, Nearly Legal)
Michelle regularly presents seminars and webinars within her areas of expertise. Such talks can be arranged via the clerks and can be presented at the dedicated facilities within chambers or provided remotely. CPD approval can be obtained if required.
The recording of a webinar presented in collaboration with Trowers & Hamlins Solicitors “Spotlight on Possession Proceedings post 21 September 2020” can be viewed here: https://www.trowers.com/insights/2020/november/webinar-spotlight-on-possession-proceedings-post-21-september-2020
Birmingham University, LLB (Hons) Law.
Nottingham School of Law, BVC.
Ede & Ravenscroft Prize – Winner, Middle Temple Mooting Competition 2004
Mooting Tour to Malibu – Winner, Middle Temple Mooting Competition 2004
Harmsworth Scholarship – Middle Temple 2004
Blackstones Entrance Exhibition – Middle Temple 2004
Campbell Foster Prize – Middle Temple 2003
Simmons & Simmons Commercial Law Prize – Birmingham University 2003
Mistress of the Moots – Camm Cup Mooting Competition 2002
Midland Chancery and Commercial Bar Association (MCCBA)
Midland Circuit Social Housing Law Association
“Michelle Caney is exemplary. She has brilliant communication skills and is extremely knowledgeable.” Chambers and Partners 2024
“Michelle is excellent all round; very intelligent and capable. Her advocacy is impressive and she is very thorough and on top of her cases.” Chambers and Partners 2024
“She is excellent at client management and dealing with them as appropriate. The work she does is always of a really high quality, easy to follow and digestible, but she is also a brilliant advocate and brilliant at cross-examination.” Chambers and Partners 2024
“Michelle Caney is extremely analytical and a talented advocate. She is vastly experienced and able to handle extremely complex and sophisticated work including matters of complex human rights challenges.” Chambers and Partners 2024
“Michelle Caney’s ability to dissect a case factually and legally, provide straightforward and understandable advice in the most complex cases, whilst simultaneously advancing extremely sophisticated legal submission, sets her apart from the rest.” Chambers and Partners 2024
“A thorough and highly knowledgeable advocate, Michelle Caney absorbs the detail of the case and is a highly effective and impressive negotiator.” Chambers and Partners 2024
“Michelle is very clear in her advice and is great at cutting to the heart of matters and dealing with emotional clients.” Legal 500 2024
“Michelle is an excellent all-round barrister. Her advocacy skills are second-to-none.’ Legal 500 2024
“Michelle Caney is extremely thorough, analytical and well read. Her drafting is excellent and she is extremely personable. Michelle is vastly knowledgeable about a great many areas of law.” Chambers and Partners 2023
“Michelle is very thorough, well prepared and a very good advocate.” Chambers and Partners 2023
“Michelle can get to grips with complex matters very, very quickly.” Chambers and Partners 2023
“Exceptionally technical and excellent with clients.” Chambers and Partners 2023
“Michelle is an exceptional barrister. Her attention to detail and knowledge of the law is second to none. Her advocacy is strong and effective. Her manner with clients is always good.” Legal 500 2023
“Michelle is very capable and technically brilliant. She is very thorough in her preparation and clients are always very impressed with her. She is the go-to barrister for the housing association clients.” Legal 500 2023:
“She is an exceptional barrister with a breadth of knowledge on all aspects of social housing.” Chambers & Partners 2022
“She is thorough, and her attention to deal is second to none.” Chambers & Partners 2022
“Michelle is diligent and thorough in her advice. She is confident on her feet and well prepared.” Chambers & Partners 2022
“Michelle is one of the best barristers we instruct. She is meticulous in her approach – the go to person in our team for complicated matters. She is very articulate in her advocacy and puts our clients at ease.” Legal 500 2022
“Michelle is truly exceptional. She is a very gifted lawyer who can make the most complex of issues appear straightforward to the client. ” Legal 500 2022
“She is a powerful advocate who goes above and beyond.” Chambers and Partners 2021
“You get a level of service and quality of work from Michelle that you would expect to receive from a silk at a London set.” Chambers and Partners 2021
“She is very good with clients and really good with details. She meticulously prepares for matters and will know things inside out.” Chambers and Partners 2021
“Meticulously prepared for every case and is able to formulate clever arguments even when there are limitations in the evidence.” Legal 500 2021
“‘A calm, clear and persuasive advocate, with a very precise and thorough approach to cases.” Legal 500 2021
“She is exceptional – very thorough and approachable.” Chambers & Partners 2020:
“An excellent all-rounder.” “Has an encyclopaedic knowledge of housing law.” Legal 500 2019
“Very bright and gets on well with clients. She is good at guiding them through the case and is very thorough.” Chambers & Partners 2019
“A very good advocate.” Chambers & Partners 2019:
“Exemplary in terms of client care, trial preparation and advocacy skills.” Chambers & Partners 2019
“An exceptional barrister with a breadth of knowledge on all aspects of social housing.” Chambers & Partners 2019:
“Exceptionally hardworking and punches well above her year of call.” Legal 500 2018
“A go-to property litigator.” Legal 500 2018
“Technically brilliant and thorough. No stone is left unturned. She is meticulous with her preparation.” Chambers & Partners 2018
“A superb advocate who is fantastic with witnesses.” Chambers & Partners 2018
“She provides comprehensive advice, makes clear points and always addresses all the points put to her.” Chambers & Partners 2018
“She is exceptionally hard-working and very clever.” Chambers & Partners 2018
“Beneath her cool, calm exterior is a fiery, formidable opponent.” Legal 500 2017
“She makes vulnerable witnesses feel at ease.” Legal 500 2017
“Superb advocate with extremely detailed preparation in trials.” Chambers & Partners 2017
“She’s forensic in preparation, goes way above and beyond and has an utterly thorough grasp of every detail of the case.” Chambers & Partners 2017
“An excellent advocate, who is well respected by judges.” Legal 500 2016
“Superb technical knowledge, confident authoritative manner with clients, and brilliant crossexamination.” Chambers & Partners 2016
“She is incredibly conscientious. Nothing gets past her gaze.” Chambers & Partners 2016
“Her advocacy and cross-examination skills are superb.” “She is always incredibly well prepared for conferences and hearings.” Legal 500 2015
“She is an excellent advocate. She doesn’t miss anything, and she puts up a very good fight.” Chambers & Partners 2015
“She is an absolute professional, is always well prepared and always manages to know how to treat difficult defendants.” Chambers & Partners 2015
“She has wide-ranging commercial and Chancery expertise.” Legal 500 2014
“She is incredibly efficient and extremely organised.” Chambers & Partners 2014
“She is exceptionally thorough and knows her stuff inside out.” Chambers & Partners 2014
“She listens to her clients carefully and does what they want her to do. She will fight tooth and nail if she feels it is a good case to argue.” Chambers & Partners 2014
“Technically she is excellent, but she is also down to earth, which is crucial with social housing.” Chambers & Partners 2014
“Michelle is an outstanding and tenacious advocate respected by judges. She is able to quickly build rapport with clients, witnesses and instructing solicitors.” Chambers & Partners 2013
Michelle Caney is “well prepared, eloquent and persuasive.” Legal 500 2012
“Hugely talented”, “consistently excellent and utterly reliable”, and is praised for her “immaculate preparation.” Legal 500 2011
Michelle Caney, “an incredibly dedicated, hardworking and gifted” junior, is “down to earth, practical and excellent in both court and negotiations.” Legal 500 2010