Our working arrangements and important information during the Covid-19 pandemic

Following Government guidance, members of chambers, clerks and staff are now working remotely. During this period clerks and staff will be available by email, on their direct dial and mobile numbers. Our switchboard will also be in operation during chambers working hours (Monday-Friday, 08.30-18.30).

Paul Bunting
(Senior Clerk)

Paul.Bunting@selbornechambers.co.uk

020 7420 9502

07971 843023

Darren Madle
(Senior Clerk)

Darren.Madle@selbornechambers.co.uk

020 7420 9504

07769 714399

Oliver Ventura
(First Junior Clerk)

Oliver.Ventura@selbornechambers.co.uk

020 7420 9505

07845 079675

Aron Hanks
(Second Junior Clerk)

Aron.Hanks@selbornechambers.co.uk

020 7420 9506

07508 032811

Brandy Forrester
(Fees Manager)

Brandy.Forrester@selbornechambers.co.uk

020 7420 9507

07702 496628

Charlotte Crane
(Marketing Manager)

Charlotte.Crane@selbornechambers.co.uk

020 7420 9501

07585 445470

Please note that as we are working remotely we will not be able to accept deliveries to chambers, therefore please speak to one of the clerks who will be able to provide an alternative address or solution to this.

For more information please see our response to Covid-19.

Gary Blaker QC

Call: 1993
QC: 2015

Gary practises in all aspects of property law, property damage, professional negligence and commercial chancery litigation.

In addition to landlord and tenant and real property cases, Gary is experienced in property damage, professional negligence and civil fraud claims.

In 2018 Gary appeared successfully in P&P/Dreamvar, the landmark Court of Appeal case on property identity fraud, Gibbs v Lakeside Developments Limited, a Court of Appeal case about unjust enrichment and the law of forfeiture and the Chancery appeal in Devere v LB Hounslow concerning the unlawful mooring of houseboats in Brentford.

Gary’s versatility often leads him to work outside mainstream property law. Recent instructions have included, advising on the strategic reorganisation of housing stock for local authorities, a £10 million personal injury claim concerning defective premises and a multi- million pound planning related professional negligence claim. In recent years he has also developed a practice in property damage cases, particularly those caused by fires and floods.

Gary regularly receives praise for his approachability, the fact that he is an adept team leader, the dedication he brings to his cases and the commercial, practical advice he provides.

Gary was elected a Bencher of Middle Temple in 2015. He is currently a member of the Middle Temple Estates Committee and the Equality, Diversity and Social Mobility Committee.

In October 2013 he was nominated for the annual Bar Pro Bono award and is currently the Vice Chair of the Bar Council’s Pro Bono and Social Responsibility Committee.

  • Civil Fraud

    Current and recent instructions include:

    • Acting for investors in a failed £30 million building development in Manchester
    • Acting for a mobile park owner in a fraudulent misrepresentation claim arising out of the alleged misselling of park homes in a site in Yorkshire
    • A fraud claim worth £4 million between members of a Belgian family
  • Commercial

    Current and recent instructions include

    • A multi-million pound claim arising out of the sale of one of the world’s leading golf courses
    • Acting for investors in a failed £30 million building development in Manchester
    • An appeal dealing with the limits of the remedy of unjust enrichment where a lawful possession has taken place
    • A multi-million pound contractual dispute in relation to an internet cinema ticket booking system in the USA
  • Landlord and Tenant

    Current and recent instructions include:

    • A 1954 claim for one of the world’s leading fashion retailers concerning the redevelopment of its flagship London store
    • 1954 Act proceedings involving a high profile mixed use development in West Hampstead
    • A dilapidations claim concerning a large office block in the City of London
    • Advising Network Rail and Sainsbury’s in relation to development and landlord and tenant issues
    • Advising leading UK restaurant groups about the rapidly evolving restaurant property market
    • A rent review dispute in relation to Oxford Street premises occupied by a well-known fashion retailer
  • Professional Negligence

    Current and recent instructions include:

    • Acting for the victims of a large property identity fraud in the landmark P&P/Dreamvar litigation
    • Acting for a claimant in relation to the negligent lease extension of a multi-million pound property in West London
    • A multi-million pound solicitor’s negligence claim concerning investments in photo voltaic plants in Greece
    • A £2 million professional negligence claim on behalf of Henry Hallowes – once described as “Britain’s richest tramp” in relation to an alleged failure to register easements
    • A multi million pound claim against a leading town planning consultancy in respect of an application for a change of use for a community mental health hospital

     

  • Property Damage

    Current and recent instructions include:

    • A 10 day TCC trial dealing with water contamination at a factory
    • A TCC claim arising from a fire at a university science park
    • An engineering dispute in the TCC about the failure of cooling systems installed in a bank’s data centre
    • A landlord and tenant case where a fire had caused significant damage to a multi-million pound flat
    • A dispute about damage caused when a pond flooded a multi-million pound house in Surrey
    • Acting in a £10 million personal injury claim for a high profile public body arising out of allegations of defective premises
  • Real Property

    Current and recent instructions include:

    • A £5 million claim concerning parking rights at an office site in Brentford
    • Advising leading UK restaurant groups about the rapidly evolving restaurant property market
    • A boundary dispute in Kensington involving properties worth in excess of £10 million
    • Acting in a dispute over the development of a large former hospital in London
    • Advising numerous local authorities in relation to the reorganisation of housing stock
  • Notable Cases

    Below is a selection of Gary’s recent reported cases.

    • Fishbourne Developments Ltd v Stephens  [2020] EWHC 932 (Ch)
      The issue before the court was whether an option had been exercised by virtue of a planning permission obtained by the Claimant. The Court went on to hold that “development” meant development of a new building albeit this did not have to be for agricultural use and “development of the Property” meant development of substantially the whole of the farm land which was the subject of the option.
    • In the matter of Pinnacle (Angelgate) Limited (in Liquidation) [2020] EWHC 141 (Ch)
      Gary appeared together with Isabel Petrie in this case about the failed residential development known as Pinnacle Angelgate Manchester.They successful recovered some of the investments made in the project by individual investors. The majority of the close to £30 million invested was lost as the developer went into administration and then liquidation.The case concerned how the proceeds of sale of the site together with other invested sums which had not been spent by Pinnacle and totalling over £6 million should be distributed.
    • John Innes Foundation & ors v Vertiv Infrastructure Limited [2020] EWHC 19 (TCC); [2020] PNLR 13; [2020] TCLR; 188 Con LR 77 (Roger ter Haar QC)
      Gary appeared for the successful Defendant Vertiv in striking out a £3 million property damage professional negligence claim.The claim concerned a fire at the Genome Centre at Norwich Research Park. It was held that Vertiv did not owe a duty of care to the freeholder or leaseholders whose property was damaged by the fire.
    • Jafari v Tareem Ltd [2019] LTL 29/10/2019 Nugee J; [2019] EWHC 3119 Ch
      Gary appeared for the successful respondents in this appeal about breach of covenant enjoyment and appeals from findings of fact.The case concerned the redevelopment of a hotel in Brighton. One part of the building was occupied by a dentist who alleged that scaffolding and noise caused significant loss of profits.Nugee J re-affirmed the tests to be applied in determining whether a breach of quiet enjoyment has occurred and when it is appropriate for appellate courts to interfere with findings of fact made by the trial judge
    • Gibbs v Lakeside Developments Limited [2018] EWCA Civ 2874; [2019] 4 WLR 6; [2019] 2 P&CR 6; [2019] L&TR 15; [2019] HLR 9; The Times 22 January 2019
      Gary appeared for the successful respondent in this interesting Court of Appeal case. The court examined principles concerning unjust enrichment, the finality of court orders and restated the law in relation to the forfeiture of residential long leases.
    • URT Group & ors v Dowers & ors [2018] EWHC 3195 (Ch); [2018] All ER (D) 13 (Dec) (Zacaroli J)
      Gary successfully persuaded the judge to exercise his discretion to reverse his previous decision in a dispute relating to equipment left at a factory upon disclaimer of a lease.The judge refused to order delivery up of property left at the factory premises at the end of the lease holding that there is a triable issue whether the items are tenant’s fixtures rather than chattels.
    • The London Borough of Hounslow v Devere & ors [2018] EWHC 1447 (Ch); [2018] L.L.R. 764
      Gary represented the London Borough of Hounslow in this interesting appeal concerning houseboat owners trespassing in Watermans Park,  Brentford.Subject to minor variations of the trial judge’s order Gary successfully resisted the appeal and the trial judge’s findings were mainly upheld.
    • P&P Property Ltd v Owen White & Catlin LLP & anr and Dreamvar Ltd v Mishcon de Reya & anr [2019] Ch 273; [2018] 3 W.L.R. 1244; [2018] 4 All E.R. 277; [2018] Bus. L.R. 1668; [2018] Lloyd’s Rep. F.C. 445; [2018] P.N.L.R. 29; [2018]; [2019] 1 P&CR 1; EWCA Civ 1082.Gary was successful in this landmark conveyancing case concerning property identity fraud.  The court of appeal reversed the decision of the trial judge and awarded P&P equitable compensation for the purchase price and consequential losses.The court found that when Owen White & Catlin LLP, acting as solicitors for the vendor, paid away  the purchase price of a property in West London to an imposter it did so in breach of trust and in breach of an undertaking provided under the Law Society Code for Completion by Post 2011. OWC was refused relief under section 61 of the Trustee Act 1925.
    • London College of Business Ltd v Tareem Ltd & Anor [2018] EWHC 437 (Ch) (John Martin QC)
      Gary successfully defended a claim for breach of quiet enjoyment in excess of £1 million.  The Claimant has instead been ordered to pay Gary’s client a sum of about £30,000 in respect of unpaid service charges.
    • Crown House Technologies Ltd  v Cardiff Commissioning Ltd and Emerson Network Power Limited [2018] EWHC 54 (TCC) Coulson J. Gary successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of the Second Defendant in a £1.2m claim concerning the supply of chiller units to a data centre.
    • P & P Property Limited v OWC LLP and Crownvent Ltd t/a Winkworth [2016] Bus LR 1337; [2017] PNLR 3; [2017] 1 P&CR DG6; [2016] EWHC 2276 Robin Dicker QC
      Gary appeared in an important case about imposter fraud.  The Claimant purchased a property for in excess of £1 million but later discovered that it had been sold by an imposter. The case involved complex issues involving breach of warranty of authority, negligence and breach of trust. The trial judge granted Gary’s client permission to appeal from his own decision.
    • Gibbs v Lakeside Developments Ltd LTL 13.07.2016 Arnold J
      Whether there was a binding agreement to settle an appeal.  The parties had agreed on a sum but not the date for payment. No agreement had been reached. Gary appeared for the successful Respondent
    • Hallows v Wilson Barca LLP LTL 11/9/15 – John Jarvis QC sitting as a Deputy Judge of the Chancery Division – Whether pre-planning advice from a local authority was protected by litigation privilege and whether there had been a waiver of that privilege.
    • Van Collem v Van Collem [2015] EWHC 2258 (Ch) – Asplin J  –  long running Chancery trial concerning a multi million pound civil fraud claim. Gary Blaker QC and Isabel Petrie succeeded in setting aside a fraudulent share transfer and recovering about £2.5 million in misappropriated sums.
    • Van Collem v Van Collem [2015] EWHC 2184 (Ch) – Asplin J – the court examined in detail whether there was a good medical reason for not attending the trial.
    • Spielplatz Limited v Pearson [2015] 2 P&CR 17; [2016] L&TR 12; [2015] EWCA Civ 804 – The Court of Appeal examined whether a bungalow had formed part of the land upon which it sat. Gary successfully resisted the appeal having also succeeded at trial.
    • Watson Farley & Williams v Ostrovizky [2015] EWCA Civ 457 – The Court of Appeal looked at whether a Greek lawyer had been negligent in drafting agreements for investments in solar panel plants in Greece.
    • Van Collem v Van Collem [2014] EWHC 3280 (Ch) Birss J examined a number of procedural matters including whether to make a limited civil restraint order.
    • Schwab v 7-9 St George’s Square LLP12 day Chancery trial in June 2014 before Peter Smith J – a claim for £9.5m arising out of a fire in a residential property in Pimlico – settled after the first week of the trial.
    • H Waites Limited v Hambledon Court Limited [2014] 1EGLR 119; [2014] EWHC 651 (Ch) Morgan J examined a number of different issues relating to a proposed development in airspace above garage blocks. On one of the issues the court held that where there is a vertical division of leasehold land the demise includes the airspace above the building which is the subject of the demise.
    • Watson Farley & Williams v Ostrovizky [2014] EWHC 160 (QB) Whether a Greek lawyer was negligent in drafting agreements for investments in solar panel plants in Greece
    • Afia v Mellor & anr LTL 3/12/2013 Successfully acted for a shareholder of Partridge Fine Arts in his claim against guarantors who had guaranteed the acquisition of shares when Partridge was taken over. The claim was based on promissory estoppel, waiver and forbearance.
    • Derek Hodd Ltd v Climate Change Capital Ltd [2013] EWHC 1665 (Ch); [2013] WLR (D) 238 Extent to which the court is permitted to have regard to extrinsic evidence to identify a mis-described party in a contract
    • Rivercove Trustee Limited v Euro Rubber Lines [2012] EWHC 2593 (TCC) A 10 day trial concerning serious oil contamination at a former plastics factory in Essex.
  • Recommendations
    • Leading Silk – Property Litigation (Legal 500 2020)
    • Leading Silk – Professional Negligence (Legal 500 2020)
    • Leading Silk – Real Estate Litigation (Chambers & Partners 2020)
    • Leading Silk – Real Estate (Who’s Who Legal 2020)

    Recent published comments about Gary include the following:

    • “He has the ability to distil complex legal issues and offer workable practical solutions rather than just stating the law.” (Chambers and Partners 2020)
    • “Extremely knowledgeable and versatile.” (Chambers and Partners 2020)
    • “He is hands-on and very easy to work with.” (Chambers and Partners 2020)
    • ‘His strengths lie in his excellent knowledge of the law and his clear and direct advice to clients.’ (Legal 500 2020)
    • ‘He is clear and definitive in providing advice and has a commercial understanding of the client’s needs’ (Legal 500 2020)
    • ‘Bright, efficient and a great property litigation silk.’ (Legal 500 2019)
    • ‘He is brilliant at explaining complicated matters in a straight-forward manner.’ (Legal 500 2019)
    • “Extremely thorough and diligent in his advice.” “He understands the needs of the client and thinks ahead.” (Chambers and Partners 2019)
    • “Gary’s work ethic is phenomenal, and he’s responsive, clear and concise.” (Chambers and Partners 2018)
    • “He’s really good at explaining some pretty tactical, sensitive and complex issues.” (Chambers and Partners 2018)
    • ‘He is very industrious, hardworking and approachable, and gets the job done without fuss.’ (Legal 500 2017)
    • ‘He drills down into the detail to best understand the issues.’ (Legal 500 2017)
    • “Very approachable, and very new school rather than old school” (Chambers & Partners 2017)
    • “He knows his stuff and he’s up for a fight – he’s willing to push if the argument has got merit but won’t fight for the sake of it.” (Chambers & Partners 2017)
    • “Earns praise for his approachability and practical work style” (Chambers & Partners 2017)
    • “He’s accommodating and open to other ideas.” (Chambers & Partners 2017)
    • “A very bright silk, who is extremely professional and down to earth, providing really pragmatic and commercial advice.’  (Legal 500 2016)
    • “Sources attest to his skills at both trial and mediation.” (Chambers and Partners 2016)
    • “He is commercial, sensible and gives very sound advice.” (Chambers and Partners 2016)
    • “He’s very client-friendly.” (Chambers and Partners 2016)
    • “Incredibly user-friendly, and well liked by clients for his commercial and pragmatic approach” (Legal 500 2015)
    • “He makes himself available at short notice and is someone who is keen to put the client’s best case forward” (Legal 500 2015)
    • a very responsive barrister who works hard and provides clear advice” (Legal 500 2014)
    • he is not scared to get his hands (or shoes) dirty by going that extra mile to ensure a client is fully represented” (Legal 500 2014)
    • “Gary Blaker … ‘A great team member’ who is ‘unflappable in a crisis’” (Chambers and Partners 2013)
  • Chambers and Partners
  • Legal 500
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