Isabel has a broad commercial and chancery practice, with a particular focus on Property, Insolvency and Commercial litigation.
Isabel is recognised in the legal directories as a leading junior in the fields of Insolvency and Property/Real Estate litigation for 2024. Past and present editions of the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners have described Isabel as “very bright”, “charismatic and commercially minded” and “an excellent, no-nonsense and incisive advocate”. The directories note that “her strength lies in the overlap between property and insolvency matters”, remarking that such dual expertise is “highly valuable in the current market”. Isabel has also received recognition for being “proactive and to the point. Nothing is too much trouble”, for providing “practical and straightforward communication with clients” and for giving “considered and robust” advice.
Isabel has experience of high profile, complex and long running litigation. Notable recent and ongoing work includes:
- Isabel is currently instructed on a substantial commercial fraud dispute concerning a central London property development (led by Nicholas Trompeter KC)
- Isabel recently acted for a German property investment fund, Patrizia, in parallel proceedings against Liberty Commodities Ltd (part of the GFG Alliance, owned by Sanjeev Gupta). She successfully obtained a declaration that a high value commercial lease had not been forfeited in NPS (40GP) Limited v Liberty Commodities Ltd  EWHC 2137 (Ch) and also successfully obtained carriage of a winding-up petition at a contested multi-party substitution application in Liberty Commodities Ltd v Citibank NA London & Others  EWHC 2020 (Ch)
- For much of 2022 and 2023 Isabel acted for the Secretary of State for Business & Trade in disqualification proceedings against the former directors of Carillion plc (led by Mark Cunningham KC and David Mohyuddin KC). The collapse of the Carillion Group was the largest corporate trading insolvency in UK history and these were the most complex directors disqualification proceedings ever brought by the Insolvency Service. The claim concerned false accounting in relation to five construction contracts and two outsourcing transactions and resulted in the executive directors of Carillion plc undertaking not to act as directors for a combined period of over 30 years – one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases for 2023
- Isabel appeared as sole counsel in an appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) relating to the construction of leases and the recovery of notional rent via service charges: Retirement Lease Housing Association Ltd & Anor v Schellerup & Ors  UKUT 232 (LC)
Between 2017 to 2023 Isabel was appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown. During that period, she represented the Government in a range of company, insolvency and property-related disputes.
Isabel undertakes work involving all aspects of commercial litigation including civil fraud and asset recovery. She has experience of a broad range of business disputes, including claims concerning the proper construction and effect of contractual terms and conditions; misrepresentation; rectification and mistake; breach of duties of good faith; bailment and conversion; the sale of goods and supply of services; and disputes arising out of joint ventures.
Isabel has substantial experience of making (and defending) applications for urgent injunctive relief as well as dealing with proceedings for contempt of court and committal applications.
Her current and recent instructions include:
- Isabel is currently instructed on a substantial commercial fraud dispute concerning a central London property development listed for trial in 2024 (led by Nicholas Trompeter KC)
- Advising on complex claim concerning breach of conditions precedent and repudiation of a compromise agreement
- Advising on a high value fraudulent breach of trust claim involving limitation issues
- Acting for an accountancy firm in a claim concerning repudiation of contract and the recovery of unpaid fees
- Acting as junior counsel (led by Romie Tager KC) in a two-week High Court trial concerning duties of disclosure and good faith, allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation and the breakdown of a joint venture agreement
In the past, Isabel has been led by Romie Tager KC in a two-day appeal to the Court of Appeal in Group Seven Ltd v Allied Investment Corporation Ltd  EWCA Civ 631 and by Gary Blaker KC in a two-week trial in Van Collem v Van Collem  EWHC 2258 (Ch). Both of these cases concerned civil fraud in the context of multi-million pound claims.
Company & Partnership
Isabel acts for and advises a range of clients in relation to company disputes. Her practice has a particular emphasis on claims concerning directors’ duties and matters that touch on insolvency issues. Examples of recent cases include:
- Isabel acted as junior counsel (led by Mark Cunningham KC and David Mohyuddin KC) in the largest scale directors’ disqualification proceedings ever pursued by the Insolvency Service, arising out of the collapse of Carillion plc and the Carillion Group
- Isabel has dealt with a significant number of other matters concerning the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, including several substantial s.17 Applications and the trial of Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy v Mehmet Yilmaz  EWHC 1764 (Ch)
- Dealing with a s.994 Petition concerning a London nightclub business, which involved successfully seeking urgent injunctive relief for control of a bank account
- Advising Administrators in relation to the priority of debentures registered in the Companies House Register
- Isabel regularly advises on applications to re-vest UK-based property held by off-shore companies that have been struck off or liquidated in overseas jurisdictions
Isabel is recognised as a leading insolvency specialist. She acts for a wide range of creditors, debtors and office holders in an advisory and representative capacity. She frequently appears in the Insolvency & Companies Court. During her appointment to the Attorney General’s panel Isabel received regular instructions from HM Revenue & Customs, the Official Receiver, the Insolvency Service and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (now Secretary of State for Business & Trade). Isabel’s practice covers both individual and corporate insolvency proceedings.
Isabel has substantial experience in making (and defending) applications for injunctive relief to restrain presentation of winding up petitions.
Some current and recent work includes:
- Successfully obtained carriage of a winding-up petition at a contested multi-party substitution application in Liberty Commodities Ltd v Citibank NA London & Others  EWHC 2020 (Ch). The judgment of Chief ICC Judge Briggs provides clarity and guidance on the correct approach to applications under r.7.17 of the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016
- During her appointed to the Attorney Generals’s panel Isabel was regularly instructed as Counsel for HM Revenue in the Winding Up Court where she would deal with the disposal of large numbers (sometimes hundreds) of petitions in quick succession
- Advising a London hotelier in relation to the (successful) opposition to a statutory demand and the threat of insolvency proceedings
- Successfully having a notice of opposition to a petition dismissed at a 1-day disposal hearing, in circumstances where the debtor company raised allegations of misrepresentation as grounds for disputing the debt
- Acting as junior counsel (led by Nicholas Trompeter KC) in injunctive proceedings to restrain the presentation of a winding up petition on behalf of one of the UK’s largest high street businesses. The case (eventually settling out of Court) was dealt with on an urgent basis at the outset of the disruption caused by the Coronavirus pandemic
- Acting as junior counsel (led by Gary Blaker KC) in Re Pinnacle (Angelgate) Manchester Limited (In Liquidation)  EWHC 141 (Ch), a case concerning the recovery and distribution of funds on behalf of foreign investors into a failed ‘off-plan’ residential development
- Appearing as sole counsel for the Official Receiver in HM Revenue And Customs v Direct Affinity Events Ltd & Ors  EWHC 3063 (Ch), a case concerning costs in the context of rescission of compulsory winding-up orders
Landlord & Tenant
Isabel acts both for landlords and tenants across a range of residential and commercial disputes. She has substantial experience of claims for possession, forfeiture, trespass and nuisance; dilapidations claims; claims relating to breaches and/or enforceability of leasehold covenants; service charge disputes; opposed and unopposed lease renewals; disputes about the validity of property notices; and all other types of landlord and tenant dispute.
Isabel’s clients include large landowners, developers and commercial investors such as Aviva, the Galliard Group, Patrizia and the Freshwater Group, major infrastructure providers such as Network Rail, numerous government departments, utility companies, lenders, LPA receivers and private landlords.
Current and recent instructions include:
- In NPS (40GP) Limited v Liberty Commodities Ltd  EWHC 2137 (Ch) Isabel successfully obtained a summary declaration that commercial lease had not been forfeited (in circumstances where the defendant tenant was facing insolvency proceedings and seeking to avoid its obligations by maintaining that the high value lease in question had been terminated)
- Responding to a complex service charge application (s.27A LTA 1985) from 35 leaseholders on behalf of a landlord
- Successfully obtaining a possession order against an anti-social tenant residing in a prime central London block of flats, following a 2-day trial
- Acting as junior counsel in a long running 1954 Act Lease Renewal and Service Charge dispute concerning a central London landmark property. Led by Nicholas Trompeter KC
- Appearing as sole counsel in an appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) relating to the construction of leases and the recovery of notional rent via service charges: Retirement Lease Housing Association Ltd & Anor v Schellerup & Ors  UKUT 232 (LC). The appeal, heard by the Deputy Chamber President, Martin Rodger QC, turned on the meaning of the word ‘cost’ in the service charge provisions of a lease and questioned whether this could be construed to encompass ‘income foregone’
- Acting as sole counsel in Goldstreet Properties Ltd v Khan LON/00BH/LBC/2019/0101 (3 September 2020) a trial in the First Tier Tribunal (Residential Property), in which Isabel was successful in obtaining determinations pursuant to section 168(4) of the CLRA 2002 in relation to 7 separate instances of breach of leasehold covenant
- Acting for the Government’s Bona Vacantia department in connection with properties that have reverted to the Crown with occupants in situ
Isabel accepts instructions in relation to all real property matters, including co-ownership disputes, claims concerning trusts of land and proprietary estoppel. She has experience of matters involving questions of Land Registration, adverse possession, trespass, boundaries, easements and restrictive covenants. Isabel is also frequently instructed by and against banks, institutional lenders and finance companies to advise, draft pleadings and appear as an advocate in disputes concerning mortgages and charges. Her current and recent instructions as sole counsel include:
- Acting for the Secretary of State for Transport in relation to a claim concerning nuisance and prescriptive rights of way
- Advising clients in relation to a claim for misrepresentation arising out of the purchase of units within an assisted living development
- Acting for the successful claimant in a TOLATA 1996 co-ownership dispute following a 3-day trial
- Acting for a developer in a claim relating to unauthorised burials and encroachments on land. The matter concerned injunctive relief, damages for trespass, easements by prescription and the determination of boundaries
- Carrying out extensive legal research for leading counsel Nicholas Trompeter KC and Kevin Prosser KC in relation to the national non-domestic rates matter Rossendale Borough Council v Hurstwood Properties (A) Ltd & Ors  UKSC 16
- Acting for the owners of a freehold property in a successful claim against the Crown Estate Commissioners for a vesting order under both s.181 of Law of Property Act 1925 and s.44 of the Trustee Act 1925. The application also concerned technical legal arguments about the dissolution of foreign companies and bona vacantia
- Advising BP Oil UK Limited in relation to a nuisance claim threatened by the owners of land next to a BP filling station
Trusts, Probate & Estates
Isabel’s practice also includes more traditional private client work. She has experience of a range of contentious probate matters, often concerning the treatment of real property on death. Recent instructions have included:
- Acting for the Executors of a deceased’s estate responding to a claim concerning the deceased’s involvement in a property transaction before her death. The claim raises issues of mental capacity, duress and undue influence
- Advising the Trustee in Bankruptcy of a residual beneficiary of an estate as to the best strategy for protecting the interests of the bankruptcy estate within the context of the administration of the deceased’s estate
- Drafting an applications under section 50 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 for the removal of Personal Representatives
- Acting for the executor of a Will in proceedings instigated against him by a beneficiary seeking to challenge an interim distribution
- Advising the partner of an intestate individual who faced possession proceedings of their family home following his death
- NPS (40GP) Limited v Liberty Commodities Ltd  EWHC 2137 (Ch). Summary judgment application concerning forfeiture of a commercial lease
- Liberty Commodities Ltd v Citibank NA London & Others  EWHC 2020 (Ch). Multi-party application considering the proper approach to r.7.17 of the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016
- Retirement Lease Housing Association Ltd & Anor v Schellerup & Ors  UKUT 232 (LC). An appeal concerning the construction of a lease and service charges
- Re Pinnacle (Angelgate) Limited (in Liquidation)  EWHC 141 (Ch). An application concerning the construction of a legal charge and the distribution of trust funds (led by Gary Blaker KC)
- HM Revenue And Customs v Direct Affinity Events Ltd & Ors  EWHC 3063 (Ch). A case concerning costs in the context of rescission of compulsory winding-up orders
- Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy v Mehmet Yilmaz  EWHC 1764 (Ch). A trial concerning concerning the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986
- Geoffrey John Wilkinson & Ors v JS Property Holdings & Ors  EWHC 1242 (Ch). A one-week trial concerning limitation, trusts, tracing and proprietary estoppel
- Van Collem v Van Collem  EWHC 2258 (Ch). A trial concerning civil fraud, breach of fiduciary duties and misappropriation (led by Gary Blaker KC)
- Van Collem v Van Collem  EWHC 2184 (Ch). Successfully defending application made on medical grounds to set aside an order striking out a defence (led by Gary Blaker KC)
- Group Seven Ltd v Allied Investment Corporation Ltd  EWCA Civ 631. An appeal concerning fraud, contributory negligence and Maltese law (led by Romie Tager KC)
- Chancery Bar Association
- Property Bar Association
- BA (Hons) (First Class; first in year), Newcastle University
- GDL, City University (Commendation)
- BPTC, City University (Very Competent)
- Shipley Prize for Ancient History, Newcastle University
- Harmsworth Scholarship (GDL and BPTC), Middle Temple
BSB & VAT Information
Registered Name: Isabel Mary Petrie
VAT Information: 194798634