Rahul Varma

Call: 2007

Rahul has a Chancery and commercial practice. He is regularly instructed in High Court and County Court matters and is also experienced in the Property Chamber, Senior Court Costs Office, and various ADR forums.

Further to his practice, Rahul has contributed to The Estates Gazette, The Law Society’s ‘Property in Practice’ magazine, Practical Law, LexisNexis, The Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents, and the Property Litigation Association.

Rahul is experienced in dealing with the legal implications of the Covid-19 pandemic. He recently gave a guest academic lecture on this topic for Bangor University. Examples of his Covid-19-related work can be found below.

 

  • ADR and Mediation

    As well as routinely advising on settlement negotiations, Rahul has appeared in a broad range of ADR forums.

    Examples:

    -Drafting submissions to an arbitrator regarding the relevance of Calderbank offers in a rent review case;

    – Attending an all-day mediation in group litigation concerning a residential development;

    – Attending an all-day mediation concerning claims under TOLATA and the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;

    – Attending an all-day ‘round table’ meeting in a dispute concerning a profit share arrangement between a company and its former managing director.

     

  • Commercial

    Rahul is instructed in a broad range of commercial/contractual litigation, covering: debt claims; the sale and carriage of goods (including retention of title disputes); the supply of services; bailment and conversion; agency disputes (including commission and profit shares); guarantees and indemnities; restitution; share sales; and overage disputes.

    Examples:

    – Advising a designer and manufacturer of clothes and accessories on a retention of title/conversion claim against an international logistics company. The litigation arose out of the collapse of a well-known high street retailer;

    – Chapman v. Clarence Court Eggs Limited – Instructed unled (with Tom Coates of Blackstone Chambers) in proceedings worth over £20m. The case relates to the alleged infringement of undertakings offered to the Competition and Markets Authority in the context of a merger investigation, and involves competing claims for specific performance of a call option and damages under s. 74, Enterprise Act 2002;

    – Nirro Holdings SA v. O’Brien [2021] EWHC 279 (Ch) – Appearing unled in a claim for c. £2m concerning the construction of a deed of guarantee and indemnity in the context of corporate insolvency;

    – Advising internationally renowned PR consultants on a claim for unpaid fees relating to a bespoke project for a Middle Eastern monarch;

    – Instructed by English solicitors and US lawyers to advise on a dispute worth c. £300,000 concerning unpaid licence fees for a major conference;

    – Instructed from pre-issue to trial in a professional fees/breach of contract/negligence dispute worth c. £345,000 concerning the abortive development of a landmark site in Central London;

    – Acting for the defendant in a c. £125,000 debt claim, who contested service of the English proceedings in Monaco on the basis that Monegasque law should apply to an alleged loan;

    – Advising on a ‘best endeavours’ clause in an overage claim worth c. £1m;

    – Acting for an Indian mobile phone supplier in a c. £200,000 claim for debt and conversion concerning smartphones and SIM cards delivered to a UK-based retailer;

    – Advising parties seeking specific performance of a contract collateral to a share purchase agreement;

    – Advising defendants in a c. £300,000 commission claim concerning (a) whether standard terms were penal and (b) the enforceability of a personal guarantee;

    – Advising a commercial real estate developer on a claim for the return of a £1m deposit.

  • Company and Partnership

    Rahul acts in a broad range of litigation concerning business structures, including actions against fiduciaries and directors, minority shareholders’ relief; derivative actions; and joint ventures.

    Examples:

    – Advising Singaporean directors of an English company in relation to the removal of other directors, and then advising the English company itself on various claims against the removed directors worth c. £1m;

    – Appearing in a multi-track trial to determine whether a joint venture operated as a partnership, a company, or both;

    – Advising on a personal claim in deceit against a director said to have made a fraudulent misrepresentation of his company’s solvency by executing an agreement on its behalf;

    – Acting for a defendant dentist in a claim for unjust enrichment brought by an NHS trust, featuring a corollary partnership dispute;

    – Advising in relation to reflective loss in the context of the alleged breach of a shareholders’ agreement.

  • Insolvency

    Rahul assists individuals and corporations with various aspects of insolvency and restructuring. His practice covers both discrete insolvency cases and matters where insolvency issues arise in other litigation. His article on CVAs (co-written with Ben Barrison of Forsters) was published in The Estates Gazette.

    Examples:

    – Advising Travelodge’s landlords on whether to accept the hotel chain’s CVA proposal in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic – exemplar news coverage

    – Acting for a former director in bankruptcy proceedings related to the demise of Think Accounting Limited – exemplar news coverage

    – Acting for the liquidators of manufacturing companies in a disputes as to (a) the intentionality of trespass and (b) the extent of the Lundy Granite ‘salvage’ principle;

    – Negotiating the settlement of a pre-bankruptcy debt held to have crystallised in a post-bankruptcy charging order;

    – Obtaining an urgent order for the postponement of a company’s dissolution to allow a former employee to bring a claim against it;

    – Obtaining an urgent injunction to restrain the presentation of a winding up petition based on a disputed debt;

    – Advising administrators of a group of companies with a total indebtedness of c. £25m on how to obtain repeated extensions to the administrations;

    – Nirro Holdings SA v. O’Brien [2021] EWHC 279 (Ch) – Appearing unled in a claim for c. £2m concerning (inter alia) the effect of dissolution on the status of directors and on the company’s contractual relationships;

    – Instructed by English solicitors and US lawyers to advise on (inter alia) the moratorium on the use of statutory demands as a basis for winding-up petitions under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020;

    – Advising a designer and manufacturer of clothes and accessories on (inter alia) the relationship between retention of title clauses and ‘pari passu’ distribution.

  • Landlord & Tenant

    Rahul acts in a broad range of commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, such as: forfeiture and possession; break clause disputes; rent reviews; breaches of covenant (including s. 168, CLARA applications); disrepair and dilapidations; 1954 Act renewals; tenancy deposits; lease extensions and acquisition orders; service charges; appointment of managers; and CRAR.

    Examples:

    – Advising Travelodge’s landlords on whether to accept the hotel chain’s CVA proposal in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic – exemplar news coverage;

    – Acting for the landlords of a well-known high street retailer whose claims for rent arrears are being defended on the basis of various Covid-19-related arguments;

    – Acting for the head lessees of a large residential estate in the North West in a forfeiture dispute, with associated split reversion and land registration issues;

    – Acting for the long lessee of a Mayfair penthouse seeking a declaration that a roof terrace formed part of his demise;

    – Advising on the enforceability of a sub-Authorised Guarantee Agreement (‘SAGA’) under the anti-avoidance provisions of the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995;

    – Advising a corporate freeholder on whether to seek maintenance contributions under a lease or under the company’s constitution;

    – Advising the landlord of commercial premises in Knightsbridge on whether the Covid-19 pandemic affected a consent order agreed with its tenant in February 2020;

    – Acting for lessees seeking an Acquisition Order in a ‘missing landlord’ case under Part III, Landlord and Tenant Act 1987;

    – Instructed by commercial tenants in a claim for overpaid service charges worth c. £700,000;

    – Acting for a Premier League footballer in possession proceedings arising out rent arrears, disrepair, and unauthorised alterations;

    – Acting for a former commercial tenant in a dilapidations claim worth c. £380,000;

    – Advising a commercial landlord on the restrictions on CRAR during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Professional Negligence

    Rahul deals with claims against a variety of professionals in the business, property, and legal sectors.

    Examples:

    – Instructed from pre-issue to trial in a debt/breach of contract/negligence dispute worth c. £345,000 concerning the abortive development of a landmark site in London;

    – Advising homeowners in relation to potential negligence and misrepresentation by estate agents as to the exact dimensions of their property;

    – Advising a buyer of shares on her solicitors’ failure to conduct due diligence on the company;

    – Advising property owners in relation to solicitors’ negligence and limitation issues concerning a failure to advise in relation to the ‘ad medium filum’ presumption;

    – Appearing for the owners of a large property in Kensington in a multi-day trial concerning builders’ negligence;

    – Advising a freeholder in relation to various inherent defects in a hotel complex in Cardiff;

    – Acting for a taxi company suing software designers for losses caused by a defective booking system;

    – Advising a property developer suing solicitors for negligent advice relating to an injunction to restrain construction works.

  • Real Property

    Rahul is instructed in all manner of real estate litigation.

    His work includes: co-ownership disputes; options over land; land registration and title disputes; adverse possession; boundary disputes; mortgages and charges; restrictive covenants over freehold land; overage; easements; nuisance; trespass; specific performance and injunctive relief.

    Examples:

    – Chapman v. Clarence Court Eggs Limited – Acting unled (with Tom Coates of Blackstone Chambers) in proceedings worth over £20m. The case relates to the alleged infringement of undertakings offered to the Competition and Markets Authority in the context of a merger investigation, and involves competing claims for specific performance of a call option and damages under s. 74, Enterprise Act 2002;

    – Acting for Network Rail in an adverse possession dispute which concerned (inter alia) the effect of a bankruptcy order made against a previous trespasser on his successor’s claim;

    – Advising on restrictive covenants registered against freehold land which is the subject of a c. £3m development;

    – Advising a party looking to vary HMLR restrictions relating to overage;

    – Acting for Network Rail in a claim for c. £860,000, said to flow from lost profits due to property damage and the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic;

    – Acting for a party to a joint venture seeking declarations of beneficial ownership and an order for sale under TOLATA;

    – Advising in relation to the transitional provisions in the Land Registration Act 2002 concerning overriding interests;

    – Acting for an adverse possessor seeking default judgment in a claim against a local authority for declaratory relief;

    – Acting for residential developers seeking (inter alia) to establish a right of way under s. 62, Law of Property Act 1925;

    – Advising on the enforceability of call options and pre-emption rights under s. 2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 and upon the death of the grantee.

  • Trusts, Probate & Estates

    Rahul’s practice includes contentious trusts/estates and probate work, including TOLATA claims.

    Examples:

    – Attending an all-day mediation concerning claims under TOLATA and the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;

    – Instructed for the five-day High Court trial of contested probate proceedings concerning undue influence and the ‘Golden Rule’;

    – Advising on a High Court claim alleging a constructive trust of a classic car collection;

    – Acting for the former manager of a world-famous rock band in High Court proceedings relating to the beneficial ownership of her Chelsea home;

    – Attending an all-day ‘round table’ meeting in a TOLATA claim;

    – Advising one member of a co-habiting couple in relation to proprietary estoppel claims and a Pallant v. Morgan equity;

    – Acting for one of two registered co-owners, each holding equal shares of the beneficial title as tenants-in-common, on the scope of equitable accounting and the conclusiveness of an express declaration of trust where the source of the purchase funds is challenged;

    – Instructed by a bereaved husband defending possession proceedings brought by his wife’s executor on the basis that (a) a joint tenancy had been severed inter vivos or (b) proprietary estoppel.

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