Gary Blaker QC

1993 QC: 2015

Selborne Chambers
10 Essex Street
London WC2R 3AA
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020 7420 9500

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Chambers & Partners 2019Legal 500 2019

Since taking silk Gary has continued to develop his practice in all aspects of property law, professional negligence and commercial chancery litigation.

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

In 2018 Gary has appeared successfully in P&P/Dreamvar, the landmark Court of Appeal case on property identity fraud 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.

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.

Recent examples of work include:

Property

  • 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 £5 million claim concerning parking rights at an office site in Brentford
  • 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
  • A dispute relating to a £400 million student accommodation investment fund
  • 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
  • Acting in a £10 million personal injury claim for a high profile public body arising out of allegations of defective premises

Professional negligence

  • 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

Commercial chancery and civil fraud

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • An engineering dispute about the failure of cooling systems installed in a data centre
  • A fraud claim worth £4 million between members of a Belgian family

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 in 2016 he joined the Bar Council’s Pro Bono Committee.

Please see Gary’s Privacy Notice here.

Notable cases

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

URT Group & ors v Dowers & ors [2018] EWHC 3195 (Ch) (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)
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 [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] 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 LLP – 12 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 2019)
  • Leading Silk – Professional Negligence (Legal 500 2019)
  • Leading silk – Real Estate Litigation (Chambers & Partners 2019)

Recent published comments about Gary include the following:

  • ‘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)

Memberships

Chancery Bar Association

Property Bar Association

Profession Negligence Bar Association

Education

  • MA (Cantab)

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