Paul de la Piquerie

2006

Selborne Chambers
10 Essex Street
London WC2R 3AA
Email Paul de la Piquerie
020 7420 9500

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Chambers & Partners 2019Legal 500 2019

For his call, Paul is the highest-ranked barrister in the UK in the Legal 500 (2016) in property litigation. It is said of him: “he is a commanding presence in the courtroom and goes that extra mile to ensure no stone is left unturned”. Previous editions have stated he is: “incisive, approachable and very commercial; great to put in front of clients”, “He offers an air of assurance when dealing with difficult opponents” and he is “worth every penny, especially on landlord and tenant issues”.

Paul regularly appears in the County Court, High Court and the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). He accepts instructions in any and all areas of property law but with a particular emphasis in recent years as follows below. He is also happy to accept instructions on a direct access basis.

Landlord and Tenant

Commercial
Paul acts for both landlords and tenants in opposed and unopposed lease renewal claims under Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Recent cases include acting for a tenant of large commercial premises in Croydon in a dispute as to the inclusion of a landlord’s redevelopment break clause in the new lease, the terms of future repairing obligations upon the tenant and a dispute as to rent worth approximately £5m over a ten-year term. This led to a reported decision. Paul also has several current cases involving landlord’s opposition to the grant of a new lease under grounds (f) and (g) in section 30(1) of the 1954 Act.
Paul also advises and attends court in claims involving forfeiture, trespass, nuisance (including rights to light), breach of covenant, terminal dilapidations and rent review. In July/August 2016 Paul acted in consecutive trials in the Chancery List in the County Court at Central London in which he represented variously a landlord Defendant who was accused of unreasonably withholding consent to the assignment of a lease, a landlord of a leading Chinese restaurant in Soho accused of withholding a rent deposit on the basis of a wrongful dilapidations set-off and an Oxford Street tenant retailer alleging wrongful forfeiture and consequently seeking injunctive relief and damages. All won at trial.

Residential
In the last twelve months Paul has acted in residential landlord and tenant disputes in the County Court, the High Court and the First-Tier Tribunal. For example, in November/December 2015 Paul acted in a four day hearing in the First-Tier Tribunal on behalf of a landlord seeking a determination that it was reasonable to maintain and repair rather than to replace the roof to a large, listed block of flats in Nottingham. In February 2016 he won a three-day trial in which his client claimed a life tenancy arising from a proprietary estoppel.
Paul also often acts for tenants and landlords in service charge disputes, disrepair and nuisance claims, Party Wall etc. Act 1996 disputes, claims involving the construction and rectification of long leases and applications under the Landlord and Tenant Acts 1985 and 1987.

Real Property

Paul is currently acting in three co-ownership disputes involving constructive trusts and the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. Other claims also involve trespass, adverse possession, boundary disputes, and arguments over easements and injunctive relief.
Much of Paul’s real property work involves acting for banks and chargees. Paul has acted in cases concerning the proper construction of various charges, for example, whether a mortgagee bank was able to remedy an apparent failure to take a second charge over an absentee borrower’s land by relying upon a power of attorney clause in a first charge. Recently Paul has been asked to advise in a number of claims in which the Claimant sought rectification of the register of title at HM Land Registry under Schedule 4 of the Land Registration Act 2002 and the chargee opposed such claims and/or sought an indemnity in order to protect their position in the event their charge was removed. Paul has recently given a number of well-received seminars and talks on the subject of land registration and in particular the Law Commission’s recent proposals for reform to the areas of rectification and indemnification as set out in consultation paper No.227.
In summer 2014 Paul was seconded to HSBC Bank in order to assist with an internal review of the miss-selling of interest-rate hedging products. His role was to assess consequential losses arising from the miss-selling of such products in relation to loans made and secured over borrowers’ properties.

 

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Notable cases

Mondial Assistance (UK) Ltd v Bridgewater Properties Ltd (2016)
Paul was led by Mark Warwick QC in an unopposed claim by the tenant for a renewal of a commercial lease of large premises in Croydon. At issue was whether the landlord should be entitled to the inclusion of a redevelopment break clause in the new lease, the scope of the repairing obligations to be imposed upon the tenant, the term and the rent. The value of the disputed rent was approximately £5m over a new ten year term. The claim settled on favourable terms shortly before trial. The case also led to the reported decision at https://selbornechambers.co.uk/important-new-decision-expert-evidence/ on what constitutes an expert under CPR Part 35 and the admissibility of expert opinion evidence from someone for whom permission has not been given by the Court.

Keelwin Ltd v Wong Kei Restaurant Ltd & Ors (2016)
Paul acted for the Defendant landlord of a popular restaurant in Soho. The tenant sued at the end of the tenancy for the return of a rent deposit. The landlord counterclaimed in set-off as a result of losses caused by breaches of the tenant’s repairing obligations under the lease. The case turned on the construction of the repairing clauses in the lease and related management agreement and the law of equitable set-off. The matter went to a six day trial in August 2016. The Defendant won.

IBB solicitors v X (2016)
Paul acted for a firm of solicitors suing for fees incurred in representing a client at various stages in litigation. The Defendant asserted that the agreement between the solicitor and the client under which the claim was brought was procured by undue influence/duress and/or should be set aside or varied under the Solicitors Act 1974. The matter was listed for a three day trial in July 2016. The Defendant settled on terms which were very favourable to the Claimant immediately after the cross-examination of the Defendant’s main witness on the second day of trial.

Red Rooster Restaurants Limited (in liquidation) v Kaushal Corporation (2016)
Paul acted for the Defendant landlord of restaurant premises. The tenant claimed that the landlord had unreasonably refused consent to assign the term of years under the lease contrary to section 1(1)(b) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1988 and had failed to comply with the statutory duty in section 1(3)(b) of the Act. The case turned on the construction of the relevant provisions of the lease and the question whether the information requested by the landlord was reasonable in the circumstances. The Claimant’s lawyers acted on a CFA. The matter went to a two day trial in the Chancery List at Central London in July 2016. The Defendant won.

Golf Club membership dispute (2016)
Paul has advised recently in a claim brought by life members of a prominent golf club who have been told that their life memberships have come to an end as a result of the sale of the club to a foreign buyer and that they must accordingly apply to re-join for a further fee. The case is likely to go to trial in the Chancery Division in 2017.

Simon v Simon (2016)
Paul acted for the Defendant mother in an acrimonious dispute in which her son sued for possession of a property registered in his name, but in which she lived. The question for the court was whether she merely enjoyed a licence to reside there which was terminable on notice or whether she had acquired a proprietary estoppel to be satisfied in the form of the grant of a lease for life, arising out of various statements made to her by her son and also by her son’s brother to the knowledge of her son. The matter went to a three-day trial in the Chancery list in Central London in February 2016. The Defendant won.

Adriatic Land 1 Ltd v John Philip Midgley & Matthew Hunt (acting as Law of Property Act 1925 Receivers on behalf of Longden Mill Limited) & Ors (2015)
Paul acted for the Respondent receivers who were appointed in respect of various long leasehold tenants of a block of flats containing 25 properties. The Applicant landlord applied to the First-Tier Tribunal (Residential Property) Chamber for a determination under section 19 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 that it was reasonable to spend the service charge sum of approximately £200,000 on replacing the roof of the building. The Respondents favoured repair. The claim involved analysis of the distinction between improvements and repair, the correct construction of various repairing provisions in several leases, and any obligations incumbent upon a landlord to assist tenants in the making of claims against NHBC building insurance. The matter went to a four day hearing in November/December 2015. After ninety minutes of cross-examination the Applicant’s expert surveyor admitted that his report lacked detail and was of limited use to the Tribunal. The Respondents won.

Bickerton & Bickerton v Primavera Associates Ltd (2015)
Paul acted for the Respondent in an application for a determination as to the exact location of the boundary between their property and that of the Applicants under section 60 of the Land Registration Act 2002. The Applicants also sought rectification of the register at HM Land Registry under Schedule 4 of the Act in order to record the re-location of the boundary. Paul’s submissions on the law correctly analysed the rule in Neilson v Poole [1969] 20 P & CR 909 as to the circumstances in which the Court can infer the existence of a boundary agreement and also focussed on the meaning of exclusion in adverse possession. The matter was heard by the First-Tier Tribunal (Land Registration) over two days in February 2015. The Respondent won.

Neonbrook Ltd & Castellain Mansions (West) Limited v Wilkinson & Wilkinson (2014)
Paul was instructed on behalf of the Claimant in a claim for service charge arrears, declaratory relief and damages in respect of breaches by the Defendant of residential leasehold covenants against making alterations, sub-letting and parting with possession, user clauses and permitting and suffering nuisance. The Claimant also sought damages on a restitutionary basis applying the principles derived from Wrotham Park [1974] 1 WLR 798 for rental income that had been received by the leaseholders from unlawful sub-letting. The Defendants opposed the claim on the basis that many of the service charge items of expenditure were said to be time-barred under section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and that it would have been unlawful for the landlord to withhold consent to alter had an application been made. The matter was listed for a five day trial in the Chancery list at Central London. The Defendants settled with the Claimant on the first morning of trial on extremely favourable terms to the Claimant.

Carlton Advisory Services v Dorchester Holdings Limited & Ors [2014] EWHC (Comm.) 3341 (HHJ Mackie QC)
Paul acted for the Defendants in an application under CPR 23.11 to set-aside an order of the Court made in the Defendants’ absence. The Defendants won.

Lawrence v Janes (2014)
Paul acted for the Claimant in a claim for a declaration as to the ownership of one half of a private roadway or the existence of an implied easement in the alternative, and rectification of the title at Land Registry under Schedule 4 of the Land Registration Act 2002. The claim turned on the proper construction of apparently inconsistent devolutions of title. The matter went to a three day trial in the Chancery List at Central London in November 2014. The Claimant won.

Solomon v Solomon (2014)
Paul was instructed to act for the intervening Respondent bank in joined cross-applications in the Family Division of the High Court by a former husband and wife for a declaration as to the beneficial ownership of a residential property. The question of relevance to the bank was the extent to which the Court had the power to rectify the register of title so as to remove a charge for the purposes of ‘correcting a mistake’ under paragraph 2(a) of Schedule 4 of the Land Registration Act 2002 in the event that the Court found that the transfer of the property to the borrower was fraudulent. Paul advised and appeared at two hearings before Mr Justice Mostyn and Mrs Justice Eleanor King at which his submissions were accepted as correct.

Clutterbuck & Anr v Al Amoudi [2014] EWHC 383 (Asplin J)
Paul was led for the Claimants in a three week fraud trial in the Chancery Division with a claimed value of approximately £18m. The claim was brought in fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract and the tort of deceit. Paul helped advise, settled interim applications, and cross-examined several witnesses at trial including the 1st Baron Oranmore and Browne. The case was widely reported in the domestic and international written press and online.

Beauty Star Limited v Janmohamed [2014] EWCA Civ 451 (LJ Laws, LJ Davis, LJ Ryder)
Paul acted for the Defendant in joined actions brought by the Claimant. The first was a claim for sums owed under contract. The second claim arose out of a compromise of the first action. The Claimant sought to argue that the compromise agreement required rectification and/or that the Court had jurisdiction under CPR Part 40/CPR Part 35 to interfere with the findings of an accountant employed by the parties for an expert determination to resolve the first claim. The matter went to a three day trial in the Chancery List at Central London. The Defendant won and was awarded his costs on the indemnity basis. Paul was subsequently further briefed to oppose the appeal brought by the Claimant in the Court of Appeal. The appeal was also dismissed.

Akhtar & Others v Brewster & Anr [2012] EWHC 3521 (Ch.) (Clive Freedman QC)
Paul acted for the Claimant in a boundary dispute in which the Defendants counterclaimed the acquisition of title by adverse possession. The premises were an island in the Thames, the shoreline of which was let by the parties as part of their respective commercial mooring businesses. The original conveyance of the land was neither clear nor unequivocal, and other factors, including topographical features and the parties’ subsequent conduct had to be considered. The case was reported in the Metro and the Telegraph on 13 December 2012.

MPR Trust Company Limited v Nancy Dell Olio (2012)
Paul acted for the Defendant in her dispute with the Claimant and Sven-Goran Eriksson over possession of a flat in Eaton Place, London. The case settled and was widely reported in the international press.

Francotyp-Postalia Limited v Kevin Whitehead & Ors [2011] Ch.D (Peter Smith J.) EWHC 367
Paul appeared for the Claimant multi-national franking machine company in a claim worth £2.5 million. The claim was for sums due under franchise agreements and centred on the lawfulness of the Claimant’s termination of those agreements for non-payment. The claim involved construction of the agreements, variation, estoppel, reflective loss, an application for an injunction to enforce covenants restraining trade and a reported decision (above) as to the lawfulness of the restraint of those covenants and whether they could be severed.

Transport for London Limited v Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (2010)
Paul represented Network Rail as landlord in a Chancery list case concerning premises at Euston Station and the landlord’s ground of opposition to the grant of a new tenancy contained in ground (f) of section 30(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. The landlord intended to reconstruct the premises as part of a campaign of refurbishment in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. The landlord was successful.

KPM-UK Taxis Plc v Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (2009)
Paul represented the landlord in a Chancery list claim in which the landlord opposed the grant of a new lease to a commercial tenant under ground (f) in section 30(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

Education

  • MA (Hons) (St And)
  • GDL, College of Law