Michael is an experienced advocate with a very wide field of practice.
Michael has been in busy full time practice at the Chancery Bar for over 40 years. His work involves all possible aspects of broad Chancery practice including company, insolvency, landlord and tenant, (residential and business), mortgages, guarantees, trusts, conveyancing, Inheritance Act claims, probate, will construction, rectification, boundary disputes, party walls, joint property disputes, professional negligence, commercial contracts and building disputes. He has considerable experience in high value matrimonial property disputes. He also specialises in Town and Country Planning and Local Government work, including Judicial Review.
Whilst he is very experienced in all these fields, his practice has developed a particular focus at times. For example, he spent much of his time from 1992 to 1996 acting for one very well known client in a mass of company related matters and from 1997 to 2001 acting for Lloyd’s Names and groups of Names. He represented a number of Names in the preliminary stages of the well-known Society of Lloyd’s v Jaffray trial. He has appeared in many proprietary estoppel cases including appearing in the House of Lords, with John McDonnell QC in the leading case of Thorner v Majors.
He also has an international element to his practice working for a major French shipping line and, through them, other French clients.
- Cases of Interest
General Chancery and Professional Negligence
- Brooke Homes (Bicester) Limited Claimant v Portfolio Property Partners Limited and others  EWHC 625 (Ch), Hugh Sims KC (Sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court), Pre-contract agreements entered into between a developer and a property company fell short of comprising an enforceable contract for sale and could not be subject to an order for specific performance. However, the company had breached its obligation to use all reasonable endeavours to translate the agreements into a conditional sale contract and the developer was entitled to £13.4m damages for loss of chance.
- Vectis Property Co Ltd v Cambrai Court Management Co Ltd Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) Judge Elizabeth Cooke and Diane Martin: 22 February 2022  UKUT 42 (LC);  L. & T.R. 22, Enfranchisement cost and proposed roof development for additional flats on the roof of a block of flats. On the proper construction of a lease, the original building scheme and the obligation to repair the roof did not prohibit the landlord from building of additional flats on the existing roof; neither did the specified division of contributions to the rent, taxes and service charge; nor did the involvement of a third party to the lease.
- Guthrie v Morel  WTLR 273, construction of a Will, address of property gifted obviously incorrect, was it a mistake or deliberate?
- Lake v Lake  STC 865, rectification of deed of variation of a Will, which mistakenly included the words “free of tax”.
- Schneider v Mills  STC 430, rectification of a deed by means of “construction”, where words had been omitted from a standard clause dealing with income between death and the date of the deed.
- Coleman v Bryant  All ER D 101, novel point on section 46 of the Land Registration Act 2002
- Maher v Trimming  All ER D 385, dissolution of unincorporated association (a club) and distribution of assets.
- Re Chicago Holdings  EWHC 3466  All ER D 75, disclosure and privilege in claim for fraud.
- Grimm v Newman & Another  1 All ER 67: accountants’ duty to give advice as to how to structure a property acquisition in most fiscally efficient way.
- Hurlingham Estates Ltd v Wilde & Partners  1 Lloyds Rep. 525;  STC 627, professional negligence; solicitors’ duty to give tax advice or adequately limit their retainer.
- Crone v Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Ferris J and Court of Appeal, 26th June 1989, adverse possession.
Proprietary Estoppel & Constructive Trust
- Nugent v Nugent (Morgan J)  Ch 121, balancing and protecting competing interests pending trial of a proprietary estoppel claim.
- Suggitt v Suggitt (CA)  WTLR 1607, what can amount to detriment and what is appropriate to satisfy the equity.
- Thorner v Major  1 WLR 776 (HL), successful claim to farm by proprietary estoppel and constructive trust.
- Pinfield v Eagles Mr Justice Hart,  EWHC 477  AER (D) 14, claim through constructive trust to interest in company through work in reliance on understanding.
- Murphy v Burrows  EWHC 1900  All ER D 572  1 P & CR DG 3, proprietary estoppel, classic claim based on working for years in reliance on oral promise, defeated on the basis that it was not unconscionable in the circumstance not to leave farm to claimant.
Breach of fiduciary duty and Conspiracy
- Berryland Books v BK Books Ltd and others (CA)  EWCA Civ 1440, an actual intention to injure is required for liability for conspiracy, reckless indifference is not sufficient.
- Sir Geoffrey Hurst v Hone & others  EWHC 1159, claims in deceit and breach of trust also what amounts to a fiduciary relationship that may give rise to damages for its breach.
Companies and directors disqualification
- Secretary of State for Trade & Industry v T. Venables: Robert Walker J. in April 1997, Lightman J. in July 1997; Evans-Lombe J. in January 1998.
- Tottenham Hotspur Plc and others v Edennote Plc  1 BCLC 65: winding up for untaxed costs, cross claim against Petitioner’s subsidiary.
- Re Edennote, Tottenham Hotspur Plc v Ryman & Others  2 BCLC 248, The Times 3rd June 1996,  2 BCLC 389 (CA), setting aside transaction by liquidator & replacement of liquidator.
- Re a Company (No. 003843 of 1986)  BCLC 562,  BCC 624: oppression of minority shareholders, petition under section 459 of Companies Act 1985.
- Evans v Chief Constable of North Wales Police  1 WLR 1155 HL: breach of rules of natural justice, in discretionary decision making process, in dismissing probationary constable.
Land Charges Act 1972
- Perez-Adamson v Perez-Rivas  Fam 89,  3 All ER 20,  3 WLR 500 (C.A.), priority of charges, wife’s lis pendens had priority over bank charge.
- Society of Lloyd’s v Frazer & Others: appeared (led by Robin Mathew QC) for a group of Names in the Court of Appeal.
- Society of Lloyd’s v Jaffray: appeared in several applications before Cresswell J; acted for, and continues to act for, a number of Names in relation to claims brought by banks and other financial institutions.
- Qualifications & appointments
- Deputy Adjudicator to HM Land Registry (March 2004) and from July 2013, Judge of Property Chamber, Land Registration Division, First-tier Tribunal
- Deputy Chancery Master (February 2002)
- Bencher, Lincoln’s Inn (1999)
- Professional memberships
- Western Circuit
- Chancery Bar Association
- Planning and Environment Bar Association
- Professional Negligence Bar Association
- Former long-standing committee member (twice Chairman) of the Bar Representation Committee, Lincoln’s Inn.
- Co-opted member of the Bar Council Working Party on Accountability in the Bar Council.
- Former Borough Councillor and Chairman of Development Services Committee, Hertsmere Borough Council.
Kings College London
College of Law
- Personal interests
Historic buildings, gardening and travel