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Experience and Expertise
Marie-Claire is an experienced property litigator undertaking a wide range of property disputes ranging from commercial landlord and tenant to residential beneficial ownership and boundary disputes. She recently represented the successful tenant in a service charge dispute before Morgan J in the High Court, in what is now the leading authority on the construction of section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. She is recommended for property litigation in Chambers UK and in The Legal 500.
She is praised by clients both for the effort and commitment she puts into all her cases and for the importance she attaches to communicating well with clients at every stage of the case.
She excels in the cut and thrust of advocacy in court, particularly witness actions where her skill at cross-examining witnesses and her mastery of the legal arguments and the trial bundles ensure that her clients feel that she has done everything possible to fight their corner.
In her advisory work she relishes complex legal questions, but ensures that her advice is practical, sensible, focused on the client’s commercial objectives and easy to understand.
Clients commend her user-friendly approach and the fact that she is a good team-player, always prepared to help out with all aspects of the preparation of the case when time or resources are tight.
She has experience in commercial landlord and tenant, including forfeiture and insolvency issues, service charge disputes, rent review clauses, dilapidations and Part 2 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, Residential landlord and tenant, including security of tenure, disrepair, breach of covenant and service charge disputes in the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, adverse possession, mortgages and charging orders including claims for possession and sale, contracts for the sale of land, joint ownership of property, resulting and constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel, rights of ways, boundary disputes and restrictive covenants. She also has particular expertise in relation to Party Wall etc Act 1996 appeals and appears regularly in the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal and the Lands Tribunal.
Work and Cases of Note
- Brent LBC v Shulem B Association Ltd  1 W.L.R. 3014: The leading case on s20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 in which Morgan J decided that a demand for payment of estimated costs was not a valid demand under the lease, and that a notice served under section 20B(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 had to state that costs had been incurred and give a figure for the costs;
- Fineland Investments Ltd v Pritchard  EWHC 3901 (Ch), 1424 (Ch), 113 (Ch): A long running dispute with a number of hearings before A Foster QC, Morgan J and Norris J in the Chancery Division of the High Court in which the Court upheld a contract for the sub-sale of a Council house purchased under the right to buy legislation, and provided relief including injunctive orders to enable the Claimant to obtain possession of the house;
- Pritchard v Teitelbaum  2 P&CR DG18: Proceedings were a claim against a trespasser, so that permission to issue a writ of possession was not required, even though claims other than for possession had been made;
- Re Sheikh & Ors, part of the former Fletcher Hospital  UKUT 141 (LC): Modification of restrictive covenant to permit extension and conversion of hospital buildings into a residential development;
- Uzeochina v Pamigold Ltd  Central London County Court Chancery List: Claim for return of forfeited auction deposit on the basis of misrepresentation, misdescription and repudiatory breach of contract;
- Odey v Barber  Ch 175: Use of a track for more than 20 years did not result in a right of way under the doctrine of lost modern grant as a previous owner had given the user unsolicited permission to use the track;
- Manu v Euroview  1 EGLR 165: Decision under the Party Walls Act considering the requirements of a section 6 notice, the duty of party wall surveyors to act promptly and effectively, and the right of the surveyors to act ex parte where one of them has refused to act effectively;
- Beanby Estates Limited v Egg Stores (Stamford Hill) Limited  1 WLR 2064: Service of a notice under section 25 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 by recorded delivery is irrebuttably deemed to have been effected on the date of posting;
- Church in Wales v Newton & Ors  EWHC 631 (QB),  16 EG 145 (CS): The sale of a dry-cleaning business carried on in a leasehold premises involved the disposition of an interest in land to which s2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 applied, the oral contract was therefore void and the misrepresentation claim and breach of contract claim failed;
- Matthews-Donaldson v Whibley & Ors; Brighton County Court: A ten-day constructive trust/proprietary estoppel dispute in respect of the beneficial interests in a farm purchased by the Defendant on the basis that it would be farmed in partnership with the Claimant;
- Trotman v Higgins Sheppard Stewart Ltd, Ozel v Trotman; Guildford County Court: A four-day right of way dispute over a service road behind a parade of shops caused by the owners plans to build three houses in part on the road and on adjacent land;
- Daejan Investments Ltd v Rahman; Leasehold Valuation tribunal: A four-day service charge dispute on the reasonableness of service charges and the adequacy of consultation in respect of major works;
- Re N: Advice on who has the benefit of restrictive covenants and whether or not the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) would be likely to modify the covenant to permit infill development;
- B v B, Central London County Court Chancery List: Dispute between family members about the beneficial ownership of property purchased as an investment;
- Re Wilde, Main Road, Long Bennington  EW Lands LP 12 2008 (24 April 2009): Modification of a restrictive covenant preventing development;
- Re Bray Enterprises Limited, Land at rear of 111 & 113 Gates Green Road LP/84/2005, Lands Tribunal 3/1/2007: Modification of a restrictive covenant preventing construction of additional dwelling;
- Re AH: Advising on and acting in an expert determination on the loss of profits caused by faulty air conditioning plant in breach of the landlord’s leasehold covenants;
- Megaro v Pricecheck Ltd, High Court Chancery Division: Landlord and tenant, liability of a commercial tenant for double value for remaining in possession after expiry of a notice to quit;
- Bank of Baroda v Kurji, Madlani, High Court Chancery Division, LTL 23/6/2003: Charging Orders: enforcement of charging orders and liability to account as mortgagee in possession on the footing of wilful default.
Marie-Claire is consistently recommended for property litigation expertise by the legal directories. Recent editorial has included the following comments:
- a very good advocate who is willing to go the extra mile for the client
- able, efficient and someone who speaks honestly
- she gives exceptionally clear and user-friendly advice
- a safe pair of hands and an excellent team player
- displays superb energy and commitment and relates excellently to clients
- impresses the market with her expertise in Party Wall Act appeals, easements and adverse possession matters.