James specialises in a broad spectrum of property disputes across the UK, assisting clients in reaching a resolution to their problems in his trademark approachable, pragmatic style. James has significant expertise in resolving complex property disputes and has been involved in several of the leading modern cases involving party walls and rights of light.
James is a member of the Property Litigation Association. He has been an active member of the Pyramus & Thisbe Club (P&T) for over 10 years and is an affiliate member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. He is a regular speaker on the subject of party walls and neighbourly disputes.
James’s experience includes:-
- Regularly instructed in relation to bringing or defending appeals against party wall awards involving challenges regarding jurisdiction, quantum and scope of works carried out in pursuance of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 (‘the Act’);
- Bringing injunction proceedings to prevent building works from commencing or continuing in breach of the Act;
- Taking appropriate enforcement action to require compliance with party wall awards, including recovery of compensation payments and costs due to surveyors;
- Advising generally upon the interpretation and implementation of the Act;
- Notable cases include Blake v. Reeves; Sleep v. Wise; Young v. Bemstone Homes; Breuer v. Leccacorvi; Chliaichfchtein v. Wainbridge; Amir Siddique v. Kowaliw; Fenton v. Lewis; Wellington Properties Ltd v. Grosvenor Estate.
Rights of light
- Advising on the application and protection of rights of light in the context of neighbouring development;
- Bringing injunction proceedings to prevent building works from commencing in breach of rights of light;
- Advising on and assisting with the procurement and completion of deeds of release to compensate for the loss of light;
- Acted in the Court of Appeal case of Regan v. Paul Properties, a landmark decision in relation to the correct measure of damages for infringement of rights of light.
Other areas of specialism include:
- Advising on claims involving trespass including negotiating and completing access agreements to compensate for breach of property rights, including scaffolding and crane oversailing deeds;
- Claims involving nuisance caused by tree roots and/or overhanging branches, Japanese Knotweed, noise and/or vibration and water ingress;
- Acting in complex boundary disputes involving multiple parties and competing expert evidence. Regularly advises on the impact of adverse possession and prescriptive easements;
- Claims involving the enforcement of restrictive covenants to protect from unlawful development, including advising a group of over 20 residents in defending proceedings in first the High Court then the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) to override covenants preventing a substantial commercial development from proceeding (see Signature of St Albans (Property) Guernsey Ltd v Wragg & Ors);
- Claims against professionals for losses caused by negligence in relation to property related surveying/legal advice.