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Janet Bignell QC

Called 1992Silk 2015

Janet Bignell QC

Janet undertakes litigation, arbitration and advisory work in all aspects of real property and landlord and tenant law. She is instructed in a number of the most high value and high profile development disputes spanning the range of contractual, leasehold and property issues. Janet’s recent work includes a series of commercial rent review arbitrations and appointments as legal assessor. She is also a qualified arbitrator and mediator. Janet is the author of leading works on the drafting of business leases and on registered land.

Before taking silk, Janet was awarded Chambers & Partner’s Real Estate Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2013 (having been nominated previously in 2008 and 2011), was the only property specialist named as one of Chambers & Partners Top 100 Juniors at the Bar in 2014 and was ranked in band 1 of both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 Directories for real estate litigation.

A selection of reported cases is set out below.

  • Education
    • Downing College, Cambridge University: MA (1st Class Hons).
    • Elected Scholar, Harris Scholar and Senior Harris Scholar.
    • Hertford College, Oxford University: BCL (1st Class Hons).
    • British Academy State Scholarship.
  • Professional
    • Appointed to sit as a Recorder - Crown Court (2009), Chancery (2013), Civil (2015)
    • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) 
    • Appointed member of the CIArb President’s Property Dispute Resolution Panel 
    • ADR Group Accredited Civil & Commercial Mediator 
    • Elected Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn (2015)
    • Invited member of Arbrix 
    • Included in Chambers & Partners Top 100 Juniors at the Bar (2014)
    • Winner of the Chambers Bar Awards Real Estate Junior of the Year (2013), and nominated (2008), (2011)
    • Inns of Court Studentship, Denning Major Scholarship, Wolfson Scholarship, Hardwicke Scholarship
    • Called 1992
  • Recent Cases
    • Vastint UK BV v Persons Unknown [2016] and [2017] (Ch Div): Janet represented the successful applicant in obtaining interim and then final injunctions to prevent any potential future acts of trespass onto a significant and large-scale mixed use development site where the development process is expected to take several years.  
    • Zeckler and Barrymore v (1) Kylun Limited (2) Trustees for Walford Maritime Ltd Pension and Life Assurance Plan and (3)-(6) Others [2015] EWHC 1386 (QB): Janet appeared for the successful 2nd Defendants striking out the Claimants’ claims for damages in the context of the marketing for sale of the Vauxhall Cross development site. Holgate J held the claim against the Trustees was unfounded in law and an abuse of process. Janet secured a separate order to cancel a Unilateral Notice and orders for the payment of indemnity costs. The case considers the Court’s jurisdiction to cancel Unilateral Notices under the LRA 2002, as well as what is, and what is not, a “pending land action”.
    • Dorchester Project Management Ltd v. BNP Paribas Real Estate Advisory & Property Management UK Ltd (1) and Landprop Holding BV (2) [2014]. For Landprop (with Sa’ad Hossain QC), a vehicle of Inter IKEA’s property division, defending a £750 million claim arising from the Second Defendant’s acquisition and subsequent plans for mixed use development of substantial land in Stratford, London (Sugar House Lane). A factually and legally complex case involving issues of duties of confidence, planning, development valuation, measure of damages (loss of chance, loss of profits, accounts and Wrotham Park basis), expert evidence of valuation, planning and development finance. Settled part way through a 3 week Chancery Division trial.
    • Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd v United Utilities Plc. Janet was responsible for property law issues as part of MSCC’s team from 2009 onwards. Judgment was given in the Supreme Court in July 2014 on a summary judgment application regarding the rights of sewerage undertakers to discharge into private watercourses under the Water Industry Act 1991.
    • Stadium Capital Holdings (No 2) Ltd v St Marylebone Property Company Plc (2011) (Ch): Janet represented the successful party at the trial on the assessment of damages for trespass.
    • Stadium Capital Holdings (No 2) Ltd v St Marylebone Property Company Plc (2010) CA (Civ Div): Janet was instructed to act on the appeal, and represented the successful appellant. The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge had erred in awarding damages for trespass, arising out of an advertising hoarding intruding into the airspace of neighbouring land, on the basis of the entirety of income the trespasser had earned from the operation of the hoarding without giving consideration to more appropriate bases for damages, such as a reasonable licence fee negotiated between the parties on a hypothetical basis or taking account of expenses incurred in operating the hoarding.
    • Norwich City College Of Further & Higher Education v Mcquillin & Anor [2009] EWHC 1496 (Ch), [2009] 2 P&CR 22; (2009) 27 EG 90 (CS), (2009) NPC 85. Interpretation of restrictive covenants and application under s.84(2) LPA 1925 for a declaration that restrictive covenants were unenforceable because the benefit was not annexed to the objectors’ land.
    • Sunberry Properties Ltd v Innovate Logistics Ltd (in administration) [2009] BCC 164, [2009] 1 BCLC 145 (CA), landlord refused permission under para 43(6) Sched B1 Insolvency Act 1986 to bring proceedings for a mandatory injunction against tenant in administration that had unlawfully licensed occupation of its commercial premises by the purchaser of its business.
    • Leftbank Properties Ltd v Spirit Group Retail Ltd [2008] PLSCS 6 (QBD),: successfully opposed landlord's application to set aside/remit arbitrator's rent review award under s.68(2) Arbitration Act 1996.
    • Margram plc v Dorant Ltd [2006] EWHC 3578 (Ch)[2006] EG 47 180 (CS), interpretation of rent review clause.
    • Simmons and ors v Dresden [2004] 97 Con L.R. 81 (TCC): interpretation of repairing covenants, damages for terminal dilapidations and s. 18 Landlord and Tenant Act 1927.
    • Bakewell Management Ltd v Brandwood and ors [2004] 2 AC 519; [2004] 2 WLR 955; [2004] 2 All ER 305; [2004] 2 EGLR 15, (HL); [2003] 1 WLR 1429; [2003] 1 P&CR 27; [2003] 1 EGLR 17, (CA): House of Lords, acquisition of easements by prescription.
    • Monella and anor v Pizza Express (Restaurants) Ltd [2004] 1 EGLR 43, (Ch D): rent review, extensions of time under s. 12 Arbitration Act 1996.
    • Latifi v Colherne Court Freehold Ltd [2003] 1 EGLR 78, (QB): service of notices under LRHUDA 1993.
    • Ambrose v Kaye [2003] 1 EGLR 49, (CA): LTA 1954 Part ll and the CPR.
    • Liverpool City Council v Walton Group plc [2002] 1 EGLR 149, (Ch D): contractual interpretation, whether an agreement for lease is void in the absence of a term commencement date, estoppel.
    • Scott & anor v City & County of Swansea [2001] EGCS 10, (Ch D): rectification, whether a rent review arbitration award should be set aside on the ground that it was procured by fraud.
    • Liverpool City Council v Rosemary Chavasse Ltd and anor [1999] PLSCS 219, (CA): contractual interpretation, want of authority, rectification, estoppel.
    • Fox & Widley v Guram [1998] 1 EGLR 1998, (QB): rent review, extensions of time under s. 12 Arbitration Act 1996.
    • Morgan Sindall v Sawston Farms (Cambs) Ltd [1997] EGCS 118, (Ch D): challenge to an expert's non speaking valuation.
    • J.W Childers Trustees v Anker [1996] 1 EGLR 1, (CA): the doctrine of surrender and re-grant of leases, rent review.
    • Royal Bank of Scotland v Jennings and ors [1997] 1 EGLR 101, (CA), [1995] 2 EGLR 87, (Ch D): rent review.
    • John v George [1996] 1 EGLR 7, (CA); [1995] 1 EGLR 9, (Ch D): estoppel by convention.
    • Fordgate Bingley Ltd v Argyll Stores Ltd [1994] 2 EGLR 84, (Ch D): rent review.
  • Awards
    • Chambers Bar Awards 2013 - Winner, Real Estate Junior of the Year
    • The Chambers Bar Awards 2011 - Nominated (1 of 3), Real Estate Junior of the Year.
    • The Chambers Bar Awards 2008 - Nominated (1 of 3), Real Estate Junior of the Year.
  • Publications
    • Lewison's Drafting Business Leases, author. (7th ed, 2007), (8th ed, 2013)
    • Registered Land: Law and Practice under the Land Registration Act 2002, Charles Harpum and Janet Bignell, (2004), (Jordans).
    • Registered Land The New Law: A Guide to the Land Registration Act 2002, Charles Harpum and Janet Bignell, (2002), (Jordans).
    • Fisher & Lightwood's Law of Mortgage, 11th edition (2001), Contributor of 7 chapters, (Butterworths).
    • The Lawyers Factbook, Executive Editor, Landlord and Tenant 2001-2004, (Sweet & Maxwell).
    • Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents, vol 3(1) Auctioneers, Estate Agents and Valuers, Advisory Editor and Contributor, 1995 and 1999, (Butterworths).
    • Landlord and Tenant Review, Editorial Board Member and Contributor, 1999 to date, (Sweet & Maxwell).
    • Numerous published articles on topical issues including articles in New Law Journal, Estates Gazette, Landlord & Tenant Review and The Conveyancer & Property Lawyer.
    • Janet also frequently lectures and runs workshops at professional and in-house conferences.
"Regularly instructed in high-value development disputes. Her practice has a strong focus on landlord and tenant law, but she handles the full range of real estate disputes, including leasehold and contractual issues. Strengths: 'Terrier like and a very tough cross examiner who takes no prisoners.' 'She has a fierce intellect combined with an unassuming manner, and gets to grips with matters quickly, proving calm and measured in her dealings with clients.' Recent work: Successfully obtained a High Court injunction to protect an important development site near the Olympic Park." Chambers UK Guide 2018 (Real Estate Litigation)
"She is unflappable and adept at pouring oil on very troubled waters".Legal 500, 2017
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