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Jonathan Karas QC

Called 1986Silk 2006

Jonathan Karas QC

Areas of practice

Jonathan's practice embraces all aspects of land law. He has acted in numerous leading cases. His work extends from litigation and advice concerning leases, transfers, development agreements and rights over land to the law of planning and compulsory purchase, highways and waterways, manorial rights, commons and greens. He has also dealt with property law and valuation issues when they arise in the context of taxation. His expertise makes him a natural choice in cases where property, planning and public law issues coincide or collide.

  • Education
    • MA (Oxon)
    • Dip Law (City University)
  • Professional

    Before taking silk he served on the ‘A' Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown (2000-2006) and before that on the Supplementary Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown (Common Law) (now the ‘B' Panel) (1995-2000).

    Member of:-

    • Chancery Bar Association
    • Planning and Environmental Bar Association
    • Property Bar Association (Committee Member)
    • Compulsory Purchase Association.
    • Real Estate Silk of the Year, Chambers and Partners Bar Awards 2011.
  • Recent Cases
    • R(Best) v Chief Land Registrar [2016] QB 23 (represented Land Registry on leading Court of Appeal case on illegalility and land registration)
    • Wood v Waddington [2015] EWCA Civ 538 (represented successful appellant in Court of Appeal in leading case concerning rights of way and section 62 of the Law of Property Act 1925)
    • Manchester Ship Canal v United Utilities [2014] UKSC 40 (represented United Utilities in successful appeal to Supreme Court establishing continued lawfulness of discharges by sewerage undertakers into watercourses following privatisation)
    • R (Church Commissioners) v Hampshire County Council [2014] 1 WLR 4555 (successfully represented Church Commissioners in opposing registration as village green of substantial area of land outside Winchester).
    • Wood Lane Quorn Public Inquiry (2014-2015) successfully represented Tarmac Lafarge in opposing development which prejudiced Mountsorrel quarry.
    • HKR UK (CHC) II Ltd v Heaney (retained in the Court of Appeal as leading counsel for respondent) [2011]
    • Sheffield City Council v Wall and Ingham [2010] EWCA Civ 922 (leading case on statutory rights of succession, the setting aside of possession orders and overriding leases.
    • R (Primary Health Investment Properties Ltd) v Secretary of State for Health [2009] EWHC 519 (Admin) (successful challenge to the Valuation Office Agency's role in setting current market rents for NHS premises
    • R (Mayor of London) v First Secretary of State [2008] EWHC 631 (Admin) (the first case considering the Secretary of State's powers to award costs planning inquiries against the Mayor of London).
    • Richard Parsons Ltd v Bristol City Council [2007] EWLands ACQ 190 2006 (Lands Tribunal decision on how onerous leases should be taken into account in the assessment of compensation on compulsory acquisition).
    • Oxfordshire County Council v Oxford City Council [2006] UKHL 25 (leading House of Lords case on the law of town and village greens).
    • R (Sinclair Gardens Investments (Kensington) Ltd) v Lands Tribunal [2006] 1 EGLR 7 (amicus to the Court of Appeal: decision on jurisdiction of High Court to review decisions of Lands Tribunal).
    • R (Whitmey) v Commons Commissioners [2005] QB 282 (Court of Appeal decision on jurisdiction of local authorities to determine amendments to the commons register).
    • R (Ashbrook) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs [2005] 1 ALL ER 166 (procedure for fencing commons).
    • R (Kind) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs [2005] EWHC 1243 (vehicular rights over routes shown as bridleways).
    • Midtown Ltd v City of London Real Property Co Ltd [2005] 14 EG 130 (leading case on rights of light in office premises)
    • R (Kanssen) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs [2005] EWHC 1024 (duties of public authorities to make 'welfare inquiries' before seeking possession)
    • Hackney LBC v Side by Side (Kids) Ltd [2004] 1 WLR 363 (leading case on the limits on jurisdiction to delay order possession).
    • Wandsworth LBC v Michalak [2003] 1 WLR 617 (an important Court of Appeal case on discrimination in the context of landlord and tenant legislation and the application of the Human Rights Act 1998 in possession actions)
    • Commission for New Towns v J J Gallagher Ltd [2003] 2 P & CR 3 (dedication of highways and presumptions applicable to land adjoining the highway; construction of section 62 of the Law Property Act 1925)
    • Fluor Daniel Properties Ltd v Shortlands Investments Ltd [2001] 2 EGLR 103
    • Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions v Baylis (Gloucester) Ltd [2000] 2 EGLR 13 (statutory dedication of highways and the Land Registration Act).
  • Publications
    • "The Law of Rights of Light" 2016. Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing
    • Jonathan is subject editor of Hill and Redman's Law of Landlord and Tenant and author (with David Elvin QC) of Unlawful Interference with Land second edition (2002).
    • He has made a substantial contribution to Halsbury's Laws of England being a contributing editor to the Compulsory Acquisition title (1996), editor of the Distress title (2000, 2007 re-issues), the Forestry Title (2007 and 2009 re-issues) and editor of Perpetuities and Accumulations volume (2013).
    • He has delivered Blundell Memorial Lectures on the award of damages in lieu of injunctions (2007) and the quantification of release fee damages (2014).
    • Articles of his may be found on the RICS website, in the Estates Gazette, the Journal of Planning and Environment Law and the New Law Journal.
“Has a practice that is predominantly centred around land law. He specialises in the crossover of planning, agriculture and property law, and is an expert in right to light. Strengths: ‘Jonathan's practice is very broad and he is one of those rare advocates who advises on both planning and property litigation, which makes him very useful indeed.’ Recent work: Provided right-to-light advice to developers looking to construct a significant structure in Tower Hamlets.” Chambers UK Guide 2017 (Real Estate Litigation)
"Has an active practice handling cases concerning agricultural tenancies, development and property relief. Peers praise him for his detail oriented approach and the sheer breadth of issues upon which he is able to give in depth advice. Strengths: 'He’s an outstanding advocate, particularly for High Court or Supreme Court cases. He is outstanding on village greens and commons.' Recent work: Successfully represented Lt Col David Wood in proving that he and those riding to and from his commercial stables had a right of way over a track on adjoining land." Chambers UK Guide 2017 (Agriculture & Rural Affairs)
"A noted land law practitioner who regularly handles planning cases. He has particular expertise in highway law as well as cases concerning the compulsory acquisition of property rights. He has recently been involved in a number of high-value compulsory purchase cases. Strengths: 'It's quite a niche area where real estate and planning combine, but he is fantastic and as good as any I've worked with in terms of his responsiveness and his engagement. He was very clear with the client as to the strengths and weakness of the case.' 'Has an outstanding ability to break down tricky issues, and provides clear and practical advice.' Recent work: Acted for United Utilities in promoting a CPO to acquire land for substantial environmental improvements needed for the Eccles Waste Water Treatment Works."Chambers UK Guide 2017 (Planning)
“'Intellectual powerhouse' Jonathan Karas QC is regarded as 'pre-eminent' in public law-related property matters by respondents who are impressed by the breadth of his knowledge and his ability to think quickly on his feet".Who's Who Legal 2017
"A master of all areas of property law and an intellectual colossus; he immerses himself fully in his cases."Legal 500, 2016 (Property Litigation)
"Always a delight to deal with." Legal 500 2016 (Planning)
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