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Ciara Fairley

Called 2011

Ciara Fairley

Ciara Fairley is experienced in all areas of real property and landlord and tenant law – commercial, residential and agricultural. She has reported cases in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and High Court, as well as in the County Court and the various property tribunals, where she appears frequently. 

Ciara also has experience in other areas of the law where they relate to property matters, including professional negligence, human rights, insolvency, breach of trust, undue influence and other equitable claims. She has also appeared in the Senior Courts Costs Office.

As well as successfully conducting her own trials in courts and tribunals – including, recently, a five day trial in the Residential Property Tribunal, and a two day County Court trial and a one day tribunal hearing where the other side were represented by Queens Counsel - Ciara has been led in a number of high profile disputes including, most recently, Moore v Moore [2016] EWHC 2202 Ch, concerning proprietary estoppel, and, in the Supreme Court, McDonald v McDonald [2016] UKSC 28, which concerned whether human rights principles can apply in disputes between private individuals. 

Ciara was also junior counsel in Capgemini UK PLC v Global Switch Estates 2 Ltd (a contentious lease renewal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, worth approximately £50m); and in Couper v Albion Properties [2013] EWHC 2993 (Ch) (a complex three week multi-party trial involving both proprietary and tortious claims) and the subsequent (successful) application for costs to be paid on the indemnity basis: Couper v Albion Properties Ltd (Costs) [2013] EWHC 4464 (Ch).

Ciara’s submissions were recently singled out and cited with approval by Nugee J. in Falmouth House Limited v Hamden [2017] EWHC 779 (Ch), where he said [28]: “I will set out her submission from the transcript in full since (to anticipate) it entirely accords with my own view of the matter.” 

During her pupillage, Ciara was involved in a number of other complex and high profile disputes including: Humber Oil Terminals Trustee Ltd v Associated British Ports [2012] EWHC 1336 (Ch) (Sales J) (as Mark Sefton’s pupil); [2012] EWCA Civ 596, [2012] 2 EGLR 59 (contested 1954 Act renewal); Cook v Mortgage Business [2012] EWCA Civ 17 (competing priorities following a sale and leaseback transaction) (working with Jonathan Small QC); and Parshall v Bryans [2013] EWCA Civ 240 (important issues about adverse possession, and land registration) (as Stephanie Tozer’s pupil).

  • Education
    • BPTC – Outstanding – City University
    • GDL – Commendation - City University
    • PhD in Philosophy – Passed without corrections – UCL
    • MPhil in Philosophy – Informal distinction – UCL (joint highest mark across the Universities of London)
    • MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics – First Class (with a college prize) - Wadham College, University of Oxford
  • Professional
    • Called 2011: Lincoln’s Inn 


    • Lord Mansfield Scholarship: Lincoln’s Inn
    • Walter Wigglesworth Scholarship: Lincoln’s Inn
    • Hardwicke Scholarship: Lincoln’s Inn
    • Finalist: City University Mooting Competition
    • Jacobsen Fellowship: Royal Institute of Philosophy
    • Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral and Masters Awards
    • Follett Scholarship: University College London 
    • Kisaki Prize: Wadham College, University of Oxford (Highest mark in Final Examinations in Philosophy)
  • Recent Cases

    Selected cases from 2017/2016

    • Falmouth House Limited v Hamden [2017] EWHC 779 (Ch): Ciara was instructed on behalf of the defendant in a five-day service charge claim with a counterclaim in restitution. The defence was struck out on the first day of the trial on account of the defendant’s non-attendance at trial, and relief from sanctions was refused. Ciara drafted the grounds of appeal and supporting skeleton argument for the appeal to the High Court. Nugee J., allowing the appeal, and granting relief from sanctions, said, of Ciara’s submissions at first instance, [at para 28 of the judgment]: “I will set out her submission from the transcript in full since (to anticipate) it entirely accords with my own view of the matter.” See also para [50].
    • Mr Nigel Wiggins v Langbourn (FH4547SS) Properties Limited & Others Ciara appeared against Stephen Jourdan QC in a 1 day hearing before the First Tier Tribunal in a complex enfranchisement dispute involving an extremely high value property in Mayfair. Ciara was successful in arguing that “terms of acquisition” under the 1993 Act had been agreed. The other side sought permission to appeal but withdrew shortly before the appeal was due to be heard by the Upper Tribunal. LON/00BK/OCE/2015/0187
    • Moore v Moore [2016] EWHC 2202 Ch: Two week trial in the Chancery Division in a complex family farming dispute. Ciara appeared for the son, who successfully claimed to be entitled to the family farm, which was worth approximately £10m, based on a proprietary estoppel established by his father. Ciara was led by Caroline Shea QC. 
    • McDonald v McDonald [2016] UKSC 28: Two day hearing in the Supreme Court on the effect of the Human Rights Act 1988 in disputes between private individuals. The case is the leading authority and was one of the most significant decisions of 2016. Ciara was led by Stephen Jourdan QC. 
    • Hakim v Nijmeh: Five day hearing in the First Tier Tribunal involving multiple allegations of breach of covenant on the part of the defendant leaseholder in an owner-occupied residential block – in particular, breach of the covenant to give access to the freeholder. There was also a service charge claim and counter allegations of harassment. Ciara appeared for the successful respondent. LON/00AT/LSC/2015/0403.
    • De Sarrau v Inglewood International: Ciara appeared against Tom Weekes QC in this two day trial in the Central London County Court about the true construction of various leases of a large building in Belgravia. Arguments based on estoppel and section 62 of the Law of Property Act 1925 were run in the alternative.
    • Advisory work on a proprietary estoppel claim worth c.£20m.
    • Turner v Ahmed: Disputed lease renewal under the 1993 Act. The case also raised a novel point of law concerning the meaning of “reasonable security” under the Act. On the latter point, the Tribunal adopted Ciara’s submissions: BG/LON/00AY/OLR/2016/0997
    • Advisory work in a High Court action worth £22m on enforcement and recovery of debts owed under various promissory notes.
    • Principality Building Society v Torfaen Borough Council: dispute arising from damage to property following a series of leaks which it was alleged were the result of defective worked carried out by the council on the public highway.
    • Advice in relation to the alleged unlawful termination of a Farm Business Tenancy; the case also raises issues of professional negligence. 
    • Ittihadeih v Metcalfe: series of High Court hearings in relation to an interim charging order raising novel legal issues: in particular, whether the original order had been obtained improperly as a result of alleged defects in disclosure.
    • Bergamini v Shanthkumar: County Court proceedings for an injunction arising out of the unlawful interference with a right of way; Ciara subsequently drafted proceedings for committal when the injunction, which had been successfully obtained, was disobeyed. 


    Selected earlier cases 

    • Avon Estates v Sinclair Gardens Investments – One day hearing in the First Tier Tribunal in a legally complex service charge dispute involving allegations of abuse of process. Ciara appeared for the successful respondent.
    • Capgemini UK PLC v Global Switch Estates 2 Ltd: Contentious lease renewal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 worth approximately £50m. This is the first time that a data centre renewal has been litigated and the case raises a number of novel questions. Ciara was led by Jonathan Small QC in the trial of the preliminary issues in the autumn of 2014. She is currently being led by Nicolas Dowding QC in the trial to determine the rent and interim rent, which is listed to be heard by HHJ Dight in March 2015.
    • Bishop v Bishop (Brighton County Court, December 2014): Three day trial in a family dispute that was both factually and legally complex. The case involved a large number of different claims including claims for undue influence, breach of trust, and conversion and the Court heard evidence from 8 different witnesses. HHJ Waddicor praised Ciara’s oral and written submissions and said, in her judgment, that the Defendants “could not have had a grittier advocate”.
    • McDonald v McDonald & Anor [2014] EWCA Civ 1049: Landmark Court of Appeal decision on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court held that Article 8 could not be invoked as a defence to a claim for possession, which is brought by a private landlord. Ciara appeared as junior counsel for the successful respondents, led by Stephen Jourdan QC. The case is presently on appeal to the Supreme Court and is likely to be one of the most significant cases of 2015 in terms of property law and human rights law.
    • Hoon & Wait v Odutuyo (Bromley County Court, July 2014): sole counsel for the successful respondents in a one day appeal on relief from sanctions. Guidance in Denton v White and Mitchell v News Group Newspapers considered; tenancy deposit legislation.
    • Co-Operative Bank v Envirotech (Manchester County Court, June 2014): sole counsel for the successful appellants in one day appeal and cross-appeal arising out of a restitutionary claim for monies paid under a mistake of fact. Other issues included equitable set-off and abuse of process (res judicata and Henderson v Henderson estoppel).
    • Partridge & Warner v Clegg: (Property Chamber (Land Registration) First Tier Tribunal, April 2014): sole counsel for the successful applicants in a three day hearing, involving six witnesses of fact, and closing written submissions. The case involved title to a piece of unregistered land, to which the applicants successfully asserted title by adverse possession.
    • Elveden v Usher: (Central London County Court, December 2013): two week trial on whether the landlord of a 24,000 acre estate had unreasonably withheld its consent to a development by its tenant. Led by Timothy Fancourt QC.
    • Couper v Albion Properties Ltd (Costs) [2013] EWHC 4464 (Ch): (High Court). Successful application for costs to be paid on the indemnity basis arising out of the High Court’s earlier judgment in this case. Led by Stephen Jourdan QC.
    • Couper v Albion Properties [2013] EWHC 2993 (Ch): (High Court): complex three week trial involving proprietary and tortious claims. The issues were varied and included mooring rights in the River Thames; adverse possession; the right of public navigation; land registration; easements; conspiracy; slander of title; harassment; and misfeasance in public office. Led by Stephen Jourdan QC. Ciara has also been instructed in relation to various ancillary applications: including (i) interpleader proceedings, which were brought by the Claimant’s wife, who sought (unsuccessfully) to be joined to the proceedings for the purposes of asserting her rights, and the rights of her daughter, under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights; (ii) the Claimant’s (unsuccessful) application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal; (iii) proceedings before the Land Registry; and in connection with enforcement.




  • Publications
    • Ciara has written articles for the Estates Gazette, the Solicitors’ Journal and the New Law Journal. She has most recently co-authored an article on drones for the Official Journal of the Middlesex Law Society, which appears in the Spring 2017 issue. She is often asked to give talks to firms of solicitors and to students.
    • Before coming to the Bar, Ciara was a Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and a member of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. She has given talks at universities in the UK, Europe and North America.


"Regularly practises a broad range of agricultural, commercial and residential property law, including matters with professional negligence, insolvency and planning aspects. Strengths: 'She is extremely bright and very hard-working." "A rising star.' Recent work: Acted in a two-day residential property trial involving a dispute over a service charge as to whether the tenants in question had acquired the right to manage the building." Chambers UK Guide 2019 (Real Estate Litigation)