Janet is recognised as one of the five “most highly regarded silks” for real estate work in the Who's Who Legal 2020, Commenting: “Janet Bignell QC performs exceptionally well in our research. She is renowned as a ‘technically brilliant and skilful lawyer’ who is in ‘full control of the facts’.” She is listed as a leading silk in Chambers & Partners UK Guide 2020 and the Legal 500. The former describes her as “a go-to barrister who is exceptionally bright”, “able to grasp technical matters very quickly” and “very user-friendly”. The latter praises her as “fantastic, a truly magnificent cross examiner”.
Janet’s litigation, arbitration and advisory practice encompasses the full range of commercial and residential landlord and tenant and real property work as well as associated professional liability and insolvency. Some highlights of Janet’s 27 years in specialist practice include her involvement in some of the most high value and high profile litigious development disputes (interpretation, restrictive covenants, options, easements, overage, light, commercial landlord and tenant issues), as well as numerous arbitrations and rent reviews and her recent innovative court work securing novel pre-emptive injunctions for clients.
Janet’s strong academic and practical background is reflected in her authorship of leading practitioners’ textbooks in her expert areas of practice on the Drafting of Business Leases and on the Land Registration Act. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Landlord & Tenant Review and writes regularly about new legal developments. She Chairs the Blundell Lecture Committee and is a past Chair of the Chancery Bar Association Annual Conference.
Janet is authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions. Janet also sits as a part time Judge (Recorder) in Chancery, Civil and Criminal cases. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and an appointed member of the President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ Property Panel. She welcomes appointments as an Arbitrator, Legal Assessor and Expert as well as instructions as an advocate. She is a qualified Mediator.
Before taking silk, Janet won the Chambers Bar Awards Real Estate Junior of the year in 2013 (having also been shortlisted in 2008 and 2011) and was named in Chambers & Partners Top 100 Barristers across the Bar.
A Small Selection of Some Recent Work in 2019:
Disputed interpretation and arbitration of commercial leases; development agreements; option agreements;
A series of rent review arbitrations;
High value dilapidations claims;
Easements and Rights of Light;
Commercial leasehold issues, including rights to assign, user, break clauses, LTA 1954, forfeiture;
- 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.
- Authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions
- 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
- Ineos Upstream Ltd v Persons Unknown and Ors  EWHC 2945 (Ch), Janet successfully obtained novel and wide-ranging preemptive injunctions on a without notice basis in July, subsequently continued at a contested return day in September, and again following a 3 day hearing in November. The injunctions protect the interests of Ineos Shale (and associated companies), its supply chain and its landlords, from unlawful activity by those opposed to hydraulic fracturing. The legal issues included trespass, private and public nuisance, harassment, unlawful means conspiracy to commit a series of tortious and criminal acts and the role of Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights in protest cases.
- Derreb Ltd v Blackheath Cator Estate Residents Ltd and others, Re Manor Way  UKUT 209 (LC), Janet successfully secured the modification of a restrictive covenant standing in the way of a residential development scheme to build 130 homes on a former sportsground on a private estate. The modification was secured partly under ground (a) and partly under ground (aa) of s.84(1) LPA 1925. In addition to the novel use of ground (a), the decision is notable for the fact no planning permission had been obtained for the development scheme. The Tribunal also removed a requirement that the Vendor give prior consent to plans and elevations.
- Vastint UK BV v Persons Unknown  and  (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  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) . 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  EWHC 1496 (Ch),  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)  BCC 164,  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  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  EWHC 3578 (Ch) EG 47 180 (CS), interpretation of rent review clause.
- Simmons and ors v Dresden  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  2 AC 519;  2 WLR 955;  2 All ER 305;  2 EGLR 15, (HL);  1 WLR 1429;  1 P&CR 27;  1 EGLR 17, (CA): House of Lords, acquisition of easements by prescription.
- Monella and anor v Pizza Express (Restaurants) Ltd  1 EGLR 43, (Ch D): rent review, extensions of time under s. 12 Arbitration Act 1996.
- Latifi v Colherne Court Freehold Ltd  1 EGLR 78, (QB): service of notices under LRHUDA 1993.
- Ambrose v Kaye  1 EGLR 49, (CA): LTA 1954 Part ll and the CPR.
- Liverpool City Council v Walton Group plc  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  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  PLSCS 219, (CA): contractual interpretation, want of authority, rectification, estoppel.
- Fox & Widley v Guram  1 EGLR 1998, (QB): rent review, extensions of time under s. 12 Arbitration Act 1996.
- Morgan Sindall v Sawston Farms (Cambs) Ltd  EGCS 118, (Ch D): challenge to an expert's non speaking valuation.
- J.W Childers Trustees v Anker  1 EGLR 1, (CA): the doctrine of surrender and re-grant of leases, rent review.
- Royal Bank of Scotland v Jennings and ors  1 EGLR 101, (CA),  2 EGLR 87, (Ch D): rent review.
- John v George  1 EGLR 7, (CA);  1 EGLR 9, (Ch D): estoppel by convention.
- Fordgate Bingley Ltd v Argyll Stores Ltd  2 EGLR 84, (Ch D): rent review.
- 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.
- 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.