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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 on commercial landlord and tenant law. He is also adept at handling cases with planning and agricultural law aspects, and is an expert in right to light disputes. He is particularly active in land cases relating to infrastructure works. Strengths: "He has a razor-sharp intellect and a great understanding of clients' needs." "An incisive and forceful advocate who gives robust advice." "A strong cross-examiner who fights cases hard and inspires confidence." Recent work: Acted in Covent Garden Tenants Association v Covent Garden Market Authority, a case regarding traffic issues arising out of the £200 million redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market in Nine Elms, London.Chambers and Partners UK Guide 2020 (Real Estate Litigation)
"His advice is unambiguous and he is very direct."Legal 500 2020
Jonathan Karas QC is recognised for his brilliant real estate practice. He is "great at thinking outside the box" according to peers, and regularly deals with matters relating to valuation and planning. Who's Who Legal UK Bar 2019 Guide
"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. He is particularly active in land cases relating to infrastructure works. Strengths: 'He has a razor-sharp mind and is an excellent advocate.' 'A clear leader in this field with excellent technical knowledge.' 'A great strategic thinker.' Recent work: Represented United Utilities in its long-running dispute with the Manchester Ship Canal Company, in fresh proceedings following the canal company's Supreme Court defeat, to prevent United Utilities exercising rights in relation to infrastructure over the canal." Chambers UK Guide 2019 (Real Estate Litigation)
"A leading property and planning barrister with a strong focus on farms and other rural property. He has particular expertise in agricultural property relief. Karas also handles town and village green applications, farm business tenancies and potential development matters. He is known for his in-depth expertise in rural minerals transactions. Strengths: 'He fights the client's corner cleverly and strongly.' 'He's just a very detailed person - he is someone who will read everything. Even if you send 100 files, he will read every single word in them'." Chambers UK Guide 2019 (Agriculture & Rural Affairs)
"Extremely tenacious and carries out implacable, text book cross-examination."Legal 500 2018 (Property Litigation)
"Extremely diligent in his preparation and his advice is very direct."Legal 500 2018 (Agriculture)
"Very good at distilling down a huge amount of information and arguments into a clear and concise approach."Legal 500 2018 (Planning)
"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 prominent cases involving utilities. Strengths: 'An excellent litigator with a very bright mind, he's excellent at marshalling all of the arguments into a clear structure to put forward at trial.' 'Very effective, he dominates the proceedings and delivers the client's desired outcome.' Recent work: Represented United Utilities in litigation against the Manchester Ship Canal. The case concerned the company's statutory rights to discharge water and treated sewage into private watercourses."Chambers UK Guide 2018 (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
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