Stephen has a wide-ranging practice covering all aspects of property litigation, including insolvency, professional negligence and partnership disputes. He has considerable experience of leading in heavy cases turning on valuation issues or difficult questions of law.
Joint Head of Falcon Chambers
- Trinity College, Cambridge (1981-4): Entrance and Senior Scholar; MA (Cantab.) in law (1st)
- Deputy High Court Judge
- Recorder (Civil)
- Judge of the Property Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal (formerly Deputy Adjudicator to HM Land Registry)
- Joined Falcon Chambers (then 11 King's Bench Walk) in 1990
- 1985 - 1989: Solicitor at Theodore Goddard, working in property litigation and commercial property
- Alexander Devine Children's Cancer Trust v Housing Solutions  1 W.L.R. 4783 (Supreme Court). The Upper Tribunal should have refused to modify a restrictive covenant because of the applicant’s cyncial breach.
- Vodafone Ltd v Hanover Capital Ltd  R.V.R. 326 (Deputy President of Upper Tribunal sitting as a County Court Judge). A structured approach should be adopted to determining the rent to be paid under a new tenancy of a telecommunications mast under s.34 of the 1954 Act.
- Earl of Plymouth v Rees  4 W.L.R. 105 (Court of Appeal). The derogation from grant principle militated against an interpretation of a landlord’s right of entry which would result in a substantial interference with the tenant's enjoyment of the property. It did not require the court to give the right the narrowest possible interpretation.
- Aldford House Freehold Ltd v Grosvenor  EWCA Civ 1848 (Court of Appeal). A separate set of premises were not a “flat” unless at some point someone could have lived in them. A Bahamas company had authorised the signature of a notice.
- Regent Wealth Ltd v Wiggins  UKUT 310 (LC) (Upper Tribunal). There was no mistake in the drafting of a licence to underlet.
- York House (Chelsea) Ltd v Thompson  EWHC 2203 (Ch) (High Court). Leases granted by a husband and wife to a wife for no premium at a peppercorn rent were disposals by way of gift to a member of the landlord’s family, and also a transfer by two or more persons who are members of the same family to fewer of their number, and so excluded disposals under s.4(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. Certain parts of the building were not “common parts”.
- Earl of Plymouth v Rees  4 WLR 74 (High Court) - A right for landlords to enter at “all reasonable times for all reasonable purposes” did not entitle them to dig boreholes or trial pits but did entitle them to leave remote bat detectors on the land as a form of extended inspection. No injunction should be granted absent a strong probability of infringement. See above for the Court of Appeal’s decision.
- Morris and Perry (Gurney Slade Quarries) Ltd v Hawkins  6 WLUK 202 (County Court). A reservation of minerals with “right of entry and all necessary ancillary rights in connection with winning and working the same” entitled the owner of the minerals to plant trees on the surface and let them grow to provide a screen, if that was reasonably necessary to obtain planning permission to extract the minerals.
- Bannerman Town etc. Association v Eleuthera Properties  UKPC 27 (Privy Council). A developer did not have good documentary title to 2,000 acres of land, nor had it acquired title by adverse possession by erecting signs and clearing the boundaries.
- Office Depot International v UBS Asset Management  EWHC 1494 (TCC) (High Court). It was not open to the tenant to seek a declaration against its landlord as to what work was needed to comply with its covenant to repair the roof of a warehouse.
- Crown Estate Commissioners v Whitehall Court London  1 WLR 2319 (Court of Appeal). The “no-Act rights” assumption in Sch 13 para 3 applies to the building and not just the flat. The headlease required all money received by the headlessee from underlessees to be shared with the freeholder, even if the transaction was not permitted under the headlease.
- Mundy v Sloane Stanley  1 WLR 4751 (Court of Appeal). Sales of leases of flats with 1993 Act rights may be taken into account in determining the value of a lease of a flat without Act rights. Therefore the tenant’s challenge to the Upper Tribunal’s decision to reject the Parthenia model of relativity failed.
- Starham v Greene King (2 November 2017, unreported) Central London Chancery List. A right to use land granted in 1855 was neither an easement nor a restrictive covenant but a licence, and therefore did not bind a successor in title to the grantor.
- Persimmon v Ashfield Provincial Properties (10 October 2017, unreported) High Court. It would be wrong to grant summary judgment declaring that a development agreement remained in effect when documents might be disclosed as to the factual background relevant to the interpretation of the agreement. There were also factual issues relating to causation and whether time had been made of the essence which could not be determined summarily.
- Kingsbridge Pension Fund Trust v Downs  L&TR 31 (Upper Tribunal). On a s.50 Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 succession application, the livelihood condition only needs to be satisfied for the 7 years up to the date of the retirement notice, and not also the 7 years up to the hearing.
- Artist Court Collective Ltd v Khan  Ch 53 (High Court). A disposal by a trustee to a beneficiary was not a “relevant disposal” under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.
- McDonald v McDonald  AC 273 (Supreme Court). The Human Rights Act 1998 does not provide a defence to a claim to possession by a private landlord under an assured shorthold tenancy.
- Gladman Developments v Sutton  EWHC 1597 (Ch) (High Court) No oral agreement had been entered into for the promotion of land for development.
- Sloane Stanley v Mundy  L&TR 32 (Upper Tribunal). An analysis of pre-1993 sales using hedonic regression was not a reliable method for ascertaining the relative value of leases in the present market.
- Ham v Bell  EWHC 1791 (Ch) (High Court). A farm was not an asset of a family farming partnership, despite having been treated in the accounts as such.
- Dickinson v UK Acorn Finance  HLR 17 (Court of Appeal). It was an abuse of process for mortgagors to seek to rely on the unenforceability of a secured loan under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 s.26 two years after a possession order had been granted.
- Jewelcraft Ltd v Pressland  1 P & CR 9 (Court of Appeal). A purpose-built shop with a flat over was a “house” for the purposes of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.
- Royal Mail Estates v Maples Teesdale  EWHC 1890 (Ch) (High Court). S.36C(1) of the Companies Act 1985 makes a person who signs a contract in the name of a company not yet formed liable on the contract, even if the contract says that it is personal to the company. Under appeal to the Court of Appeal.
- Safin (Fursecroft) v Badrig  EWCA Civ 739 (Court of Appeal). The power of the Court to extend time in consent orders where the parties had agreed that time was of the essence.
- Woodhouse v Besent  3WY00170 (HHJ Hughes QC, Winchester CC). The landlord of a large dairy farm was not estopped from denying that there were succession rights.
- Thomas v Albutt  EWHC 2187 (Ch) (High Court). Negligence claim against a barrister who acted in a planning judicial review claim.
- Consultant Editor for the title "Boundaries" in vol 4 of Halsbury's Laws 5th ed (2011)
- "Adverse Possession" 2nd ed. (2011)
Winner, Real Estate Silk of the Year, Chambers UK Bar Awards 2021
Winner, Barrister of the Year Award ERMAs 2013
- Nominated for the Chambers Real Estate Silk of the Year Award 2012.