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Tom Weekes

Tom Weekes QC

YEAR OF CALL 1995TWeekes@landmarkchambers.co.uk

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Real Property Disputes

Tom is instructed in all types of real property litigation.  For example:

  • Adverse possession. Tom has appeared in adverse possession cases in the County Court, in the High Court (Chancery Division and Queen's Bench Divisions), in the Court of Appeal, before a solicitor to HM Land Registry and before HM Land Registry Adjudicators. He has successfully represented both paper title owners and squatters. In Baxter v Mannion [2011] 1 WLR 1965 Tom acted for a paper title owner who had missed the deadline for objecting to an application by an alleged squatter to be registered as the freeholder (leading to the registration of the alleged squatter as the freeholder). The Court of Appeal (upholding the decision of Henderson J) held that the paper title owner was entitled to be reinstated as the registered freeholder because the alleged squatter had, in fact, never been in possession. In Nata Lee Ltd v Abid [2015] 2 P&CR 3, again acting for the paper title owner, Tom succeeded in the Court of Appeal in establishing that the trial judge had been wrong to hold that title to land had been acquired by adverse possession. In Wretham v Ross [2006] 1 P&CR 1259, an appeal to the Chancery Division, Tom successfully appeared for a squatter.

  • Basements. A number of Tom’s recent cases have concerned basement developments.  Those cases have raises issues about whether basement developments have given rise to liability under a landlord’s covenant for quiet enjoyment (Shebelle Enterprises Ltd v Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust), [2014] 2 P&CR 6), nuisance, trespass and the under the Part Wall etc. Act 1996.

  • Boundaries. Tom has appeared in several cases about the location of a legal boundary, including, in the Court of Appeal, in Steward v Gallop [2011] 1 P&CR 7 and Nata Lee Ltd v Abid [2014] EWCA Civ 1652 (in which the Court of Appeal set out the test for an enforceable boundary demarcation agreement).

  • Constructive trusts, resulting trusts and proprietary estoppels.  Several of Tom’s cases have raised issues about the beneficial ownership of property or concerned proprietary estoppel claims. He appeared in Young v Lauretani [2007] 2 FLR 1211 (in which Lindsay J gave guidance about the taking of an equitable account) and he appeared in Hermsen-Wilkinson v Hermsen (2015) (a hotly contested dispute between a mother and a daughter that attracted considerable press coverage).

  • Conveyancing and land registration. Tom has acted in cases in which parties have attempt to avoid liability under contracts of sale by relying on alleged pre-contract misrepresentations, non-compliance with conditions precedent, and breaches of other contractual terms (including, on trials in the Chancery Division, Chinnock v Hocaoglu [2008] 29 EG 92 and Wyche v Singla Properties Ltd (2011). In Mann & Mann v Cooper the issue was whether a firm of solicitors had been authorized by purchasers to enter into a contract of sale. Other cases have concerned the circumstances in which land registers can be altered on the ground of “mistake”: including Quinto v Santiago Castillo Ltd [2009] UKPC 15 (a Privy Council appeal in which the issue being whether an original owner was entitled to be reinstated as the registered proprietor following a transfer from a fraudster) and Baxter v Mannion [2011] 1 WLR 1594.

  • Mortgages and charges. Tom appeared in the Court of Appeal in Tomkins v Bristol & West Investments [2006] EWCA 977 on an appeal from a committal order made against a mortgagor who had failed to comply with an injunction obtained by the mortgagee. Several of Tom’s cases have related to whether an occupier has a tenancy or an equitable interest which has priority to a mortgage or charge. For example, in HSBC v Collelldevall [2010] 1 P&CR 4 the issue was whether an occupier’s beneficial interest under a constructive trust was an overriding interest, and, if so, whether that interest had been overreached by the creation of a mortgage.  In Garwood v Bank of Scotland [2013] BPIR 450 the issue was whether a mortgagee was entitled to set aside a discharge of a mortgage on the ground of mistake.

  • Nuisance. Tom has acted in many nuisance cases, which have, amongst other things, concerned fires, floods, dust, noise and animals.

  • Overage. Tom is frequently instructed on cases relating to overage provisions. He has twice successfully acted for sellers of development sites in preventing developers avoiding paying overage by relying on perceived deficiencies in the drafting: in Sparks v Biden [2017] EWHC 1994 (Ch) overage was payable on the “sale” of the houses (defined as being a sale of the freehold or the grant of a long lease) and it was held that a term fell to be implied into the agreement that the developer had to sell the houses within a reasonable time; and, in Renewal v Lowry [2010] EWHC 290 (Ch), it was held that, in circumstances in which the “trigger” for the calculation and payment of overage was the sale of the last house on a development, a term should be implied requiring the purchaser to complete and sell the houses as soon as reasonably practicable.

  • Party walls. Tom has appeared in several party wall cases. In Freetown v Assethold [2013] 1 WLR 7012 the Court of Appeal held that the time for appealing against a party wall award ran, not from the date on which the award was dispatched into the post, but the date on which the award was delivered (or deemed to have been delivered). In Mustapha v Zafrani (2013) Ramsay J held that, even after the time for appealing had expired, the Court had jurisdiction to substitute the correct respondent to an appeal from a party wall award in place of a wrongly-named respondent. Chliaifchtein v Wainbridge Estates Belgravia Ltd [2015] EWHC 47 (TCC) related to the costs of an interim injunction relating to work to a party wall.

  • Restrictive covenants. He has been instructed in claims relating to the interpretation of restrictive covenants; cases relating to who, if anyone, has the benefit of restrictive covenants; and, on many occasions, on applications to the Lands Tribunal to modify or discharge restrictive covenants under section 84(1)(a), (aa), (b) and (c) of the Law of Property Act 1925 (including Re Clearwater Properties Ltd [2013] UKUT 0210 (LC), Re Stanborough’s Application [2012] UKUT 21 (LC), Re Zenios [2011] EWCA Civ 1645 (CA), Re Surana’s Application [2016] UKUT 368 (LC), Re University of Chester’s Application [2016] UKUT 457 (LC], Re Falmouth Dock [2017] UKUT 430 (LC) and Re Theodossiades’ Application [2017] UKUT 0461. Tom appeared in Dennis v Davies [2010] 1 EGLR 81 in which the Court of Appeal considered whether a restrictive covenant prohibiting causing a “nuisance or annoyance” would be breached by an extension to a house which would obscure a view of a river.

  • Rights of light (and other easements). Tom is the co-author of the leading practitioner book on rights of light (namely, Rights of Light: The Modern Law (2015, 3rd edition)). He has represented both developers and neighbouring owners in rights of light cases (including Berkeley Homes and the City of London Corporation). In Pavledes v Hadjisavva [2013] 2 EGLR 123 David Richards J gave guidance concerning the availability of declaratory relief in respect of a development that would infringe a neighbour’ rights of light. Tom appeared in Jones v Cleanthi [2007] 1 WLR 1604 (with a leader), in which the Court of Appeal gave guidance about the circumstances in which an easement can be extinguished by statutory implication.