Property Law Nuts & Bolts seminar series, Part 2: Costs - all change please - slides
Toby Watkin KC, Tom Morris, Katherine Traynor, and Sophie Gibson
Sophie joined Chambers in October 2023 following the successful completion of pupillage. She was supervised by Simon Allison, Richard Turney and Alex Goodman KC developing a broad practice in line with Chambers profile.
During pupillage, Sophie worked on cases across Landmark’s core practice areas with particular expertise in property litigation, planning appeals, hearings and inquiries, judicial review, and public rights of access to land. Sophie is a member of the Attorney General’s “junior junior” scheme and acts for both claimants and defendants. Her notable recent work includes:
Sophie is an editor of the Encyclopedia of Housing Law and Practice (Sweet & Maxwell).
Before joining Landmark, Sophie graduated from the University of Oxford with first-class undergraduate and postgraduate Law degrees receiving numerous academic scholarships and prizes. As a student she won the Landmark Chambers Property Law Mooting Competition 2018.
After graduation, Sophie worked in academia as a Research Assistant and Admissions Tutor at the University of Oxford. She undertook complex research into all areas of property law, landlord and tenant, equity and trusts, and the overlap between property law and human rights. She assisted with the new editions of the practitioners’ text Snell’s Equity (Sweet & Maxwell) and textbook Land Law: Text, Cases and Materials (OUP). Sophie specialised in ‘post-Grenfell’ fire safety issues, service charges and the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 as an editor of and contributor to the University’s Housing After Grenfell Blog, a forum for discussion about housing and law-related matters with a particular emphasis on fire safety. She edited and managed the University’s Property Law Blog, a platform for debating property theory, land law, trusts, equity, personal property, charities, landlord and tenant and housing.
Sophie also worked as a Legal Support Assistant at Matrix Chambers. In this role she gained extensive experience as a legal researcher, working on commercial, civil, public and human rights matters at a leading set. Sophie worked closely with the Practice Management team, gaining insight into client relations and the internal workings of chambers. As a result, Sophie is well-placed to provide an all-round service to clients. She also edited and contributed to the UK Supreme Court Blog.
Sophie’s practice encompasses the full spectrum of property law, including landlord and tenant (commercial and residential) and real property matters involving equity and trusts. She is regularly instructed to appear in property disputes in the County Court for both claimants and defendants and further assists in an advisory as well as adversarial capacity. She has experience in a wide range of property matters, such as:
During pupillage, in addition to taking on her own cases Sophie provided substantial assistance to her supervisors and other senior members of Chambers in the preparation of trials and appeals to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Notably, Sophie assisted her supervisor Simon Allison ahead of his Supreme Court appearance for the successful landlord in Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Limited v Williams & Ors  UKSC 6. The case was a hugely important decision for the residential leasehold sector, concerning the operation of s.27A(6) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 in the context of reapportionment provisions in a long lease.
Sophie’s cross-practice expertise means she is well-placed to receive instructions addressing property law matters in the public and planning contexts, including planning obligations and the ownership and disposition of land by local authorities.
Sophie’s academic background complements her practical experience, allowing her to think creatively to find solutions for clients. Before joining Landmark, Sophie worked as a Research Assistant and Admissions Tutor at the University of Oxford. She undertook complex research into all areas of property law and theory, landlord and tenant, equity and trusts, personal property, charities, housing, and the overlap between property law and human rights.
Sophie is building a varied practice across all areas of planning, with a particular interest in the overlap between planning, property and local government.
Sophie has expertise in statutory trusts, public rights of access to open space, rights of way, and the disposition and appropriation of land by local authorities under the Local Government Act 1972 after R (Day) v Shropshire Council  UKSC 8.
During pupillage, Sophie provided substantial assistance to Alex Goodman KC, lead counsel for the successful Appellant in Day, with formulating grounds of review of planning decisions based on the Public Health Act 1875, Open Spaces Act 1906 and Green Belt Act 1938. Sophie’s property background makes her well-placed to receive instructions on these issues, as well as questions of enforceability of section 106 agreements.
Additionally, Sophie assisted her supervisor Richard Turney and other senior members of Chambers with a wide range of planning, infrastructure and environment matters. In this capacity she acted for claimants, defendants, and interested parties, including commercial bodies, developers, local authorities, local residents, and community action groups. The matters included:
Planning inquiries: acting for developers and landowners in several section 78 TCPA 1990 appeals concerning large-scale mixed-use and residential developments and assisting with the preparation of expert witnesses in planning, landscape, highways, transport and flooding.
Compulsory Purchase Orders: drafting opening and closing submissions for the promoting Council in the Coventry City Centre South CPO inquiry. The Order was confirmed and enables the assembly of land interests to deliver a mixed-use redevelopment of Coventry’s city centre, including new commercial uses together with c. 1,500 homes.
Infrastructure and Development Consent Orders: preparing expert witnesses for an Issue Specific Hearing in the Sunnica Energy Farm Development Consent Order addressing landscape and visual impact, historic environment, in-combination impacts, traffic and transport. The 500MW solar farm scheme involves four sites in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk and, if approved, would be one of the largest solar farms in Europe.
High Court planning: drafting skeletons and pleadings in judicial review and statutory appeals of decisions in respect of various matters, ranging from the Home Secretary’s plans to accommodate up to 1700 asylum seekers at Wethersfield Airfield, to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s decision not to assess the environmental effects of downstream emissions resulting from new licenses for oil and gas extraction.
Waste: advising the operators of a gold mine on whether a by-product of mining is “waste” within the EU Waste Framework Directive or has reached “end of waste” status, requiring consideration of complex issues of fact and law surrounding the status and applicability of EU law post-Brexit.
Enforcement: advising a local authority on whether it was expedient to take enforcement action by way of Enforcement Notices and a Stop Notice in relation to a breach of a permission for the winning and working of minerals and deposit of mineral waste at a landfill.
In keeping with her specialist interest in the use of land, Sophie is building a land-focused public law practice acting for claimants, defendants, interested parties and interveners.
Sophie has expertise in statutory and charitable trusts, public rights of access to open space, rights of way, and challenges to the disposition and appropriation of land by local authorities under the Local Government Act 1972 after R (Day) v Shropshire Council  UKSC 8.
During the public law seat of her pupillage, she was supervised by Alex Goodman KC who was lead counsel for the successful Appellant in Day. She assisted Alex with drafting judicial review pleadings and formulating grounds to challenge decisions of local authorities based on the Public Health Act 1875, Open Spaces Act 1906 and Green Belt Act 1938.
Her notable recent work includes advising a residential landlord and creditor on the merits of challenging by way of judicial review the imposition of a Breathing Space Moratorium under The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020. Sophie had previously successfully acted for the landlord in possession proceedings relating to the same tenant.
Sophie’s property background makes her well-placed to receive instructions on these cross-over issues.
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