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Stephen Bickford-Smith

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Practice Summary

Stephen was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1972. He specialises in property law, construction and dispute resolution.

His practice covers property, construction, and dispute resolution. He has dealt with a wide spectrum of matters including:

  • Sales of Land
  • Easements
  • Party Walls
  • Land Registration
  • Adverse Possession
  • Development Agreements
  • Construction Adjudication
  • Arbitration and Mediation
  • Property-related insurance including title insurance and insurance against potential claims for easements and restrictive covenants
  • Professional Negligence related to property and valuation matters.

Stephen accepts direct professional access instructions as a barrister.

Property Law

In the property field he has developed a particular expertise in easements, and on the Party Wall etc Act 1996. He has been instructed as counsel in many important cases in these fields at appellate level.

He is an author of Party Walls Law and Practice (4th Edition) and Rights of Light (3rd Edition) (both published by LexisNexis), and has written and lectured extensively on property topics.

His clients include developers, landowners and other institutions. He is frequently instructed to advise on easements (in particular rights of light) which may affect proposed developments, how to deal with potential claims, and the options in terms of insurance.


In the construction field he has advised and   represented parties in court, adjudication arbitration and mediation.

Dispute Resolution

He is active in dispute resolution. He is regularly appointed as arbitrator and adjudicator in construction disputes under the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act. He has made numerous awards and decisions.   He has also acted as mediator in property and professional negligence disputes.

Stephen is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Chartered Arbitrator.  He is a member of the arbitration panels of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Law Society, and on the adjudication panels of TeCSA, TECBAR, and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is also a qualified mediator and a member of the Society of Construction Arbitrators and an accredited mediator.


  • Graduate of Magdalen College Oxford
  • Barrister
  • Chartered Arbitrator
  • Accredited Mediator


The Legal 500 2017 states that he is “an expert in party wall matters who gives robust advice to clients”. Chambers & Partners 2018 states “he is softly spoken, persuasive, measured, and a very good advocate”, whilst the 2019 edition states that he is “formidable on right to light cases.”


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