Tom Morris

Call: 2016
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Practice Summary

Tom joined Landmark Chambers after successful completion of his third six pupillage, following first and second sixes at a leading property law set. He practises in property and planning law. Over 12 months as a practising pupil, Tom appeared regularly in the County Court and the First Tier Tribunal in his own right, including in a successful one day trial in Edmonton County Court. Tom has acted for individual, charitable and corporate landlords, residential and commercial tenants, and developers.

Before joining Landmark, Tom was Special Adviser to Rt Hon. Kenneth Clarke QC MP in the Cabinet Office, covering a wide-ranging home affairs and securities brief, and previously worked as a Parliamentary Assistant to Rt Hon. Ben Gummer MP.

At university, Tom won a full blue in cycling and led the men’s team to victory in the 2008 Varsity Match .  He was the national student time trial champion over 25 miles in 2010, silver medallist over 10 miles in 2008 and 2010, and also individual varsity champion both on and off-road.  Tom was also the chapel organist of Churchill College Cambridge.

Property

Tom regularly advises on and appears in possession claims in the County Court on behalf of landlords and tenants, including in relation to claims against trespassers and residential and commercial forfeiture claims. Tom has also appeared in a number of applications for relief from sanctions, in a one-day hearing in the First Tier Tribunal in a service charge dispute, and represented the successful defendant and counter-claimant in a one-day trial in Edmonton County Court in a claim under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977.

He has considerable experience of drafting and advisory work involving the Housing Act 1988, as well as the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, and the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. Tom has also advised clients on rent review, dilapidations, the assignment of contractual rights and obligations, and the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.

Tom has a particular interest in nuisance claims, rights of way disputes and highway disputes. As pupil to Myriam Stacey, Tom assisted in:

  • advising a client in a complex claim in nuisance, negligence and trespass between neighbouring landowners
  • advising a developer on the existence of ancient highways, and on highways registered under the 1980 Act
  • advising a developer on rights of way and rights to light
  • drafting defences on behalf of telecommunications operators under the Electronic Communications Code
  • a one day strike-out/summary judgment hearing in the context of a 1954 Act lease renewal, involving the meaning of occupation, subsidiary and controlling interest under the 1954 Act
  • statutory appeals brought against awards made under the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996
  • advising on land registration questions, priority of interests under the LRA 2002, and ‘sham’ charges
  • advising in relation to a claim for rectification.

Tom also worked with Katie Helmore on a successful claim for an acquisition order the Landlord and tenant Act 1987.

During his previous 12 months of pupillage, Tom gained experience of a wide range of landlord and tenant, real property and related matters including:

Residential and commercial landlord and tenant

  • Tenancies governed by the 1988 Act, the 1980 Act and the 1977 Act
  • Breaches of covenants for quiet enjoyment and derogation from grant
  • Enfranchisement claims – including when mixed-use buildings can be a ‘house’ under section 2 of the 1967 Act
  • Lease renewal proceedings under the 1954 Act
  • Service charge disputes, including methods of recovery in the absence of written leases
  • The Electronic Communications Code
  • The distinction between leases and licences.

Real property

  • The law of easements, including questions of construction, enforceability, suspension and interference (especially rights of way and rights of drainage)
  • The construction and enforceability of restrictive covenants and applications for their discharge and modification under section 84 of the 1925 Act
  • The law of adverse possession in a range of contexts, including between landlords and tenants
  • The law of proprietary estoppel and constructive trusts, and claims involving unjust enrichment, rescission and rectification
  • The law of boundaries, especially in the practical context of boundary disputes
  • The law of registered conveyancing, particularly questions of priority under the Land Registration Act 2002
  • Applications for the alteration and rectification of the register in cases of void and voidable transaction
  • Deposits and the law of penalties
  • Contract disputes in the property context, including questions of construction, the law relating to implied terms, the law of misrepresentation, option contracts, overage contracts, and contracts for the purchase of land.

The law of tort in the property context

  • Noise nuisance
  • Nuisance claims involving water and infectious diseases
  • Nuisance claims against adjoining landowners for ‘overlooking’
  • The law of trespass
  • Unlawful interference with goods in disputes between landlords and tenants under the 1977 Act.

In addition, Tom has experience of claims against public authorities under the Human Rights Act 1998, and professional negligence claims against solicitors, particularly in the context of conveyancing.

Planning and Compulsory Purchase

As pupil to Robert Walton, Tom gained experience of:

  • Disputes relating to the construction of planning permissions
  • EIA Regulations
  • Lawful starts to development under section 56 of the 1990 Act
  • Section 96A and 73 applications
  • Material considerations
  • Development in green belt land
  • Overriding rights under section 203 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016
  • Acquisition of land by local authorities under sections 226 and 227 of the 1990 Act
  • Disposals of land by local authorities under section 233 of the 1990 Act, and considerations of State Aid
  • The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations
  • Compulsory purchase orders
  • Compensation claims and ‘lifting the corporate veil’.

Tom also assisted with drafting a statement of facts and grounds in an appeal under section 288 of the 1990 Act involving rights of access and the definition of ‘footpath’ under the Highways Act 1980 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Qualifications

  • Cambridge University (Corpus Christi College), BA History (First Class)
  • Cambridge University (Corpus Christi College), MSci, History and Philosophy of Science.
  • BPP University, Graduate Diploma in Law
  • University of Law, Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding, top mark in Opinion Writing)

Scholarships and Prizes

  • Corpus Christi College, Cambridge: Manners Scholarship (for performance in part II exams)
  • Corpus Christi College, Cambridge: Intermediate Exhibition (for performance in part I exams)
  • Middle Temple: Queen Mother Scholarship
  • Middle Temple: Harmsworth Entrance Award
  • Middle Temple: Astbury Scholarship
  • Middle Temple: Certificate of Merit (for performance in BPTC exams)
  • University of Law: prize for Opinion Writing
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