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Andrew Skelly
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Andrew is first class. A rare animal - a barrister who is both expert in his subject and also a good cross examiner … if I had a property related question, he is the first man I would go to.

One of the shrewdest and smartest property barristers I have ever worked with. Andrew is an assured and straight talking person who is completely unflappable and, as a result, the first person I turn to for a property Dispute.

Andrew’s practice encompasses all areas of real property law, with a particular focus on the areas of rights of way and other easements, public rights of way, and boundary disputes. Andrew has developed a special interest in the area of conduits: drains, sewers, pipes and cables. He also has substantial experience dealing with disputes relating to the growing problem of Japanese Knotweed, and regularly advises a large national landowner on this issue.

Andrew also practises in all areas of commercial and residential landlord and tenant law, dealing with both contentious and non-contentious matters. His clients include local authorities and estates, private and corporate land owners, developers and management companies, and private individuals (both private and publicly funded), and is happy to receive instructions from individuals and businesses through Direct Access.

Andrew is regularly instructed by a number of Local Authorities and Councils, dealing predominantly with their commercial property issues, and is frequently commended for his practical, versatile and commercial approach.

Andrew has considerable experience of litigation in the Court of Appeal, High Court, County Courts across the country, the Upper Tribunal (Land Chamber) and the First-tier Tribunal.  He also regularly represents parties in mediation, and at public inquiries regarding public rights of way.

Andrew was appointed as a Deputy District Judge in 2013. He sits in the County Court in London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent.

Commercial Landlord & Tenant

Andrew has considerable experience of commercial landlord and tenant work. He has particular expertise advising and representing Local Authorities in relation to their commercial premises, on issues such as lease renewal, service charges, dilapidations, rent review, alienation, forfeiture, injunctions, trespass, and construction of clauses.

Although Andrew is more frequently instructed on behalf of landlords, he is equally happy to receive instructions on behalf of tenants, and has significant experience of litigation involving cases of wrongful forfeiture, relief from forfeiture, and mandatory injunctions.

Recently Andrew has been involved in drafting leases and licences for a retail ‘village’, and a waste processing plant.

Recent Work

  • McWalter v (1) AG (as representative of the Crown) (2) Executors of the Estate of Jefferey Mattey [2018] EWHC 563 (Ch): an application under 1017(1) of the Companies Act 2006. After issue, a question arose as to whether the premises had been effectively disclaimed, as the notice gave the wrong company number. It was held that although there is no prescribed form for the disclaimer notice, it is implicit from the requirements in s.1013 that it should include both the company’s name and its number. A second notice had been issued after the claim was issued, and it was held that the continuation of the claim was neither an abuse of process nor should it be dismissed on the grounds that C did not have any cause of action vested in him at the time is was commenced, as the second notice cured the relevant defect.
  • Elliott v Whitney [2018] EWHC 188 (Ch): In a claim over various agreements made in relation to the occupation of premises used as a nightclub, the judge found, amongst many issues that turned on findings of fact, that the fact that payment of rent was made by a company was not sufficient to amount to an assignment from the individual who had originally let the premises.
  • Advising and representing tenants of substantial aerodrome premises in relation to forfeiture for arrears of rent, and breach of repairing covenant.  Resolved by a negotiated relief from forfeiture.
  • Advising a major clothing retailer regarding relief from forfeiture of the leases to several of its premises, and ensuring it was able to trade on the year’s busiest day.
  • Advising and drafting submissions on the construction of rent review provisions in a lease between a London local authority and a major stationery chain.
  • Advising on service charge liabilities in relation to several large unoccupied office blocks.
  • Ayela v Newham LBC [2010] EWHC 309 (QB): An appeal which confirmed, inter alia, that it is an invariable condition of relief from forfeiture for non-payment of rent that the arrears have to be paid within a time specified by the court, and that there has to be evidence that the rent will definitely be paid
  • Mortgage Credit Ltd v Kali [2007] EWCA Civ 1156: An appeal following the line of Southwark LBC v. Kofi-Adu (2006) EWCA Civ 281. The Court found that the judge had ‘decended into the arena.’ The judge’s repeated interruptions of the defendant’s oral evidence had prevented his properly scrutinising and evaluating that evidence. However, it did not follow that he might not have reached the same decisions if he had properly discharged his judicial function.

Development

Andrew regularly advises and acts for developers and landowners in a wide range of issues, such as rights of way and other easements, options, drainage, trespass, party wall issues, and restrictive covenants.

  • Lipton and others v Martin (unrep.) 20.09.17, Deputy Master Bartlett: an application by 31 claimants for declarations under s.84(2), LPA 1925 (and CPR r.40.20) that they are entitled to the benefit of, and to enforce, certain restrictive covenants affecting their own and neighbouring plots of land.
  • Advising on restrictive covenants in relation to the number of properties which might be erected on each plot within a locality.
  • Acting for a substantial land owner in relation to enforcement action arising from a failure to maintain embankments.  Issues involved rights of way, restrictive covenants and boundaries.
  • Advising a local authority as to a developer’s ability to construct a housing estate, and to use private roads owned by the authority for access. The dispute involved issues of trespass, rights of way, and restrictive covenants.
  • Acting for a developer in relation to a dispute with three adjoining neighbours. Issues involved a purported party wall agreement, trespass, rights of light, and restrictive covenants.
  • Advising a landowner as to its ability to develop a former recreation ground and cricket club for residential purposes. Issues involved the construction of restrictive covenants, and the identity of those entitled to enforce.

Leasehold & Leasehold Management

Much of Andrew’s practice in the area of residential landlord & tenant is concerned with breach of lease, service charges and enfranchisement issues. This sees him frequently in the High Court, the County Courts, the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) and the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).

Andrew regularly advises on issues of landlord’s express and implied repairing covenants, construction and exercise of break clauses, consent to alterations and assignment, and dilapidations. More recently he has developed a particular interest in the areas of tenants’ right of first refusal, collective or individual enfranchisement, and right to manage.

As with commercial landlord & tenant, although Andrew is more frequently instructed on behalf of landlords, he is equally at home acting on behalf of tenants. In the High Court and County Court he has considerable experience of cases involving forfeiture.

Recent Work

  • Advising London local authority on liability of assignees for service charges.
  • Advising local authority on repairing obligations in an action by several tenants.
  • Artist Court Collective Ltd v Khan[2016] EWHC 2453 (Ch) Beneficial interests; Disposition of property; Residential tenancies; Transfer of land.
  • Representing the Secretary of State for Defence in relation to its residential premises, and Human Rights issues.
  • Fairhold (Yorkshire) Ltd v Trinity Wharf (Se16) RTM Co Ltd [2013] UKUT 502 (LC): Acting for the successful landlord, this case answered the question of whether a landlord who opposes a claim for the right to manage is limited to arguing only the grounds raised in his counternotice. The President of the Upper Tribunal decided that the lower tribunal’s jurisdiction is not delimited by the contents of the counternotice; the lower tribunal should, of its own motion, consider whether the statutory procedures had been followed. The landlord may advance grounds not set out in his counternotice.
  • Fairhold Mercury Ltd v Merryfield RTM Co Ltd [2012] UKUT 311 (LC): The Upper Tribunal quashed a decision that the RTM company was not liable for fees incurred by a landlord in preparing counter-notices because the landlord had employed a company and not a solicitor to prepare the notices.  Whilst the work was carried out by a solicitor employed by that company, that did not affect the liability to pay.
  • Crosspite Ltd v Sachdev [2012] UKUT 321 (LC); [2013] 1 E.G.L.R. 31; [2013] 1 E.G. 50: a case confirming that a landlord is free to impose a reasonable condition for the giving of consent, and that could include the recovery of its reasonable costs as such a condition. The FtT had no jurisdiction to determine the issue of such entitlement as that was not an issue raised by the application.
  • Holding and Management (Solitaire) Ltd v Norton [2012] UKUT 1 (LC); [2012] 7 E.G. 91 (C.S.): In four conjoined appeals the Upper Tribunal considered the reasonableness of administration charges for consent to underletting.
  • Jean-Paul v Southwark LBC [2011] UKUT 178 (LC) (UT (Lands)): Important decision on when costs were “incurred” by a landlord under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s.20B, for the purpose of determining the amount of service charges.
  • Stokes v Mardner [2011] EWHC 1179 (QB); [2011] All ER (D) 131 (May): Representing the defendant a claim for damages (and exemplary damages) for trespass and/or breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment and also under s.3 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. The judge was satisfied that the tenancy was a sham agreement, concocted so as to form the basis of a claim. The whole claim was false and dishonest; there had been no eviction or harassment.
  • Wellcome Trust Ltd v Baulackey [2010] 1 E.G.L.R. 125: Dealing with extension of leases, land registration and qualifying periods. Confirming that a purchaser of a long leasehold property became a qualifying tenant under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 s.5 from the date on which the purchaser was registered as proprietor of the property and not from the date of purchase.

Real Property & Mortgages

Andrew works in all areas of real property, with a special interest in easements and boundary disputes, and public rights of way.

He also handles other aspects of property related law including mortgages and conveyancing.

Recent Work

  • Acting for borrower regarding a £2m loan. The case, involving issues of capacity, undue influence, unfair relationship, penalties, estoppel, FSMA 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001, Consumer Credit Act 1974, and Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, is listed for a two-day summary judgment hearing.
  • Advising the insurer of a large retail complex regarding potential liabilities to tenants following a fire.
  • Advising a large national landowner in claims by several landowners regarding encroachment of Japanese Knoteeed.
  • Representing the owner of substantial commercial premises in relation to infringements of its right of way.
  • Advising several land owners in relation to a claim that their land was subject to a public right of way, and representing them in a subsequent public local inquiry.
  • Advising the leaseholder of hospital premises as to the effect various easements would have on its proposed redevelopment.
  • Advising and representing a local authority in relation to land, title to which was claimed by adverse possession
  • (on the application of Durbin) v Welsh Ministers and Thondda Cyndon Taff CBC [2014] EWHC 4458 (Admin) – a case dealing with public rights of way. The main issues were (i) whether the making of a modification order was confined to the correction of an existing definitive map and statement or whether it could also clarify the precise route of a footpath shown on them; (ii) what amounted to “evidence”; and (iii) what was meant by “discovered”, within the meaning of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 s.53(3).
  • Advising a waste management company in relation to licences/permits and issues of access.
  • Advised the management company of a large Country Estate in relation to various public rights of way issues.
  • Cameron v Boggiano [2012] EWCA Civ 157: A judge had erred in failing to construe a title plan and documents by taking account of topographical features where the title plan and documents were insufficiently clear about the position of a disputed boundary. The court also held that to establish a sufficient outward expression of accord to sustain a claim for rectification on the basis of common mistake, there was no evidential requirement to rely upon a particular type of document, such as a defining plan.
  • Quigley v Masterson [2011] EWHC 2529 (Ch); [2011] 49 E.G. 100; [2011] N.P.C. 98: The issue in this case was severance of a beneficial joint tenancy. Henderson J held that the appellant had sufficient authority to receive a notice of severance on the testator’s behalf from the time she was appointed deputy and, since she knew of the respondent’s application, the application could and should be treated as having been ‘given’ to her for the purposes of LPA 1925 s.36(2).
  • Trustees Ltd v Papakyriacou [2009] EWCA Civ 1089; [2010] 1 P. & C.R. DG12: A judge had erred in finding that the tenants of landowners had not breached certain time restrictions imposed on their enjoyment of an easement entitling them to use an area of land belonging to their landlords’ neighbour.  However, an injunction requiring the landlords to use their “best endeavours” to procure that their tenants should abide by the time restrictions was not appropriate where they had taken measures to notify the tenants of the restrictions.

Trusts of Land

Andrew has an increasing volume of work involving issues relating to trusts, proprietary estoppel, undue influence and the validity of wills.  He regularly advises and acts in disputes between families and co-owners regarding jointly owned property. Frequently such cases relate to trusts of land and family ownership issues, and the proper administration of estates.

Recent Work

  • Acting for several sibling executors of a family trust, in an action in which a further sibling claimed entitlement to all of the farm land, by proprietary estoppel.
  • Advising in a claim in which a former partner claimed more than 66% beneficial interest in a property solely owned by her ex-partner, based on proprietary estoppel.
  • Bagum v Hafiz [2015] EWCA Civ 801; [2016] Ch. 241; [2015] 3 W.L.R. 1495; [2015] C.P. Rep. 44; [2016] 2 F.L.R. 337; [2015] W.T.L.R. 1303; [2015] Fam. Law 1192; [2015] 2 P. & C.R. DG21; Times, September 7, 2015: An important case dealing with beneficial interests, co-ownership, jurisdiction, and trusts of land. Although it was an unusual form of order, a judge had been squarely within her jurisdiction under ToLATA 1996 to order trustees to sell a co-owned property, upon terms that one beneficiary had a right to a pre-emptive bid at a price determined by the court, failing which it should be sold on the open market, with liberty for all the beneficial owners to bid.
  • Advising in a dispute between a lender, the sole legal owner of a property given as security for a guarantee relating to the loan, the owner’s current wife and child, and his former wife. The former wife claimed a beneficial interest in the former matrimonial home.
  • Acting in a claim against a former life-partner who was the sole legal owner of a property in which his ex-partner had invested under the belief that he would obtain an interest.

Conduits: Drains, Sewers, Pipes & Cables

Andrew is particularly knowledgeable in the area of conduits – namely drains, sewers, pipes and cables – and the range of related issues such as access, installation, ownership, control, maintenance, obstruction, nuisance and trespass. His work in this area ranges from advising an individual in respect of his neighbour’s drainpipe, to acting in an action by a landowner against  a water and sewerage undertaker regarding its powers and duties relating to their infrastructure.

Recent Work:

  • Advising in relation to the drainage of agricultural land
  • Acting on behalf of a Parish Council regarding its construction of a new library, and the contention by a neighbouring landowner that the new structure would interfere with his right to lay new pipes etc. under the land.
  • A mediation involving the right of a freeholder to lay new pipes and drains under demised land occupied by a commercial tenant. Issues related to the interpretation, construction and extent of rights reserved in the lease.
  • Representing a landowner in a dispute with a water and sewerage undertaker regarding the installation of pipes under his land, leaks from the pipes, and pollution of his lake.
  • Advising an estate regarding its right to re-route or terminate the water supply, and drainage, serving neighbouring properties
  • Dixon v Hodgson and Norgrove (2007) 4 EG 188: Preliminary issue dealing with the construction of clauses. A property was sold with a reserved right “to use and connect to” service conducting installations. The Claimant owner of the retained land was held to be entitled to do what was necessary to connect the drains on their site to the drains on the conveyed property, which included laying new drains.

Appointments

Deputy District Judge (Civil)

Professional Associations

  • Chancery Bar Association
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • Property Bar Association
  • Deputy District Judge, South Eastern Circuit

Qualifications

  • Bar Vocational Course – Inns of Court School of Law
  • LL.B (Hons)
  • ADR ODR Accredited Mediator
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