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Charlotte John
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Very clever and very committed

Chambers UK

Charlotte’s practice focuses on Chancery and property litigation and encompasses both traditional Chancery and commercial work. She has particular expertise in matters concerning the administration of estates and trusts, contentious probate, real property, and Court of Protection property and affairs matters.

Prior to joining Chambers, Charlotte lectured in Equity and Trusts at BPP Law School and continues to regularly lecture to a professional audience. Following pupillage, Charlotte was seconded to the Court of Appeal where she served as a Judicial Assistant assisting the Lord Justices of appeal with their case work.

She is ranked as a leading individual in Chambers in Partners, where she is praised for her encyclopaedic knowledge and her commitment to her cases.

Charlotte regularly produces articles relating to her specialist areas of practice. She blogs at Equity’s Darling on private client and property law.

Contentious Probate & Inheritance Act Claims

Charlotte has considerable expertise in probate matters and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

She regularly represents and advises beneficiaries, executors and trustees in a range of estate disputes in the High Court and County Court.

Selected Cases

  • Successfully acting on behalf of the beneficiaries of an earlier Will in resisting a claim to admit a later fraudulent Will to probate.
  • Advising in the administration of a complex and potentially insolvent estate.
  • Acting on behalf of executors in litigation between the executors and various parties asserting competing interests in the estate, including constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel claims.
  • Successfully securing an award for a child with autistic spectrum disorder under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Court of Protection

Charlotte accepts instructions in Court of Protection matters concerning property and affairs and has experience of dealing with matters involving complex estates, assets situated offshore and allegations of financial abuse.

Selected Cases

  • Successfully securing an order approving the execution of a statutory Will disinheriting a party suspected of substantial and sophisticated financial abuse of P.
  • Offering urgent advice on the eve of completion to an attorney concerning the exercise of her powers of sale of P’s property in circumstances of a conflict of interest.
  • Advising a deputy in relation to the set aside or appeal of an order adverse to P’s interests made in earlier proceedings.
  • Successfully securing an order calling in a bond following misappropriation of P’s funds by a former deputy.

Trusts including TOLATA

Charlotte is an acknowledged expert on trust cases. Her experience covers trusts of land and cohabitation disputes, undue influence, restitution, breach of trust, and rectification and construction of instruments.

She regularly represents and advises beneficiaries, executors and trustees in a range of estate and trust disputes in the High Court and County Court.

Selected Cases

  • Acting on behalf of executors in litigation between the executors and various parties asserting competing interests in the estate, including constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel claims.
  • Acting for a trustee in complex breach of trust claims raising issues of breach of fiduciary duty, self-dealing and breach of trust.
  • Advising on the construction of a trust deed and whether or not it created a full life interest or a right of occupation and as to the apportionment of expenditure between the income and capital of the fund.
  • Advising in relation to the setting aside of a series of negligently drafted settlements.

You can find details of Charlotte’s trust of land experience in the Property tab of her profile.

Commercial Landlord & Tenant

Charlotte receives regular instructions in commercial landlord and tenant matters.

Selected cases

  • Securing the forfeiture of a lease of commercial premises in circumstances where the tenant had undertaken unlawful alterations to the premises.
  • Securing the forfeiture of a lease of commercial premises in circumstances of substantial rent arrears.
  • Obtaining orders for the renewal of a 1954 Act lease and requiring the landlord to put the premises into repair in circumstances where structural disrepair had caused widespread damp problems.

Leasehold & Leasehold Management

Charlotte has good experience of cases involving long leases, handling issues such as service charge disputes, disrepair and right of refusal.

Selected Cases

  • Acting for residential lessees in proceedings in the First Tier Tribunal pursuant to the rights of first refusal provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.
  • Successfully acting for the freehold company in a long-running service charge dispute and resisting a counterclaim for disrepair and securing charging orders and an order for sale following non-payment of the judgment debt.
  • Advising lessees in respect of an application by the freeholder for dispensation from the consultation requirements relating to qualifying long-term agreements and drafting a response to the application that led to the application being abandoned by the freeholder.

Real Property & Mortgages

Charlotte has experience of disputes concerning real property including the sale of land, boundary disputes and mortgage possession claims.

Selected Cases

  • Advising clients who wished to avoid completing an off-plan property purchase and in associated professional negligence claims against the conveyancing solicitors.
  • Advising in relation to breach of covenant in a dispute between neighbours concerning the construction of freehold covenants and in associated professional negligence claims.
  • Advising in a complex dispute arising from High Court proceedings brought by a mortgagee for orders that residential leases had not been validly forfeited and consequential issues, including rectification of the Land Register to the prejudice of the client who was the registered proprietor of a subsequently granted lease.
  • Successfully representing the applicant in proceedings before the Land Registry Adjudicator to obtain title to land adversely possessed by the applicant.
  • Successfully representing the claimant in proceedings to recover possession of a strip of land in circumstances of a boundary dispute.
  • Representing the claimant in adverse possession proceedings to establish a flying freehold over the defendant’s land, settled in the client’s favour at mediation.

Trusts of Land

Charlotte is a recognised expert in trusts of land and is frequently instructed in the County Court and High Court on TOLATA and proprietary estoppel matters. She has substantial experience of co-ownership disputes, claims for orders for sale and complex accounting issues. Charlotte also accepts instructions in cases involving property claims under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.

Recent instructions include:

  • Successfully resisting a constructive claim brought in the context of a family farming dispute, including full recovery of her client’s costs.
  • Advising and acting for executors in relation to concurrent proceedings brought by the deceased’s widow to challenge the validity of the deceased’s last will and seeking to establish a constructive trust over his property.
  • Advising in relation to the enforcement of rights of pre-emption in an express trust of land.
  • Securing orders for sale and for the payment of an occupation rent in the context of a dispute concerning an investment property held on trust between business partners.
  • Establishing a subsisting beneficial interest in property transferred by an elderly mother to her son in circumstances of doubtful capacity and undue influence.
  • Acting for a party with the benefit of a charging order in proceedings involving an alleged sham declaration of trust.

Commercial Litigation

Charlotte accepts instructions in a broad range of commercial disputes and has acted in matters concerning corporate and personal insolvency, mortgages, debt recovery, breach of fiduciary duties and partnership disputes.

Selected Cases

  • Defending proceedings in which a claimant was seeking to fix the defendant with personal liability for the debts of a company, in circumstances where it was alleged that the defendant had given an oral assurance that would have been void as a guarantee but valid if construed as an indemnity.
  • Defending possession proceedings in the High Court brought by an insurer in circumstances where a double subrogation to the rights of discharged mortgagees was sought and involving issues of limitation and adverse possession.
  • Securing favourable terms of settlement in a case involving the fraudulent transfer of property, breach of fiduciary duty and economic torts.

Matrimonial Finance

Charlotte accepts instructions in matrimonial finance matters, particularly in cases involving complex property law issues where she is able to draw upon her property and Chancery expertise.

Recent instructions include acting for an intervener in matter where the assets concerned a working farm in which the intervener retained an interest pursuant to the terms of a farming partnership and agricultural leases and advising the deputy of a party lacking capacity in relation to matters arising from the implementation of a consent order made in financial remedy proceedings.

Directory recommendations

Charlotte is recommended by Chambers UK for Real Estate Litigation in the South East. The directory notes:

  • Her knowledge is encyclopaedic and clients love the thoroughness of her approach.”
  • “I am very impressed with her. I found her to be very confident and self-assured but also realistic.”
  • “Very clever and very committed to her cases. Very personally involved.”

Professional associations

  • CHBA
  • PBA
  • Society of Trusts & Estates (student member)

Qualifications

  • College of Law, Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists Diploma
  • BPP BVC (Outstanding, first in order of merit)
  • BPP GDL (Distinction, first in order of merit)
  • Sussex University, MA International Relations (Distinction, third in order of merit)
  • University of Southampton, BA (Hons) Archaeology (First Class, first in order of merit)

Awards

  • Baron Dr Ver Heyden de Lancey Prize, Middle Temple (best performance in the Bar exams by a student of Middle Temple) (2008)
  • Diplock Scholar, Middle Temple
  • John Scott Montague Prize, University of Southampton

Articles

Charlotte’s recent articles include:

  • Want of Knowledge and Approval (Westlaw Insight)
  • Challenging Wills: Family Provision (Westlaw Insight)
  • Undue Influence (Westlaw Insight)
  • Death Bed Gifts, STEP TQR: Volume 14/ Issue 2, 2016

Charlotte blogs on private client and property law at Equity’s Darling.

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